I am about forty miles north of Portland Oregon in the lowlands off the Columbia river. We have it in mind to put together a bunch of straw bale raised beds to start our gardening adventure, kind of based on stuff we have seen Rob Bob do in his garden on the other side of the planet. Cannot really afford a lot of books, but happy to wile away the hours watching how to videos and reading web sites. Gonna start when we get some funding in in January or February, which aught to be enough time for the beds to kind of cure before planting in maybe April?? Any advice would be great.
Also, what to grow that will be good to eat and perhaps good to preserve that does well around here. Zukes seem like they do pretty good. At least I see them offered free on the road sides about half the year. But what else?
Hi Mike, I have not done any straw bale gardening but have researched it some. How are you conditioning your bales? I have seen references to using ammonium nitrate, human urine and compost tea. From my understanding you basically want to get the bails Composting and get past the "Hot" phase then plant your seeds. As far as what to plant you need to start with what you and your family will eat. I am a sucker for peas and bush "green" beans. Cut and come again lettuce like red sails and black seeded simpson should work as well. Let us know how it works out for you.
Miles Flansburg wrote:Hey Mike, do you have any trees, branches or wood chips available?
You could do a hugel bed inside the straw beds.
Nope. nothing of the sort. Anything I'm going to do I have to bring in at a cost. So far I have not even managed to get any bales, and the guy I'm borrowing a truck from is a couple weeks from being able to help.
What is with the agricultural zone information? I'll have to go look that up! I have a guy who will sell me a bunch of tomato and pepper starts, so that will be good. I guess I'll try some strawberries, some blueberries, maybe, and some corn. I am kind of a fan of looking for indigenous food crops and I would love to try that, but I have no illusions that I will be able to live off my quarter acre, but if I can get some good stuff going, it will help. I'm stoked to learn what kind of trees I can plant to establish that food forest idea Jeff Lawton talks about and make that happen.
Edit: I found the zone: 8b! Now to figure out what that means.
I just found this post when searching "Strawbale gardens". Are you still working on this project? Learn anything you want to share? We are an hour SE of you in the gorge, gardening on the side of a mountain, so I've had to bring some goodies in to get things growing, mostly my friend's spoiled hay, straw, and horse manure piles. Things are really staring to get fertile after 3 years, but I want more beds, so was looking into the strawbale idea and after using it and it falls apart, it will become like the rest of my Ruth Stoutmulch type gardens. I order seed from Adaptive and Carol Deppe (I've met Carol - she's awesome!) and what I didn't save, I'll order from them again this year.
What a show! What atmosphere! What fun! What a tiny ad!