Straw Bale Gardening
Every year I try a new plant as an experiment. It adds variety to my diet as well as tests the endurance of different types of vegetables. This year I went with a squash from Africa called Red Kuri Squash. It is supposed to be heat resistant (a real plus for our summers) and disease resistant. Of course squash bugs may be a different matter. Its because of those little beasts that I’ve given up trying to grow my two favorite squash – Yellow straight neck and Zucchini. Now I mostly go with Spaghetti squash, Acorn, and Butternut.
This year, along with the new type of squash, I decided to try straw bale gardening as well. Rumor has it that squash bugs will not inhabit straw bales. We set up a bale and a half in the garden and followed the instructions in from a new book, Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten.
Last March, I brought out all of my squash seeds and started them in my mini green house.
Then we set up the bales and Greg began conditioning them for me. You work compost and manure into the bales, along with the other nutritional requirements of the plants, and let them sit in the weather for a month or two. Every week, Greg added more compost and old horse manure to the bales. Bill, my grandchildren’s mini horse, lives in the pasture next to the garden, so we had a ready supply.
Then, last week, I planted my squash plants. So far so good. They seem to be thriving. And now we will see if the squash bugs appear. If all goes well, I may try more bales and different plants next year.
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