Tuesday, April 21, 2015

(3) Hay Bale Gardening - Planting

(Click HERE to link to Hay Bale post #1, and HERE for post #2)
 Todays unexpected cloud cover seemed like the perfect condition for planting.  Of course, knowing my impatience, I might have thought the same of a sunny day.  Nonetheless, I grabbed my big, long, kitchen knife (with an edge that will cut most anything) and the trowel and set happily to work.  Now I understand why some decomposition of the the hay is desirable...not only for the plant growth but for the ease of digging a little way into the bale.  And, by the way, it is easier to cut into the bale with the stalks parallel to the ground than it is into the ones with the stalks standing upright.
Between the knife, the trowel and my hands, the knife and my hands were by far the better combination.  I don't know that the trowel served any purpose at all.
Waddling out a hole deep enough to fully insert my fingers was just about perfect for planting
...though it did make for ugly finger tips.  I know, most people wear gloves but what a great excuse for a manicure.
Marigolds have never been one of my favorite flowers, for flowers sake, but I love them in the vegetable garden for their insect deterrent properties.  So, I loaded the bales down with the little yellow balls.
 (taught to me, long ago by an actual farmer, is this)
Before planting, pinch off all the side leaves, up to the cluster at the top, and plant the seedling deep enough to include the newly exposed stem. 
It seems that tomatoes will send off root shoots from the buried stem and produce a stronger plant...gotta love that.
After planting the lettuce, I trimmed whatever outer leaves were wilted or broken and added mulch to avoid further episodes of the leaves coming in contact with the soil.
So, that was pretty much it.  Lettuce, Red Bell Pepper, Bush Beans, Summer Squash, Eggplant and Tomatoes are all planted and cabbages will be added to the three bales as soon as I remember to buy them.  But I did get the little Weeping Willow in the ground and planted the Sweet Mint AND I have a tip for the Mint and/or any other invasive plants...
 Several years ago, I cut the bottoms from a couple of plastic planters and set the bottomless containers in the ground.  Originally, the edges stood a couple of inches above the surface of the garden soil but since I've added so much mulch, I'll have to keep an eye out for leaf shoots over-hanging the edges and trying to root.  But, the good thing is that the roots are contained and the Mint, as well as the Oregano, stay where they belong.

No comments: