Straw Garden Follow-Up

Back in April I blogged, for Earth Day, about a straw bale garden I was going to try.  I am sorry to report that I am still a lousy gardener, but have had some success anyway.

I planted three tomato plants, two zucchini plants from seed, two basil plants, thyme, cilantro, a bell pepper, and a jalapeno. I also planted some French green bean and cantaloupe seeds.

Zucchini from seed

Seeds did come up, but they did not flourish. The tomatoes languished until August, though I did get one or two tomatoes before the Fourth of July, as promised, from the Fourth of July variety. The zucchinis flowered but did not bear. I had two beans, each about an inch long. The cilantro merely endured, until one day it was dead. It didn’t even taste good.

In July I decided it was all a bust and stopped getting up early to turn on the soaker hose. Instead of planting anything in the hole of the square formed by the four bales, I started throwing compost in there.  And then it rained.

And everything started to grow. No, not everything, but the basil began to flourish and the tomatoes took off. The bell pepper finally produced an oh-so-small pepper. And now I actually have ripe tomatoes. On Saturday I picked three golfball sized tomatoes from the Fourth of July vine and twenty-two cherry tomatoes from the Sweet Million vine. The Beauty has seven green tomatoes on it. And I’ve picked from the basil and used it in recipes.

That’s my straw bale garden story. As a food source, I cannot recommend it. As a hobby, it has been pretty interesting. Weeds did grow in it, but they were easy to pull out, except down in the hole. I think I should have been more generous with water and fertilizer in the beginning. If you want a real garden you probably have to work much harder.

For a happy ending, here is a picture of my pretty little cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes growing in straw
Cherry tomatoes

Published by

lbishop

I am a library assistant at the Parham Road Campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Besides regular circulation responsibilities, I work with periodicals and purchasing supplies. I'm also a member of the Multicultural Enrichment Council and their Around the World through Books subcommittee.

3 thoughts on “Straw Garden Follow-Up”

  1. Glad you got some joy! My garden got a second wind in august when the rains hit too. I’m still harvesting tomatoes beans and melons. Oh, and okra. It’s always happy.

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  2. I’d say, don’t give up! Even the most well-watered, fertilized gardens planted in compost-rich soil had a rough time of it in this very hot, dry summer…not a fair test of the potential of a straw-bale garden- please try try again…when Mother Nature will help.

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