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2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch


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#41 DWB

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 06:05 PM

The bales are coming along nicely. I'm amazed at how quickly the hay is cooking down into beautifully composted media. Under the fork is a place that shows it very well. Down inside the bales the stuff is really looking beautiful.

 

As we go through the winter I'll pile my hay compost, chopped oak leaves, horse manure and some hardwood ash to keep the bales full and let that be continually composting and compacting until spring. I may look around and get me a load of chipped pine bark from a logging site to add to the mix, too.

 

By planting time, these bale rows should be solid blocks of great nutrition. Maybe I'm delusional but I think if I was a pepper plant I'd love to sink my roots into that stuff.

 

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#42 CaneDog

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:39 AM

Maybe I'm delusional but I think if I was a pepper plant I'd love to sink my roots into that stuff.

 

 

No delusion there.  I'd be locking up my seeds to keep them from sneaking out there and planting themselves!  Seriously, it's looking awesome and I'm really interested to see how the hard work pays off for you the coming season - and I'm sure for many future seasons as well.



#43 Isaaccarlson

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 02:51 AM

I was just reading in one of our gardening books and it says roots can cover an 8 ft diameter and go down 4 ft in good soil.
You should have a nice healthy crop this year.

#44 karoo

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 03:33 AM

You'll have some very happy pepper plants.

Only problem should be fast growth and falling over. just support them early. :party:


" I wish I was as young as the first time I said, " I'm getting to old for this sh!t." "


#45 DWB

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 07:18 PM

Pine straw is a good weed barrier and we have a bunch of it this year. I guess we have so much because of the tremendous amount of rain we got in the second half of the year. Anyway, good thing because I can use a lot of it all around the perimeter of the garden. I raked a while Monday and raked up more piles today and today was hauling day since massive rain is arriving tomorrow. I thought collecting up a few loads would be a good thing.

 

Load #1, my helper Cody and his favorite Christmas present. A Wilson NFL Mini football. I bet I kicked that football for him at least 1500 times today.

 

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Load #7

 

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Seven loads. I think I have plenty.

 

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#46 PaulG

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 07:49 PM

What kind of pines? The needles look to be long ones.
Your garden space is coming along nicely.

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#47 DWB

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 08:24 PM

We have Loblolly, Virginia and some long leaf in another area.

 

I'm pleased with the space already. I'm imagining a really fine and productive, no-till growing spot after a few years of continually composting tons of organic material on that ground. I'm excited.



#48 m1hagen

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 08:38 AM

Thanks for letting us watch.  I can't wait to see the results.



#49 DWB

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 03:42 PM

It's a lot of work utilizing all the organic materials I have available to me around here but it's silly not to use every bit I can to improve this garden soil for the seasons to come.

 

I've decided to add a couple inches of horsey fertilizer on top of the already deteriorating leaf layer in the walkways. Then I'll top that off with a few more inches of oak leaves and let it all rot down to good stuff.

 

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#50 nmlarson

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 08:06 AM

Wow!  This is going to be some garden.  I can only wish for the space to do something like this.  Hope you're not competing in the Growdown this year.   :P


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#51 rhines81

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:29 AM

Beautiful set up and I can see a lot of work has gone into this!  Best of luck!

A friend of mine did this on a smaller scale for tomato plants (four 12ft rows).  He used hay bales instead of straw bales and was fighting weeds all summer long.  The following year he covered the bales in black plastic mulch about a month before planting to kill the weed sprouts.  This helped out tremendously and he only fought weeds during the last half of the summer, but once the weeds go to seed they will be there again the following year to sprout.  The year after that he tilled everything into the ground and covered the whole area with plastic.  He did not plant that year.  The following year was almost weed free and it's a very fertile area to this day - he just wishes that he would have used straw to start with.

So just a heads up, get those bales covered well before the weed seeds start germinating and cook them good before planting.



#52 DWB

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate that. I have seen a few weeds coming up in the bales but very few. You have to look hard to find any . Mushrooms are a different story. Lots of those. You'd think if weeds were gonna be a big problem they'd be coming up a lot heavier on the bales since they,ve been fed and watered for more than two months now.

 

At this time we have both summer weeds and winter weeds coming up in all other areas.



#53 MarcV

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:35 AM

Wow!  This is going to be some garden.  I can only wish for the space to do something like this.  Hope you're not competing in the Growdown this year.   :P

 

I'm a bit jealous too! I can only dream of this kind of garden! :)


Edited by MarcV, 28 December 2018 - 10:36 AM.

...but I might be wrong...


#54 PaulG

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 03:12 PM

That garden space looks  so good, I want to

roll around in it   :rofl:

 

Not really, but I would love to work in it...


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#55 DWB

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 09:54 PM

After another 5" inches of rain this week, I had to start filling bales. It's a good thing I have a metric shit ton of the composting hay and more loads to haul when I want them because I'm gonna use a lot of material before it's all over. I used 10 of those wheelbarrow loads to fill in the sinkholes and canyons in the row on the left.

 

I can see where this is going now. I'm gonna have to fill and re-fill until planting time and I'm afraid it may become too rich, too quickly. This bale filler material is very heavy and dense and will become more so as it integrates and crushes down into the bales as it all decomposes. I wonder if I should start throwing some topsoil on there to help it become a little less rich. I do have a decent sized pile of really sandy topsoil about 100 yards away that was scraped off to improve some drainage.

 

Any advice on adding some dirt or pine straw to the bale filler? Should I be all concerned about my growing media becoming pure compost too quickly

 

 

 

 

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Edited by DWB, 06 January 2019 - 06:48 AM.


#56 MarcV

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 05:13 AM

Rain? All I see is blue sky! :D


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...but I might be wrong...


#57 DWB

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 07:50 AM

The past week was the type of week when we don't remember the last time we saw the sun. We had to run the AC all week to keep the humidity down in the house. Several times the drainage swale you see to the left of the fence was full of water.



#58 PaulG

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 10:23 PM

Sorry, can't help you with your soil question, DW. 

 

I'm just enjoying watching the garden space develop!


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#59 DWB

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

Thankis Paul. For now I've decided to add shredded oak leaves over the composting hay. I figure it's lighter so it should filter down and won't compost as quickly. I'll hold off on pine straw and topsoil for now.

 

I was planning on composting this pile of shreds but the way I have it figured, by the time I really need actual compost for this area next year, I'll have so much finished compost I'll be able to cover it a foot deep. I'll shred up more leaves and haul out there for bale filler. I imagine it should be a milder form of growing media.

 

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Shredding leaves is an easy deal. I rigged up this shredder attachment for the Kubota mower many years ago. I made it from a mudflap, an antique CB radio antenna bracket and some spare hardware from a junk bin. Quick to change and works like a champ. Turns mountains of oak leaves into nice mulch in minutes.

 

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#60 CDNmatt

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:04 AM

Love checking in on this  DWB...and not just cause your hay bale garden is cool but I love how you are using anything you can find on your own land or area to make it work and putting the work and sweat into it. I try and do much of the same ..Your property is Goooooooooorgeous btw.

 

Keep up the great work sir!!


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