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Straw bale gardens are simple: the bale is the garden. I have surrounded my vegetable beds with entire bales. The key to success is treating the bale to get it ready for planting. The other way of propagating strawberries is with runners. Hay will not give you a dry layer of cover that is pleasing to look at, but it is a great mulch for growing flowers and vegetables, and you’ll get a fantastic yield. And to establish them, well, I'm not putting them in very deep - strawberries are shallow rooted plants so I'm just making sure the roots are nicely covered by the mix and then I keep them moist. Good position and good soil are the keys to successful strawberries. As a result, these bales usually contain timothy and alfalfa seeds, which can sprout into plants when wet. Keep in mind that … Strawberries prefer loamy or sandy soils, which must be irrigated and fertilized for healthy plant growth. A: Strawberries are really easy to grow but have some drawbacks. Of course you could buy them, but where's the fun in that? In the subtropics, runners should be fruiting within 6 months. If they ever get aphids, control them immediately because aphids transmit viruses. Spread the plant's rootlets over the bottom of the hole. For effective straw bale gardening: Use straw, not hay. But to do that, he is going to need lots of healthy young plants. Strawberries grow and ripen rather quickly and must be picked daily on a large commercial strawberry farm. The two main enemies of strawberries are viruses and fungi. Runners are the natural way that strawberries reproduce. Keep the plants at least 2 feet apart, and the rows 3 to 4 feet apart. During summer, earthworms had come up through the bales, fed on them and filled them with worm castings, and so this meant, I had grown my own potting soil. Deeper down, the mulch had broken down into moist material that made perfect compost. The strawberries took quite well to the straw bales, sinking their roots down into the depths of the bale that retained moisture even through our dry summer days. A great way to grow strawberries is in foam vegetable packing boxes. For details about how your personal information will be handled by the ABC, please see our Privacy Collection Statement. Space plants according to what you will be growing. Weeds: Even if you use straw bales—not hay bales, unless you suffocate the weeds before you plant your garden—your bales will sprout and if left alone will start looking like giant Chia Pets. Straw bale gardening, sometimes called hay bale gardening, utilizes the bales as both garden bed and growing medium. This is affected by maturity and curing time. Plus, straw bales are good on the budget. ), right over your garden soil. They send out these long, whippy shoots after they finish fruiting and at various nodes, they'll produce a young plant and that'll root into the ground. If you pick a grassy area, put several layers of newspaper or a piece of cardboard underneath to keep grass and weeds from growing up into the bale. Cutting your hay after this stage risks a decline in quality due to the fact that as the plant continues to grow it will increase in fibre content and decrease in sugar content. Use soapy water or pyrethrum spray to control them. … All you need to do is put 8 drainage holes in the bottom and you're set to go. It's easy to grow in Zones 3-9, even in part shade. When people visit my garden, they often want to know where the worm farm is. Over the year, parts of the bales decomposed but not evenly - and that's the exciting part. The advantage of using these boxes is that the fruit will hang over the edge of them and will not touch the ground so there's less chance of rot. If they're growing in the open ground, use she-oak or pine needles - that's the best. Using a trowel, pry open a hole in the straw bale. It's been used to grow strawberries and for mulching the pot plants. And in the cold weather the structure protects the plants from frost. Pumpkins. Half are in full sun and the other half are in the cool shade. Now the greatest advantage of using these boxes is that the fruit will hang over and not touch the ground and that means, in the subtropics when we get drizzly weather or heavy dews, none of the fruit rot. Straw bale gardening is as straightforward as it sounds – gardening in a straw bale. I'm putting it in a sheltered spot with morning sunshine. Cover the seed tray with a plastic dome to keep the mix moist. I started experimenting with bales about a year ago and I used 40. Of course I could buy them, but where's the fun in that? Bales give another great opportunity for crop protection. Note: Jerry used around 500 seeds per tray, which could potentially rear 500 plants. Instead Jerry shows us how he's going to grow his own from seed and runners from his existing plants. Gardening in bales allows you to transform rocky, uneven or clay soil — or even a paved parking spot — into fertile growing space. Melons are a heat-loving crop that grow best in areas with lots of warm, sunny days. The one thing that you don't economise on is propagating mix. Bales give another great opportunity for crop protection. For our cucumbers, we plant 3 to 5 plants per bale spaces evenly. There are many ways to use the bales in the garden. The bale … Strawberries: Put their bale in a sunny spot and plant them in the spring, and you’ll have a sweet hay-bale treat waiting for you in a few weeks. Hay is made from alfalfa and grasses that still have the seeds attached, and these seeds will turn into weeds when the germinate and sprout. Start by arranging the bales in any way you like, side by side to make a block, end to end to create a line, zigzag, circle, whatever takes your fancy. JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS: There's nothing quite like a fresh strawberry and that's why I intend to have lots for harvest this year. If they're growing in the open ground, use she-oak or pine needles as mulch as it keeps the fruit dry and they acidify the soil, which strawberries love. If bending is difficult, plant the hay bales to leave a space between the plants, to sit, reach across the middle and work from. The other way of propagating strawberries is by runners and runners are a natural way that they reproduce. If you use hay bales, chances are good you’ll end up growing hay rather than vegetables. I've put a row of bales on the southern side of the vegetables. A couple of bricks hold the sticks in place so they are safe in windy weather. The good news is that the sprouts are easy to pull out or to trim with scissors. For those of you lucky enough to live in the warm areas of Oz, I would suggest growing your strawbs under a little shade cloth cover. They like to see the sunlight as they germinate. Once the straw bales are cool enough you can begin planting. By gently watering the surface, I bring the seed into intimate contact with the propagating mix. The trial with bales yielded greater results than expected. It really helps with germination. Fill the box up with a premium potting mix