Friday, April 4, 2014

Bales and bales and still no veggies.....yet......

As you may or mayn't (I just love using that word) know that the Cuckoos of the Casa are using a different kind of gardening style this year. We are planting our vegetables and some flowers in straw bales. The are above ground making it easy for me to tend because since my knee replacement surgery, I haven't been able to get down and dirty, or get on my knees to weed either.

I saw this gardening technique on many different variations and went to a class on straw bale gardening here at one of our gardening clubs. I was hooked. But last year, there just didn't seem to be the time or opportunity so we planned for this spring. Actually Shelley and I planned it and Sweet Man hoped against hope that we would forget our plan. But alas, he lost. But he didn't have to lift any bales or put them where they were going so, he hasn't said much.

the ladder was to get the bales into the back yard
Shelley and her handy sidekick Ms. GK (who as you can see is taller than she) went after school to one of our favorite haunts in the north valley of Albuquerque. Dan's Boots and Saddles. There are many things to see there. Clothes, boots, tack, tools, farm equipment, all manner of pet needs and of course Cowboys. I didn't think that's what the girls were shopping for when they went to get the straw bales, but then what do I know. 

and yes, Ms. Shelley cleaned up the inside of the vehicle after this fun was had
There's something about a guy in slim cut jeans, boots, cowboy hat and a wide buckle that stirs something in a girls heart....or elsewhere. Anyway, GK the nerd girl went to help Mom unload when the shopping was done and was oblivious to the extras that the trip afforded looking at the baby chicks, finding a feed dispenser she wanted to buy and make a lamp (where in the hell did she get that crazy idea) until they were at the checkout counter where Shelley asked if they could get some help loading the bales. 

According to Shelley, there were several volunteers from the guys who had been checking out the nerd chick as she perused the clothes etc. and the ones who worked there as well. Needless to say when they went out to the SUV and GK saw all the help coming out towards them she said "well hello cowboys". Shelley said she almost split a gut with laughter. Of course nothing of import happened because when the tallest drink of water cowboy (who was all of about 21), asked Shelley how old her "little sister" was, gotta love a smooth talker, and found out she was  uh....13, the truck got loaded quickly and my girls enjoyed the eye candy and came home. And guess who was more than willing to go back the next day to get more bales? Both of them. 

we were just test flying how it would look and so were nosey and nosey Jr. (Jameson and Ellie Mae)
This will be the tomato, jalepeno and onion bed.....salsa, hot, hot
We're making the bed.....hahaha this weekend. I was going to paint the bed a different color but I think I like the chippy green, looks more garden bed like somehow. I also found a brass twin size head and foot board by the side of the road on garbage day.....nope couldn't let it die in the landfill soooooooo it will now reside in the front yard being a straw bale bed as well. I know it is proof positive that I have lost it. But now at least I'm shouting it to the whole world, if not the neighbors.

this is where we will plant muskmelon, beans, flowers and strawberries.
raspberries, blackberries to the right of the bales.
I have now treated the bales with nitrogen, watered them everyday and will dress them with topsoil and compost. I will continue to water in the soil everyday and by the end of week 2 we will be ready to plant. I started my seeds about a week ago inside. The decomp of the bales will make it warm enough in and near the bales to keep the little plantings safe during the chance of frost we have until end of April. And then I'm hoping for lots of opportunity to can and teach GK and Ry how really fun growing your own food can be. I ordered seed from some organic, heirloom seed companies and went to a garden club here and bought some heirlooms that grow well here. I'm hoping for yellow, purple, maroon and green tomatoes, black jalapenos, round zucchini, green bumpy pumpkins, white tiny pumpkins, pinto beans, black skinned watermelon, musk melons, yellow and white strawberries as well as red. We also are planting raspberries, blackberries and marionberries. Kinda iffy about them doing well but gonna try. We will be growing tomatoes and pumpkins in the front bed and cucumbers on trellises by the front entry gates. We're going all in people.

If this works as well as we are hoping, then next year we will plant corn on around the corner on the south side of the house next year. Can you tell I'm enthusiastic about this endeavor?

zuchinni, beans, husk tomatoes, flowers in this horseshoe.
the reason for the shape is for the easy of tending the bed and sun exposure
persian lilac, false quince, sunflower windmill and pomegranite.
and why yes we still have lots of pruning to do as well as fertilizing the grass
We had frost this morning so I'm hoping my white peach blossoms didn't freeze and I get at least a taste this year of the fruit. And last but not least is the ornamental plum tree we planted. I know, it says ornamental but I'm telling you they make the best sweet and sour plum jam in the world. Have been canning jam from them for more than 30 years. We usually go out the weekend closest to 4th of July and go to harvest at the business park not far from the Casa where they have about 20 trees. But I wanted to pass on the tradition by planting our own "fake plum" as Sweet Man calls it. The jam is Oma Linda's Plum Crazy and we treasure every last bite. 

