Category Archives: Straw Bale Gardening

Look at what I just picked…


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Straw Bale Garden

I've got cherry tomatoes coming out my ears. Good thing I love these sweet little suckers.

The jalapenos took awhile to get started, but now they are doing great!

I've got 2 tiny watermelons growing. I wonder how big they'll get before the end of the growing season.

There are a few of these beauties.

I've got one measly cucumber growing....


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Straw Bale Garden Update- July 24, 2011

This week…second casualty.  The zucchini plant kicked the bucket.  I’m not sure why.  It was doing great early on, but the leaves just started to shrivel up and the zucchini turned yellow and most of them fell off.

The tomatoes are doing great.  I’ve got tons of cherry tomatoes growing and a whole bunch more flowers.  I snapped the stem of the early girls a couple days ago by accident.  I still stuck it back in the bale, but the outlook is bleak for these girls.  The jalapeno is finally looking good.  The pole beans have started producing beans.  The watermelon vines have some flowers and where I thought I planted cantaloupe in the side of the bale, I realized I have a cucumber plant growing with 2 little cucumbers starting.

The stakes I’m using as supports are not working great now that the bales have started to decompose.  Next year, I think I’ll use remesh, like others have written about, to build a trellis system that straddles the bales.


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July 17th- What’s wrong with my zucchini?

So, the zucchini looks like they are doing great when they first start growing and then they turn yellow and fall off.  Anyone out there know what the problem is?


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July 8, 2011- A Little Zucchini Lesson

If you’ve been following the blog for a little bit, you know that I am currently making my first attempt at gardening.  I’ve made a straw bale garden, which I’m loving.  Aside from the fact that my plants are doing great (all except for that little cucumber plant), there is no weeding involved and it is raised off the ground, so it’s easier on the back. When I first began this venture, I really didn’t know much about growing veggies.  While I’ve learned a little, I’ve got a ways to go.  In a a previous post, I had shared that my zucchini flowers were falling off.  What I learned was that there are two types of flowers, male and female.  The plant produces males first before producing female flowers so it knows that the female flowers will be pollinated once they are produced.  Male flowers never produce fruit.  They will continue to fall off even after the female flowers are present.  They are edible if you feel like cooking them up.  I’ve eaten zucchini blossoms, but I haven’t tried to cook them yet. I hear they are the thing to try at L’Amante (I still have yet to eat there).

You can tell the flowers apart because the stems and stamens are different

Male Flower- thin stem and the stamen is one pointed little thing in the center

Female Flower

I don’t have any larger female flowers that don’t already have a fruit growing (which you can see in yesterday’s post if you want to), but if you look at all these new flowers that are coming in, the top one on the left of the bunch (it’s a little fuzzy…sorry) is a female.  See how the stem is a little chubbier and it looks like a mini zucchini….that’s the difference between the the males with the skinny stems.

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July 7, 2011- Garden Update

Hi Friends!  What a lovely morning it is here in Northern VT.  Some crazy thunderstorms rolled through yesterday afternoon and last night and now it is sunny and 70 degrees.  I ventured out to the straw bale garden this morning to see what happened while I was away in NY (thanks for watering, Dan).  That sunshine did my plants good!  Check it out.


Pole Beans- These guys either have outgrown or will shortly outgrow the poles.  If you look on the left side of this picture you can see one of the plants growing off the pole and straight out to the side. Anyone have any suggestions.  Also, they are growing like crazy, but don’t yet have any beans.  Is this normal?


Lots of little flowers starting on all of the tomato plants

I'm pretty sure these are going to be bigger slicing tomatoes. By the end of planting these starts, I stopped keeping track of which plant was which type of tomato.

I was trying to show how thick this tomato plant has gotten. It's almost the size of my pointer finger.

Aren't these pretty?



All along this pepper plant looked as if it was barely growing.  It hasn’t ever looked like it was dying, but it didn’t really seem to be doing much.  It still doesn’t have any flowers, but it finally looks as if it’s grown some.



I don’t know if we have a warm and sunny enough climate to grow cantaloupe and watermelon.  I mean people do it, but being a newbie at this, I think I need optimal conditions.  I have flowers on both plants, we’ll see what happens.  Here is a picture of the watermelon.


In addition to all of this I’ve got basil growing between the two of the tomato plants.  I also had some chives that were good for awhile, but pretty much look like they are dying now.

I’ve had my first casualty, The cucumber plant is completely dead.  I’m not sure what happened, but I’m going to try throwing some seeds into the bale and see what happens (Thanks for that tip, Colleen).

Happy Gardening!  I can’t wait until I can harvest these things!

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June 22, 2011- Inch by Inch

I often have this John Denver song in my head when I’m out back admiring my veggie plants.  I look at these things more than anybody in their right mind needs to.  Remember what these looked like just one month (and a day) ago?  The difference is tremendous.  Here are some pictures that I took yesterday, exactly one month after I began planting in the bales.

Zucchini plant- Something I just learned is that the zucchini plant produces male flowers first. Those will fall off and die. Once the plant knows there are male flowers to pollenate the female flowers, it will start producing the female flowers. Those are the ones that become zucchini.



The Setup


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