To our great dismay, our gardens are overgrown with Bermuda grass. There is virtually nothing we can do about Bermuda Grass, unless we are prepared to completely remove it from our property. This nasty stuff is growing on at least 3 acres and it’s most prevalent in the gardens. Of course ;(
We have tried so many different things to get rid of it and each year it’s just stronger and thicker. It grows around and through and under everything. It will travel underground or under anything on the ground – for long distances – and come up when it finds light and moisture.
So, this year, we decided to try Straw Bale gardening.
We LOVE IT!!!
We laid some of the weed mulch beneath the bales and spent about two weeks conditioning them. About a cup of blood meal was sprinkled over the bales, every other day. Then, about a gallon of water was sprayed over them.
The straw seeds still in the bales began to grow grass. Each day, the temperature of the bales was tested – using a really long stem thermometer. (When the thermometer was pressed into the bales, they squeaked). After several weeks of this, the bales began to break down and get nice and warm inside – perfect for planting.
We were able to start our planting in April this year. The plants had warm feet even when it was rather chilly out.
Another benefit of using the straw bales… For the past couple of years, I planted watermelon in the garden. I couldn’t figure out why I got so few watermelon. Thought I’d not given them enough of the proper nutrients or something.
Then, my darling husband said, “The ducks are roaming through the gardens and eating the flowers off all of our plants”
So, now that the veggies are up high on the straw bales, the ducks can’t reach the flowers 🙂
For our first year of straw bale garden, we’ve planted:
Potatoes – “Yukon Gold Potatoes”
Tomatoes – “Solar Fire Tomatoes” (my absolute FAVORITE tomato)
Peppers – “Red Bell Peppers”, Dragon something or other
Watermelon – “Crimson Sweet Watermelon”- haven’t had the best of luck with watermelons for several years – even without the duck issue
Planted in the ground – the old fashioned way:
Cucs – Straight 8’s and Little High Leaf (for pickling)
Zucchini – black beauty – though I have a helluva time with Stink Bugs
Next Summer, we hope to have a new home for our garden – WITHOUT BERMUDA GRASS – and will have a whole bunch more straw bales.
I’ve used the paper sacks that the chicken feed comes in to cover the ground around the bales.