Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Frustration first: Straw bale gardening....then on to better things.

Its not the technique of Straw Bale Gardening at fault. Its the material sourcing apparently.  Where i live,  i'm smack in the middle of urban and rural.  If i want straw bales i have 2 choices. For cheap (ie. reasonable pricing) i'd have to drive over 40 miles - fuel costs would cancel out the reasonable price.  If i want local i can go to a pseudo "farm boutique" (as in, people who dress and have marriage ceremonies for their hobby animals & mean it) and pay about $10 a bale for their precious straw.  I know that straw should not cost that much. Anywhere from $3-$6 is reasonable,  unless you are a sucker, desperate (like i almost am) or have money to waste.

I don't need perfect, shiny (even certified organic isn't a requirement for me) straw. It can be older, even moldy and someone just wants to get rid of it. I'm going to be soaking it in liquid fertilizer and rotting it anyway. It needs a month to prep and i'm out of time at this point. So maybe this fall i can find someone who just wants to unload some.

Oh,  well.  not really angry, more like annoyed and wanting to just say so.

I think i have certainty of some first time blooming going on this year.

My female "Titan" sea buckthorn may actually be blooming. I got really worried earlier last spring because the male has bloomed for 2 years now - despite being much smaller (and younger) than the female. I was concerned that their bloom time was going to be way too far apart for them to be fertile partners. Searching for photos of blooming female sea buckthorns was extremely difficult but for another blog i follow Seaberry blog .
 and i asked the blogger in that post about it.  Going back to that post today i was able to find that Titan is in bloom and so is 'mister seabuck' (not an official title because it was sold as an unnamed male plant only,  i have no idea if this cultivar has a name or number at all.) Mister seabuck is almost past his bloom i think,  because the brown scales are falling to the ground and are littering a circle around his base.
The visible parts of female Sea Buckthorn flowers are quite hard to see and extremely challenging for amateur photographers to capture. After a lot of pics of blurry plant and crystal clear thumbs i took my fingers out of the way and circled the evidence.

In real life they look almost exactly like the pics on the  Seaberry blog i referenced above.  Here's the male. Hopefully he didn't finish too far ahead and any remaining pollen is still able to get where it needs to go.

Another blooming first.  This is one of the two Carmine Jewel cherry plants i bought in Spring 2012. It was actually the healthier of the two but i had to replant it during summer and then later it got broken by feral cats digging around and jumping on it,  then 5 feet or snow piled on top of it this winter....

But its got flower buds!

The one that started smaller but got more pampered and hasn't been bedeviled by all-sorts is easily 3 times its size.

Its a first-time bloomer too.

(more bad photography)

Last up is a nice bloom from a "Northeaster" strawberry plant that i added just a few weeks ago.  I'm told that i should pick off the flowers this year and avoid letting the plants produce berries. *stomps feet*  Do i really have to?

I'm almost ready for veggie gardening.  My dad ran the tiller through the soil 3 days ago but it rained since then and its too heavy for me to hill up today and i'm busy tomorrow. My plastic sheeting arrived today and so did my liquid fish fertilizer.

Got all of the current seedlings getting hardened off

I'm wicked late getting some things started. I still need to get the melons, cukes and summer & winter squashes started.  I also forgot to start Red Russian kale and almost totally forgot about the okra. I'm behind on some flower seedlings too.

Potatoes are pretty much ready. I'm trying German Butterball (front of pic) for the first time and going with Adirondack Blue once again.

I'm also trying leeks for the first time (off to the left).

This "King of the North" bell pepper wants to bloom already.  If it stays warm i may be able to plant the more tender things in about 10-14 more days.

Well,  there's something else in full bloom today and its making my eyelids stick together.  So,  that will be it for now.


Eggs In My Pocket said...

Your tilled garden looks wonderful as well as the things you have chosen to plant/ I cant wait to see how it all grows for you. Hay and straw is pricey here as well. I buy it for my chickens nests... So enjoyed your post . Hope this finds you safe from all of the storms.

icebear said...

I can understand pricey straw if it is pristene-clean and for bedding beloved or valuable critterlings, i'm just so annoyed that i can't seem to find some grade C stuff for my basic purposes. eh, i'll keep looking :)

I just love the sight of fresh turned soil and the earthy fragrance.
Thanks for the good wishes and for stopping by <3

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Do you have a Tractor Supply store in your area? Usually the ordinary feed stores have different grades .........but so much has changed. Even the nurseries. They are so expensive this year charging $2 for a single plant and not having any 6 pack plants. I have started buying quality flower seed packs because it saves a lot of money.

icebear said...

We do have a Tractor Supply in my area but our local one does not carry straw bales. I'm just going to keep my eyes open this summer and watch for any deals i might find even if its only a few bales at a time. i could always put them in a stack with a tarp over them until i'm ready for them.
One of my gardening goals that i finally reached was to grow everything possible from seeds, the next step will be to grow it from my own saved seeds. I lacked planning and follow-through for that in previous years.
Seedlings are getting crazy expensive and i've mentioned my sticker shock when browsing other seed catalogs beyond my favorite (Pinetree). I did pay $5 for a pack of Supersauce hybrid tomatoes from Burpee this year, but i got free shipping- so i accepted that deal. :)