Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Straw bale gardening plus Gardening when it counts giveaway!

Here's the deal, last spring me and my husband dug up/turned 450 sq ft of grass...which we should have done the previous fall...lesson learned. Which doesn't matter now that we are back in New Mexico and we don't have to worry about our garden being over taken by crab grass...cause grass doesn't grow here like it does in Tulsa.


Here are my reasons for trying straw bale gardening:

1) We have lots of plans for the 5 acres we are living on assuming things go as we hope they will. We just don't want to put in the work of digging up a spot only to want to move it somewhere the next year or two.

2) Not having to bend over and weed a garden in the heat sounds lovely! It won't be as big a problem here but in Tulsa it was since it could be crazy humid and HOT at 5am.

3) I don't like square foot gardening after reading Gardening when it counts Steve Solomon explains in depth how hard it can be on plants and limit their growth. I understand the appeal and I am sure there are many that are shaking there heads in disagreement with me but Steve Solomon was just too convincing. Straw bale gardening seems like a cousin to square foot gardening but the roots are able to go a lot deeper.

4) It just seems absurdly easy! I don't know if it will be work but if it works like I hope it will then it will be awesome!

Here is a good link to a video explaining straw bale gardening. There    
doesn't seem to be much literature as far as books go, all I have seen is this e-book. His site also includes other info about Straw bale gardening not just the e-book. I also couldn't find any books on Straw bale gardening on Amazon, my go to for books. I think the reason for the lack of literature is because it's so simple. You simply lay some chicken wire down if you are worried about gofers and such, get straw bales NOT hay bales since hay includes seeds. Put about a bag of compost on each bale and plant your garden. Put a souker (plus you don't bury the hose = a lot less work) hose if you want and boom! I would also like to put some kind of trellis behind the straw bales for squash, beans, bell pepper and such...grow up not out!

Here's the rest of the deal...I am no master gardener! We learned a lot about how little we know about gardening with the garden we had in Tulsa. Every state has it's advantages and disadvantages. There is a huge learning curve if you have never had a garden or have only been gardening for a few years and I would rather learn now then when in a time of great need. I'm not an extremist when it comes to preparedness but I don't know the future holds...my crystal ball isn't working at the moment. Gas prices are going up which means food prices will continue to rise and I would like to be able to provide a significant portion of my families produce from our garden.

I don't know if this helps you or not, or where you are as far as gardening ability goes but I would just encourage you to keep going, keep learning. For instance does the lunar cycle really effect when you should plant?

One other thing I WILL be doing this year with our garden is keeping a garden journal because as much as you think you will remember things you won't...at least I won't.

I will do a follow up post when I get my straw bale garden going!

This is the first give away on our blog but I love this book and want to share it with you :)

Here's how to enter:

1) You must like our FB page and leave a comment so we know you stopped by and "liked" us.

2) If you really like us you should just commit and follow us :) But you don't have to, I only want people to follow our blog if they want to.

The giveaway ends on the Thursday the 29th, winner will be announced at 6pm. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me via paynelessphoto@gmail.com or by leaving a comment with contact info or a new winner will be drawn. 

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times [Book]


  1. Ok, that is just brilliant! We will definitely be trying this method this year! I am totally blown away by how simple and smart this idea is.

  2. Already "like" you and I follow you, but I can't figure out how to officially follow you since my phone only does mobile versions. I'll figure it out when I get to the computer. For AZ gardeners, I recommend Extreme Gardening, by Dave Owens. With 2 gardening seasons he tells you when to plant what and how to help your plans survive the summer sun and the near freezing temps of the winter. I'm with you on the Square Foot gardening. I think that the dessert gardens need a lot more water that 12 inches of topsoil can hold. But in NH... SFG would totally have saved my sanity with my 2 gardens when I had no idea what I was doing! I spent a lot of hours working when I really didn't have to. But we learn and do better the next garden! Also, U can't stress enough to keep a journal or a log. I always start one, but I forget to write down the good details assuming it's hard to forget it. Nope! I forgot!! Thanks for the awesome post! I'll have to look into staw bales! How bout a compost post? I'm getting compost worms in the mail this week! Can't wait to start making magic dirt!!!

  3. I like you on Facebook...and I am now following you here! Such good ideas! I am the worst at gardening...but this looks like something I might be able to handle! Can't wait to hear how it works out!

  4. I already follow you :) and now I am off to find you on FB

  5. I am now following on fb and here. Thanks for all the good information. :-)
    I need to start my garden, and am lousy at it. This would be a lot easier than sfg. And cat's wouldn't use it as a litter box like the sfg boxes.

  6. If only you or I could figure out a way to make this work here, w/o having to keep the straw bales indoors . . .
    On the bright side- I do have green chile growing in my window, along with some leftover grass seeds that we planted from one of the hub's science lessons :)