I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Building soil for new guilds  RSS feed

 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1424
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I have a thought for a way to build soil before planting another tree guild. I have a friend that i can get those huge round hay bales from. They are a few hundred lbs. Im thinking of using each one like a straw bale garden.  After a couple years i should have a large circle of really great soil. My guilds are all circular already and this will break down and leave a somewhat raised area that should drain much better than the heavy Clay beneath.  If the soil is very deep, i can rake some outward to make a larger circle.  Has anyone tried this with one of those large bales? With what results?
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The difference between a round bale and the standard rectangular bales is the orientation of the straws, it is this orientation that makes straw bales work.

The straws in a round bale are on their side rather than being able to be set open end up.
All this means is that you will have a little more involved prep work to get them ready for planting and they will not rot as fast or hold as much water, simply because of the direction of the straws.

Those huge round bales do work very well and they last a long time (3-4 seasons) compared to rectangular bales stood open straw up.

Be sure to soak them for at least 3 weeks and add nitrogen several times, using a rod (I use a hickory limb that is sharpened) to poke holes down into the bale as deep as you can.
Then come back with the nitrogen item of your choice. Some use Manures some use Spent Coffee Grounds, some use a mixture and others use commercial high nitrogen fertilizers (I don't recommend those ever, Manures, coffee grounds and urine work just fine).

I also would not remove the straw after it has deteriorated, I just leave it in place and plant through it, eventually it will become part of the soil.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1424
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Thanks for the input Redhawk.  I was even thinking of slicing one in two across the center with a saw, ending up with 2 rounds disks that are half the height of the original so they will rot down a little quicker.  As you said, I plan to let it rot down and then plant right in it.

My hope is that putting them out early spring next year they will stay wet enough to get a good start.  Thanks for the tip about stabbing holes in it.  I can get quite a few coffee grounds, I will use those to dump into the holes.  I also thought I would make somewhat bigger holes, maybe 4 or 5 inches across, fill those with compost, and plant directly in them.  Any thoughts on that, or on which plants will do the best in these bales until they break down enough to plants my trees and bushes in them?
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3161
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
255
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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What you have described is exactly how I do our bales Todd.

We set out our bales in January or February, that way the rains tend to soak the bales for us, once they are soaked I stab holes and put the coffee grounds on.
When we get ready to plant out, I carve out a large enough hole for the plant and some compost "soil", put some compost in, place the plant and finish setting it in with more of our compost.
Then I use our antique galvanized watering can to water the plants in.

I like the idea of cutting those rounds in half, that would make it easier to get to the plants as they grow as well as giving you two bales for the price of one.

Our bales can last up to two years but most only last one year.
We usually get mushroom blooms once the bales are rotting nicely in the interior.
Oh, the tighter the bale, the better, they won't collapse on you, that is a bummer since the collapse can take your plants with it.
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Excellent information, thank you.
 
Message for you sir! I think it is a tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
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