Last I wrote, my straw bale garden was growing like gangbusters...I had NO idea! Some things I added to our bales after my last post are:
A Cherokee Purple tomato thanks to Stephanie - who also gave me some dill, thyme & a chocolate cherry tomato I planted in a pot. I got a great rosemary plant from Paul Houston, my daughter tells me it keeps the deer away. Not sure about that, but you know despite being easily available, deer did not bother us. We got some plants from the Food Circle plant exchange, some broccoli, strawberries and flowers for our pots. After the strawberries were done, we planted some honeydew melons, and a baby watermelon
After harvesting a nice batch of snowpeas & adding them to fresh salad greens and spinach from the garden they petered out pretty quick with the arrival of the heat. The spinach held out a bit longer, allowing us some great quiche, and pizza toppings in addition to salads. Then there was a bit of a lull...during which time, my experiment in the bag of lettuce did not go well, I think mainly due to me concentrating on my bales & because I never moved them out into the full sun. That bag was overturned into the now defunct spinach bed & carrots planted recently.
Boy, when the tomatoes began, they began! I have given away several bags of mid-size gloriously red tomatoes. I have been jealously guarding my Cherokee Purple fruits, after tasting the first one! If you have not grown these, try them next year, they are fabulous! All four varieties thrived & we even got a volunteer cherry tomato that I had planted in a pot years ago. I am at the point of freezing some whole tomatoes for use later in the year when the "cardboard tomatoes" are in the stores. I will peel, freeze and pack them in my new Foodsaver bags.
The green onions were a bust, and the carrots, shaded by the crazy tomato growth are growing but very slowly, so that is why I replanted the carrots, I LOVE carrots! Broccoli grew amazing leaves, but never made a head, maybe too much fertilizer, will try again in the fall.
I am SOLD on the straw bale gardening method! We had NO bug problems which had plagued us in years past, I think due to the fact that the garden did not hug the house, but was out where the breezes kept insects from laying their eggs on our plants. The rabbits that were helping themselves to our in a pot gardens before did not like having to hop up on the bales, so only the really low hanging fruit was even bothered, and that minimally (one tomato). We did have some blossom end rot due to the downpours, but even that was acceptable, because we got plenty of great stuff. I also think the bales drain better & help prevent the rot.
Now this may not sound like all that much from you large scale gardeners, but for us it was extreme success! Next year I will plant earlier with many more Cherokee Purple's, some potatoes, some onions, continuing with our strawberries, adding some broccoli & of course adding more bales for more yield. My hubby is cooking up some support ideas for new bales, more on that in the fall. Till then - happy gardening!