So that's what's been happening here. Put on a coat and go out and get the garden ready.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for the craft supplies. Just click on the link button on the side of my blog.

Smooches and Squoozes, Oma Linda 


  1. I am so excited for your new garden! I have used straw for years as mulch and have heard of straw bale gardening for potatoes, but never an entire garden. How fun and interesting and I look forward to reading your experiences. One issue I've run into with my (Oregon) straw is that it *always* has some amount of seeds left over in it and with watering and such, these seeds *always* sprout, causing me to have to weed my garlic and other crops I was trying to suppress weeds around! On the flip side, though, the warmth the straw provides is amazing.
    Gosh, I do love talking "garden"!

  2. Cutie Cowgirls! Rock those Cowboys! Standing Ovation! Nicely done!!
    As for Hottie Mom, I'm in awe of this whole gardening, beds and food plan of yours!
    Can't wait to watch your garden grow! xoDebi

  3. OH MY!!! You all are gonna be REAL FARMERS.LOVE YOUR HAY BED!!! So many Yummy things will be popping up, and it will be great to see the "Before" and "After" photos. And I love the ornamental plum....Spring Fever is definitely catching. HAHHAHHAHAHHA..."Well Hello, Cowboys!"

  4. Damnit, I'm coming round for dinner, call me when it's all ready!

  5. Fascinating! I've never heard of this type of gardening before -- looking forward to reading of your progress throughout the growing season.

    And I bet those cowboys all touched their stetsons and said "Ma'am," didn't they?

  6. I will be eagerly awaiting the results of all this labor. It seems a wonderful idea especially with the environment you are dealing with.

    Your girls indeed look to be sisters. Or best buds which I suppose they are. Beautiful young women.

  7. My first try a this as well! Looking forward to hearing about yours, I only have 4 bales to start with.

  8. What about a nice guy packed into a pair of "Mr. Husky" jeans?

  9. You are just too clever with the "bed" look. What an ambitious project you have going. Can't wait to see how it goes. Hope the grands take to this way of producing dinner. It brings a lifetime of pleasure once hooked.

  10. Oma Linda, first I have to say, I am sorry I haven't wrote you back! I promise in the next couple of days ;o)
    I love this post! Made me smile big time ;o) I am so excited for the entire family! It's going to be so much fun! And, it's going to look so cool! Please take progress pictures ;o)
    I hope this brings much happiness to your heart!
    I started laughing about the cowboys! Last year, I went to our hardware store. I had been gardening, didn't look that great! I started joking around with the guy helping me! He was like 15 - 20 years younger than me. I said to him, you are making me blush, I feel like a cougar. He said, I don't mind! LOL! Seriously, I could have had a date that night! Shoot, I should have went for it! LOL!
    Love you, big hugs ;o) xoxoxox

  11. I'll be interested to see how it works out. I got my garden mostly in yesterday. What is that big purple bush, the persian lilac? that's gorgeous.

  12. This method interests did the cowboys!

  13. I will eagerly watch for progress reports. Raspberries and blackberries seem to flourish wherever they are planted, and are often spread and planted by birds, so I am sure you will have enough for jam. I am not familiar with Marionberries but found this fascinating fact: The Marionberry can produce up to six tons of fruit per acre. So I think you will have enough to create new crazy treats.

  14. Oh my goodness! First of all, I cannot believe GK has gotten that tall. When I first looked at that photo I thought for a moment that may be one of her friends standing next to her, and what a surprise that it was not! And Shelly looks amazing as well.

    I am so impressed with your garden plans. Girl, I have never heard of this before and it looks amazing. You know that "bed" is uniqely witchy! It reminds me of Practcal Magic for some reason. Must just be the feeling it invokes in me. Like perhaps under the full moon, you may be able to climb upon it and fly into the silver stars. ;-) Please keep us posted on your progress. Hugs and love to all, Mina

  15. I can't wait to see how this turns out. Don't you just love this time of year? Every gardener is full of optimism. You're like me--I love listing out all the wonderful plants I'm putting in. Yours sound just beautiful.


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