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Member Since 24 Jul 2016
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#1597020 Primo varieties, partially hydroponic grow

Posted by DWB on 07 December 2018 - 08:05 AM

I'm very interested in your grow. I'm starting many more plants than usual but my purpose is to have around 100 plants ready to hit the ground running when transplanted into the hay bale garden mid-March.


I have three small areas to work with. The smallest has fluorescent. A slightly larger area has a 1000W LED with switches for bloom, veg and both. It uses very little electricity. Only 125 with the veg lights and around 180 with all lights running. The largest area has a 1200W LED on a light mover.

#1595790 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 29 November 2018 - 07:55 PM

Our wet season is pretty well constant. We get 60-70 inches of rain per year. Probably well over 70" so far this year.


I'm becoming more confident this will work. The farmer who gave me this load of decomposing material told me he sells bales to a lady in the area who does bale gardens every year with amazing results. He sold her 700 bales last month for her next year garden.


I did get my 20,000 foot roll of twine a while back but haven't bound up my rows yet. I'm trying to rehab my way out of a double tap of elbow tendonitis. Never had anything like this before and it ain't fun. Maybe next week I'l start with unitizing the rows.



#1595779 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 29 November 2018 - 06:32 PM

This stuff was a beast to unload with a fork but the gooey, stringy yuck piled nice and tall. Ready to rot.



#1595340 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 27 November 2018 - 01:54 PM

Good stuff , just be careful , some sheep manure can be quite strong .

Should be great mixed with other compost and hay.


For now, I still have the same plans for this stuff as for dry mulch hay I thought I was getting even though this is a much richer amendment.


A left-handed benefit of all our hardwood trees is tons of leaves. Now that they're falling, I'm filling in the walkways with massive piles of leaves. Once they're all compacted down, I plan to use this stuff to fill in on top of the leaves and let it all continue composting.


But as nice as this stuff is, maybe I'll go get a load of loose loft hay from the farmer where I got the bales and use that for the mulching and leave this stuff piled to finish composting down into really good stuff.





#1595251 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 26 November 2018 - 09:14 PM

I picked up the first free load of "loose" hay yesterday. Much better than the mulch hay I was expecting.

Every time he stuck his bucket into the pile when loading me, a big cloud of steam escaped. And it was about 70°F. Old rotten hay with lots of sheep manure mixed in. Much of it is already nice compost but miserable material to unload with a fork. It's like a 5 ton brillo pad.





#1593170 ripening pods indoors (cut branches)

Posted by DWB on 13 November 2018 - 07:47 AM

i wonder if the water helps or not?


I've put branches like that in a pitcher of water, given them south window sun and changed the water once in a while. They grew leaves, flowers, tiny pods along with roots and were more than ready for planting in the spring.



#1592506 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 09 November 2018 - 06:52 PM

Anybody want to try some to see if they're the "right" kind?  :party:


If you break the stems and they turn blue/purple..... :high:   Well....from what I remember from college a few decades ago  :shh:


I don't know about all that but I hear if you have a horse around here, that's what you have. Supposedly the horse farmers have a hard time keeping the hippies out of their fields.

#1592503 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 09 November 2018 - 06:24 PM


Just an observation from my experience with growing in bales (very limited) 150 days until planting time is quite a bit. Those bales will continue to break down from now until planting time, even more so once planted and watered more regularly. You may come to find by mid season or even earlier depending on decomp rate, that those bales are "melting" and completely falling apart. Its natural for them to lose shape as times goes on, and in our long CA growing season it did become a challenge. Maintaining a viable planting medium could be difficult for a larger size pepper plant.


Again, just an observation from my own experience. I will be following along, good luck to you!



Thank you very much for sharing your experience and expertise.


This is something I'm anticipating to some degree but I'm hoping the bale system doesn't turn into a mound system before it's all done. I do plan on heaping large quantities of organic material onto and into the bales and the walkways as we go along. I'll be hauling in loads of (free) loose hay for this as well as to mix with manure, shredded leaves and nitrogen for compost. I may haul in some loads of official compost too.  Another pre-emptive measure I'm planning on is picking up a 20,000 ft. length of poly baling twine to wrap and strap the bales for integrity. That's why I laid the bales differently than usual. I want to "unitize" the bales into a chunk. Only $27 for the baling twine.


Bad part of all this is I may end up doing more work in the end than I would have done to build proper raised beds. More optimistically, I'll do the same type of garden again in 2020 but stagger the bale rows into the walkways for rotation. After doing two garden cycles like this, I should have a pretty decent little patch covered very deeply with very nice organic material. At least that's the plan.