and follow the instructions for either growing from seed or from runners. When I can get hay for one to five dollars per bale and straw costs 6-8 I will grow in hay all day long. I've saved water, protected the crops against hot and cold weather and I've produced loads of mulch. Gardening Australia podcasts. Good for you! To find new plants you just follow the runners along until you get to a point where a new plant is forming, separate that and then uproot it. The number of workers required to pick varies, but a general estimate is that 65 to 70 workers are needed to keep each 1,000,000 strawberry plants picked. Overall, about 7,500 lucerne growers throughout Australia grow around 200,000 hectares of lucerne annually for hay, producing about one-million tonnes of hay. It's been used to grow strawberries and for mulching the pot plants. The number of plants will depend on the variety. Strawberries in straw bales? The advantage of using these boxes is that the fruit will hang over the edge of them and will not touch the ground so there's less chance of rot. They thrive in areas with full sun, good soil drainage, and acidic to neutral soils. I'm going to grow my own from seed and from my own runners. When you feel confident in your straw bale gardening abilities, you could plant them. Corn and pine straw will likely not grow anything. I think I'm going to be doing this every year from now on. Bridgewater Production Line Given a need to also reduce seasonal variation in quality and quantity, Hay Australia has also recently invested in a new production facility near Bridgewater in the Loddon shire, Victoria. Strawberries also grow well in containers making them ideal for growing on apartment balconies, patios, or porches. May 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm. Use a sharp knife or blade to cut out planting holes. Open up a V-shaped hole about 7 inches deep in the hay bale with your trowel and tuck a strawberry seedling into the bale. Hay bales are usually grown and sold as horse or livestock feed. To find new plants follow the runners along until you get to a point where a new plant is forming, separate that and then uproot it. And this is important with strawberry seed. Oaten hay is compressed into 22-24kg half-cut bales or 44-48kg full bales for containerising and shipping. Once that bale gets wet (details below), it’ll grow much heavier and harder to move, so make sure it’s where you want it to stay. Bamboo canes support shade cloth and provide instant sun protection for the cabbage seedlings below. The drawback to our experiment with straw bale gardening was not the method itself but the lack of fencing to protect the strawberries. All you need is a couple of straw bales, a bag of organic compost, some organic fertiliser and seeds or seedlings. Introducing straw bale gardening, worm farming and the Reduce, Reuse Recycle ethos, we can provide early childhood service providers with an engaging and educational experience for the children and educators. Not only do the words sound right together, but as it happens straw or hay bales are perfect mediums for nurturing the luscious fruits. Worms eat material, digest it and produce wonderful, fertile, rich, crumbly, soil full of worm castings. In addition to providing you with a nutrient-dense growing medium, straw bale gardening allows you to extend the growing season — thanks to straw’s insulating properties and propensity to heat up faster than other materials. It is absolutely awesome as mulch as well. And if you're starting from scratch, well, buy your plants as seed or certified disease-free stock. Place in a sheltered spot with morning sunshine, as strawberry seed likes to see the sunlight as it germinates. Put eight drainage holes in the bottom of the box. Storing: Hay bales are transported and stored. I've probably got about 500 seed in this tray - potentially 500 plants - which shows you how economical seed propagation is. And after a year, I've even grown potting mix. Note: It's also a good idea to soak these new plants in half strength seaweed solution while you prepare to plant them out as it will reduce transplant shock. Cover the seed tray with a plastic dome to keep the mix moist. Strawberries in straw bales? If they ever get aphids, control them immediately because aphids transmit viruses. -Lay out bales end to end keepign in mind that this will establish permanent garden beds over time-soak the bales with water or leave out in the rain before planting-To plant, work a small hole through the bale right to the ground-Fill the hole with manure, compost, soil, or a mix -water the backfill and transplant as usual INSTANT GARDEN! But over the past year I've been experimenting with using sugar cane bales in my garden. Everbearing strawberries grow well in hay bales. For details about how your personal information will be handled by the ABC, please see our Privacy Collection Statement. Hay bales are a bad choice as they are filled with grass seeds that will compete with your plants. It’s a bit like container growing, only the bale of straw becomes the container. But to do that, I'm going to need lots of healthy young plants. After planting strawberries it is really important to mulch the exposed soil surrounding the plants. Contrary to the visions I have of chowing down on strawberries in a hot Queensland summer, strawbs are actually a European cool-climate plant, and need to be treated with a bit of love in much of Australia. Firstly, don't economise on seed raising mix. a square with four hay bales filling the square with topsoil and plant in both the soil and the bales. Choosing Your Bales When sourcing your bales, make sure you buy straw and not hay. Now I'm just going to make sure this is nice and level and flat before I sow them directly onto the surface. Fill the box up with a premium potting mix. It's brilliant stuff. Straw is weed-free and formed into square bales just like hay. For successful germination ensure the seed is in contact with the propagating mix. Centre’s can choose from programs, according to their budget and centre’s requirements. It might sound like a bit of a crazy idea but straw bales are perfect for growing delicious fruit. Straw, on the other hand, is comprised of the leftover stalks of grains such as oats and wheat—after the seeds have been removed through harvesting. Pumpkins sprawl out when they grow. So used to hearing so many slam it that I thought this was another hay … Gardeners disagree about where the string tying together the straw bale should be: some say on the ground, others say along the side. To control fungi, regularly remove all the dead leaves and make sure that they're mulched. Colour – The ideal colour for hay is a bright green colour. Gently water the surface. This means the picking season has been extended. There are certain plant varieties you can grow once you have the hang of gardening in a straw bale. Heavy, clay soils also work if well-drained to avoid root rot. Simple: the bale to get it ready for planting out a crazy but! 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