We just got the garden planted and I’m beat. We decided to put in a new type of garden, it’ called a “straw bale garden”. It’s really neat, what you do is get a bunch of straw bales and set them up in rows then you put plants right in the straw bales. Then you water and add some fertilizer and all of the vegetables grow right in the straw. According to the book it’s easy but the book is full of crap. First you wrestle (50 ea.) 70 pound bales of straw into your truck to bring them home. When you get to the farmers who has a 12 year old kid throwing these bales around like they weighed 10 pounds, me and my 30 year old son are struggling with, I convince myself it must be a matter of technique.
We get them home a put them into whatever type of configuration has been decided upon by “SHE” who must be obeyed (my wife). Then you have to prepare the bales for about 12+ days with nutrients and lots of water until you begin to get mushrooms growing, then you are pretty much ready to go. Then you have to set up a watering system and did I tell you about the ground cover you install first and of course you have to put wire, small chicken wire to keep the moles and gophers from chewing their way up through the bales to gobble up your veggies when (if) they grow. I forgot about the 8’ deer fence around the whole thing after which I got to roto till the whole area, well if the veggie’s are going to grow in the bales why roto till the ground? Well some of the veggie’s have roots that will grow deeper than the thickness of the bales and if you don’t roto till they will get root bound and then all your work goes down the drain. Trust me on this one, you don’t want your work to go away because it is an incredible amount of work and mucho sweat. Just to get the first little plants to raise their little heads above the soil takes a few weeks of hard work, but it’s fun. The older I get the more I appreciate hard work, especially when I’m the one doing it. OK so now we have a month and a half into this a project and we see our little veggie children popping their collective little heads up above the straw and we have enough cash into this to buy veggie’s for at least a year, and another years worth of vegetable stuff. But we’re off to the races, were rolling right along and most importantly my wife is happy.
Now I just came back from lunch and the plants are happy, happy, happy. I just saw our first flower on a squash plant, the tomatoes have little baby tomatoes on them and some pretty good sized ones too and they are covered with flowers; woo-hoo, nothing like fresh tomatoes right out of the garden. Now if we can keep the stupid dogs off the bales, keep them from eating all of the fertilizer and berries off the Blue Berries and the raspberries the minute they get a little red or blue. Squash blossoms are in mortal danger the minute they bloom and our pooches spot them, that soil must taste pretty good. You don’t use any dirt, you exfoliate all of it and remove any traces of dirt from around the plants. Now, you may ask why is old Jerry doing all of this stuff to get a few veggies he could just a easily buy at the store when the time is right. Well I’m going to tell you right now if you’ll listen. (A) My wife wanted to do it and I’m her slave and this makes my life much easier and pleasant. (B)We get great vegetables, the tomatoes don’t taste like saw dust, and the strawberries are wonderful. They are sweet like they were when I was a little guy. (C)Plus my archery targets are right by the garden for a little well needed practice. (D)Lots of good exercise and I can’t think of any reason not to. (E)Now a straw bale garden is not supposed have any weeds which will be wonderful because the garden grows in the bales and not the dirt so there is no opportunity for weeds to get a foot hold….I hate weeds. In a normal garden you spend most of your time weeding and that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the garden for me.
OK, Now we have the garden going and growing and even glowing, everything is clippity clopping right along and life is good, or so I think. Actually I had forgotten about all of the critters out there who like to eat vegetables just like we do and now we have an onslaught of squirrels, raccoons, skunks and other assorted mammals and birds who are just starting to drive us nuts. Fortunately our doggies just love to chase these furry and feathered guys out of the garden area. Our Beagle; Old Logger, he starts to bugle and the Labs join right in and they don’t care what time it is. They look at their job is to keep the AO clear and they intend to do it. Of course the neighbors might not agree on the time schedule, but our pooches look at it this way, as WTF, they have a job to do and they’re going to do it.
The dogs each have kennels and sleep in our room in them and when the time to bark comes around they bark, they don’t ask permission they just do it, if your sleeping well OK get ready. I believe this will all turn out OK, if we can just get some sleep, it will. The plus side is I have some archery targets right by the garden and I can sneak out and shoot a few arrows for my breaks. I did see a couple of nice bucks the other day, just outside our fence at our house. So who knows this all may turn out well.
We just got back from a friends wedding in Alaska and while we were there we got to see our son who has been up in Homer, AK commercial fishing for the last six years. The wedding was great and to visit with our son was even better so things are going well this summer.
Thanks for listening and we’ll see you soon.