Charlotte said, "Well, being the garden nut I am, I had to take the challenge ... without a doubt, this has been the most prolific garden I have ever had."
"I am trying to tell everyone I know about this, especially older folks that love to garden and maybe find traditional gardening too difficult with aging. There is ABSOLUTELY NO digging, hoeing, weeding, etc. One of the things I found so incredible, was how quickly the plants grew."
How did she do it? Here are her instructions, with more pictures to follow.
How to create a straw bale garden
Water bales thoroughly for the first three days. I watered in the morning and evening.
Once a day, sprinkle each bale with ½ cup of ammonium nitrate (32-0-0) then water thoroughly.
Once a day, reduce ammonium nitrate to 1/4 cup and sprinkle into each bale and water thoroughly.
No more ammonium nitrate … but add 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer to each bale and water thoroughly.
Plant your garden
Charlotte also shares a few hints from her experience:
* I placed 3 inches of potting soil on top of each bale on day 10 after last 10-10-10 fertilizer is added.
* Use a spatula to push the transplants into the bale, it opens the bale a little better than your hand. I plant my squash from seed.
* Plant each transplant to the first leaves and press straw back together. I planted Roma tomatoes, all kinds of pepper, eggplant, squash, zucchini and you could even do cucumbers, strawberries, cabbage, or whatever grows well for you.
* I choose one day as Miracle Grow day. I use Miracle Grow every other Friday.
* YOU MUST WATER DAILY. I water in morning and again in the evening.
* NEVER let your garden dry out.
* Tall plants, like corn or okra, supposedly will not do well, but I have not tried.Charlotte begins her straw bale garden. After the bales become soaked, they are very heavy and hard to move. The cords on the bales hold them together.
Charlotte uses a soaker hose to water. What a good idea!
Plants and seeds are planted into the dirt that tops the bales.
The plants are generally planted two to a bale.
For some plants, such as squash, Charlotte uses seed.
This is a great method for people who might not be able to do a lot of digging and heavy lifting. This would also work for those who are physically challenged, but still like to work outdoors.
Charlotte also said, "As the summer is coming to a very hot close, I am still gathering quite a lot of goodies daily. I have uprooted a number of things to make room for new stuff."
"Now that this straw bale bug has bitten, I am planning on buying more bales and planting a number of things for the cooler months, just to see what will happen. According to most (Internet) sites I have found, they mention that the bales will last two seasons, we shall see."
"It's funny, I told my husband I am going to wind up with a maze of bales in the backyard that will help me NOT to have to cut as much grass, lol!"
Thank you Charlotte. I think I just may have to try this method myself next year!