#1592476 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 09 November 2018 - 04:34 PM

I fed the bales some more nitrogen the other day before our regularly scheduled 2" Thursday rain event. Yesterday was the third consecutive week we had the Thursday gullywasher. The horse manure is starting to melt down into the bales nicely.






We have several varieties of mushrooms growing from many areas on the bales. Anybody want to try some to see if they're the "right" kind? :party:




We burned a small firepile to make some wood ash Saturday before last. Not sure what I want to do with it. Still have the big pile to burn.






#1590611 What was the last spicy meal you cooked?

Posted by DWB on 30 October 2018 - 06:36 PM

I'm eating a bowl of mushroom soup I made this morning.


It's dirt simple to make. Mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt and butter. Carmelize to the max. Some reaper squeezins soaked into  my wooden blender spoon made it plenty spicy. Ummm, yeah, that spoon isn't supposed to be in the kitchen


Add some broth, half & half, pepper, thyme and more butter. Leave it on low to finish cooking and eat, eat and eat some more. And then it's gone until next time.

#1590095 Capsaicin vs. pain neurotransmitters - Calling all chile alchemists

Posted by DWB on 28 October 2018 - 11:08 AM

After a week and a half, I know the treatment is most certainly working. I'm pain free in the mornings, every morning. For the first time since April 17, 2004.


It holds up fairly well throughout the day but the pain will begin to come in later in the day. Nothing like usual but it's there. I reckon it's probably like going from 0 to 60 rather than starting at 60 and going to 240.


It doesn't hold up all that well if I work too hard like I did Saturday tending and feeding this 800 ft² fire pile all day. By dark, the pain level was up pretty good. For this day, my fitbit activity tracker gave me credit for 21,222 steps (10.6 miles), 371 active minutes and 290 minutes in the cardio zone. I'm thinking this job probably would have made me hurt 30 years ago too.





Interesting. After the fact and 20 months later I remembered one of my first after-treatment posts in this thread was the above description of a very similar task and how it effected me so I had a look back.


I burned another fire pile yesterday. It had a smaller footprint but caused me much more work because of many Virginia pines I had cut and dragged to the area but hadn't yet diced up to throw on the pile so I did a lot more work and a lot more fire feeding.


My fitbit confirmed I did a more work on this pile than previous pile with a similar 21,817 step (10.93 miles) workday total but with higher active minutes (410 vs 371) and more minutes in the cardio zone (418 vs 290).


Once again I was totally whooped when I finished work for the day and I hurt like hell. The big difference is there wasn't any notable pain in my back because the pain in my elbows, shoulders and feet was so much more impressive.


I suppose what this means 19 treatments later is the effect is cumulative and most definitely works. My back simply doesn't hurt like it used to before the capsaicin treatments.



#1588927 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 21 October 2018 - 10:18 PM

I think it will do nicely but will require a lot of water. The good part is well water is virtually free. The bad part is our pipe-eating >6.0 pH water must come from the pumphouse (at the distant arrow) while the much more convenient neutralized water (close arrow) is far too high for a pepper garden.




Oh well, when I ran the field pipes 20 years ago, I didn't know our water was so acidic so I just tied into that at the house feed. A couple years later I had to install the neutralizer tank to bring it up above 7.0 pH.



#1588904 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 21 October 2018 - 08:38 PM

We got the rest of the bales top dressed and added the first layer of mulchy stuff to the walkways today. Need to round up more mulch quicklike. It's still mowing season and I don't have a mower that fits through there.






My crew taking a break.










#1588451 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 20 October 2018 - 10:12 AM

Rather than the usual 12-15 day period allocated for bale conditioning, I have 120-150 days to work with. No big hurry but since we're supposed to have some rain coming in soon, I added a half cup of ammonium nitrate to each bale yesterday morning and started top dressing the bales with well aged horse pie from the field. It takes about 12 cf per row to dress the bales like this.



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#1588448 2019 Hay Bale Pepper Patch

Posted by DWB on 20 October 2018 - 10:04 AM

Wednesday, Cody and I went to Pensacola and picked up a load of last year's Pensacola Bahia bales for $1.85 each. Easy load. The farmer dropped them out of the loft on my trailer and I stacked them. The unload, stack and stage was a bit more work.


The bales are huge. Some are over 5' long. This made me revisit my layout a bit but wound up with 4 rows of 24 and one row of 12 that I'll fill in later. The walkways are 4' wide.

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