Well, Spring is certainly here. Last weekend we ripped out the old rotting raised beds, raked out the soil and started to layout the groundwork for permanent fencing. Jay will be working on that over the next few weeks (I hope) and I’ve set about planning the straw bale garden!
The basic plan is to do two plantings, but before I can even do that the bales must be conditioned first. Conditioning is really just jump-starting the decomposition process inside the bales with the assistance of some moisture and some nitrogen. Water is easy. Nitrogen is easy if you know what to look for. Lot’s of fertilizer in your garden center will have sufficient nitrogen for conditioning your bales, but how do you know? N-P-K!
N-P-K is the labeling system for fertilizers that let’s you how much Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium there is in your fertilizer. I’ve been using blood meal with a 12-0-0 NPK, but I’ve read suggestions for Urea which has 46-0-0. I’ve been adding about 1/2 cup every other day, and giving the bales a good 15 min soak under the soaker hose every day for a week. This weekend, I’ll be cutting back to 1/4 cup for a few days and a soaking, while I sit back and ponder my plant selections… which I may already have fleshed out.
Cold Season Plans
My first planing will be a cold season planting. Things that I can plant in April in New England really. As you can see, I’ve got a few ideas here already but still have two bales empty. I’m not sure if I’ll keep those empty and just have them ready to go for the second planting, or fill them with something that grows quick like radish.
Warm Season Plans
The second planting right now, only has one empty bale. Again, not sure what I’ll do there, but the outline of an idea exists!
Veggies I have seeds for:
Bennings Green Tint Scallop Squash
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
Burpee’s Golden Beet
Catskills Brussles Sprouts
Chinese 5 Color Pepper
Juane du Doubs Carrot
Pink Beauty Radish
Red Romaine Lettuce
Veggies I have on my plans, but don’t have seeds/plants for: