Tuesday, June 9, 2015

GARDENING - Strawbale Progress

I had planned this post for yesterday but woke up to storms so I dove into cleaning the house and didn't stop. I didn't want the cleaning to be yet another 'partial' project. So I did not plug the internet in, even after the storms passed. 

While not planted in strawbales, I do have my potatoes planted in straw - in tires. As you can see, the two red potatoes in the background are ready for a third tier. I'll add another tire, more straw and continue to water. The reason for using the tires rather than the straw bales is that by using the bales, I would only get one year's use out of them. This way I can use the tires from year to year.

The red potatoes are Ruby Sensation. They are about the size of new red potatoes and are only 100 calories per 4 potatoes. The two tires in the middle are Yellow Golds. Similar to the red ones but yellow ;-) They are not doing as well as their red cousins. Then the tire in the foreground is one of 4 that have Sweet Potatoes. They got a later start.

At the opposite end of the bed from the potato tires is the base of the U-shaped bale bed. This is where I've planted the cherry tomatoes. Their trellis is the springs base from my granddaughter's old crib. (though you can see 2 cattle panel sections leaning behind it. Those will be moved for cucumbers)

This is to the right of the cherry tomatoes down the side. In the background you can just make out my pepper plants - 5 bell peppers and 3 banana peppers. Then in the foreground I have 28 sweet onions.

This is the left side... Four bales of Cucumbers. Then in the background there is a bale of carrots and one of beets.

Sad Peas

Sad Beans

Neither of these are doing well. I think probably because they were planted too late. I'll do better next spring. But at least I know these do work.

Amish Paste Tomatoes

Better Boy Tomatoes

There are 10 bales along this fence line. Prior to using the straw bales, this was my traditional tomato row.(though I did test-run 8 plants in bales on this fence last year).  Tomatoes are doing well, but then they are one of the easiest garden plants to grow with the brownist of thumb. 

You will notice some empty bales between the 2 varieties of tomatoes. Next week, I'll show you what I'm putting in there. 

While I'm trying to breathe life back into my blogs, posts will not be numerous for the month of June. We have family visiting nearly every day this month. So hang with me ;-)


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

FULL MOON - Strawberry Moon

Courtesy of Farmer's Almanac.com
Today's Full Moon is known as the Strawberry Moon. Although there are many opinons as to why, the name is said to have come from the Native Americans as this was the best time for picking the wild strawberries.

My acreage is dotted with wild strawberries and they will be devoured quickly by the light of their moon by the many critters who call our area of timber home.

Last fall I begn a project to incorporate 2 thirty-foot rows of strawberries into my garden. You can see my first 15' on the lower right of the pic. I have approx. 8 plants there. So I decided to continue the row the full length then run another row along side. As the plants send out runners, I'll have a place to move them to right away.

I started by using the mower to cut as close to the ground as I could go without tearing up the blades on the rocks. Then I mulched out with 3 layers of newspaper followed by a layer of cardboard.

With inspiration from the Strawbale Gardening book I first mentioned in THIS post, I brought in bales of straw and separated them into sheafs and lay them out 3-wide across the entire area.

I failed to account for the space between the rows not being wide enough for my riding mower and mowing between them requires the bagger so as not to blow grass seeds over into the rows. I'm hoping to get that cleared this week and mulched with cardboard and more straw or mulch so that mowing will no longer be a problem.

The Full Moon is also a great time to think about what we want to get rid of from our life. There are some things taht if we just send them off to the universe and forget about them, they will in time take care of themselves... or vanish completely.

After weeks of cloudy skies, rain we are to have a beautiful sky tonight to enjoy the moon in all its glory. I hope to have a new fire pit built. I like this one from my Pinterest board. While I don't have anything really to 'release', I will enjoy the peace that comes with just sitting by the fire and enjoying the moon above.

Many Blessings

Monday, June 1, 2015


Courtesy of Stockfree Images.com
::: unlocking door and brushing cobwebs aside :::

Wow! I've really let this place go! I didn't mean to. Honest. Life. 

I spent January getting the business stuff caught up and on track so I could begin integrating the 'me' stuff into the planner.  Then on February 13th (yep, a Friday), my hubby had carpal tunnel surgery and was home for 9 weeks. While he isn't one to encrouch on what I do, I did limit my time to immediate work and put everything aside to spend with him. You will always here me say, Bob comes first in my life. I am a strong believer that you never know what the next minute brings... and I don't want to miss a single one with him. 

So after he went back to work in late April, I sat about bringing my business up to speed as best I could, just in time for an 18-day trip through Texas. I returned home the night before he was to go back out on the boat... and I've been playing catch up ever since.
Okay, maybe not right away. I took the first week to veg, rest up from the trip and get some of my shows off the DVR. Then I spent last week getting the blog stuff in order so I could take the world by storm.... before my in-laws arrive on June 11th. Yep.. the world just keeps spinning LOL

One of the most important things I did prior to my Texas trip was get the garden up and running. I am in love with the Strawbale Gardening concept. Our ground here is just not condusive to planting in the ground unless you want to kneel on a rock every time you get down to weed/ pick. 

I've gotten my sister involved and we've joined a Facebook group

After the 4 test bales last year with the tomato plants, I have gone full force this year. 

I have a horseshow of 115 bales plus the tomato row from last year has grown to 8 bales. I have 6 bales flanking an old swing set frame covered in chicken wire for the peas and 2 other bales for container sweet corn and spaghetti squash. I have a bale with a trellis for snow peas.

The main bed

I broke the tomato bales from last year down and layered them around the base of two Garden trellis'.

I also have seven stacks of tires: 2 each Red and White and 3 for Sweet Potatoes. I've used the tire method the past two years with success.

These were all taken in the beginning stages. Next week I'll share an 'OOPS' with you courtesy of my loving husband and updated pics of how things are growing.