May 11, 2011- Straw Bales

I got my straw bales a couple of weeks ago and good old Mother Nature decided to dump a whole lotta rain on us up here in VT.  The down side of that is that the lake is flooded.  The plus side is that I didn’t have to water my bales.

The directions that I found to prep the bales said this:

Days 1–3: Water the bales thoroughly and keep them wet.
Days 4–6: Sprinkle the bales with 1/2 cup of ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) per bale per day, and water it well into the bales. I didn’t have any trouble finding ammonium nitrate from my local ag-supply store. They sold it in 50-pound bags. I have heard, however, that some people have had difficulty finding it in more urban settings. Ask around. (See more about ammonium nitrate at the bottom of this page.)
Days 7–9: Cut back to 1/4 cup of ammonium nitrate per bale per day and continue to water it in well.
Day 10: No more ammonium nitrate, but do add 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per bale and water it in well.
Day 11: Transplant your plants into the bales. I used a spatula to make a crack in the bale for each plant. Place the plant down to its first leaf and close the crack back together as best you can.

This is what I’ve done:

1.5 weeks of rain (I’m counting that as the Day 1-3- Water Thoroughly

May 6- I don’t have ammonium nitrate.  I used 1/2 cup of blood meal and 1/2 cup of 5-5-5 on each bale

May 7-8- Watered

May 9,10,11- 1/2 cup blood meal and 1/2 cup 5-5-5 for each bale + water

My plans for the rest of the prep include:

May 12,13,14- 1/4 cup blood meal and 1/4 cup 5-5-5 for each bale

May 15- One cup 10-10-10 per bale.

Realistically, I won’t have time to plant in the bales until the following weekend, May 21st.  I also need to build some sort of supports for my tomatoes and cucumbers.  I think I’m going to use posts and remesh.  That’s what I’ve been reading works well. My seedlings are slowly growing.  I think I might be buying a couple of zucchini plants because my lovely cat, Jack, decided to munch on a few.

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