The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Straw Bale Gardening and More

Putting up a frame violates my Maynard G. Krebs directive - no extra work.
Some like to work with tools and build such things.

Straw Bale Gardening

Straw Bale gardening meets my two criteria for outside projects. One - is it less work for the same results (as Maynard G. Krebs would ask)? Two - is it based on Creation principles or the German chemical industry?

Here are some additional links:

How to build a straw bale garden.

How to condition and plant a straw bale garden.

No dig - vegetable garden.

That should be enough information. Straw is composed of the stems of wheat, and it is probably weed free. Straw will decompose and feed the plants.

Simple steps:

  • Buy some bales for about $6 each at a hardware or farm store.
  • Put newspapers beneath them to suppress grass and other weeds that might grow into the bales. 
  • Newspapers are great sponges for holding water, and they feed earthworms and soil creatures.
  • Place the bales narrow side up, where the side has that soda straw look.
  • Water the bales first, then wait two weeks for decomposition heat to fade away.

Benefits of straw bales:

  1. They create a raised bed garden without a ton of building, lifting, and soil moving.
  2. Bales let potatoes grow without being caked with clingy clay soil or any soil.
  3. Straw keeps strawberries off the ground and away from hungry ants.
  4. Plants can be grown free of inorganic fertilizer, using the straw as compost.


Any raised area for gardening (even a little hill) will need more water, but it will also be drained better. I use the finger test - is growing medium damp like a diaper? That is good. Roots will grow down, looking for water, and the leaves will give away their need for water. Soaker hoses are good for straw bales, but do not put the bales against wood, where the rotting of wood will be promoted.

Yesterday's Follies
Our helper came by to plant peas and other delights. I pointed out our fall project--hardy bulbs--was already paying off. The first daffodil plant stuck the tip of one leaf above the soil level. I expect giant aliums, tulips, and crown imperials.

We planted another large packet of edible pod pea seeds, in the mulch along the fence. below the aerial aqueduct. I watered them, to promote early growth and give the starlings a free shower. When I went inside, the starlings were having a riot, eating sunflower seed, snacking on suet, and bathing.

We joked about how sick of peas we would be at the end of the season, just in time for growing beans and getting sick of them. But I will also learn which neighbors really like fresh peas and beans.

We tried to string up the newest solar lights, which are easily put in a bush (small string) or horizontally along a fence (long string). I wanted to go up the dead tree, which did not go well. The string broke, but it can be rewired.

We began a new row in the corn patch, to grow some things before the corn is planted. I had beets, lettuce, and some other cool weather crops, so we tried that out.

Burpee said I could order, free shipping, any amount, so I decided order for more carrots. The server jammed and gave me an error message, so I started over. I ended up with two thank-you emails for two orders. The amount of seed cannot be disclosed here, but I will be sharing seeds with our helper, who is starting his own garden with his children and wife. OK, my new order amounted to 9,000 seeds. Paul said "sow in abundance, reap in abundance."

I plan on putting carrots along the margin of many other patches, such as long the fence, among the peas, and anywhere else.

When the last of winter is over, at the end of February, we will have spinach growing merrily and garlic bulbs getting ready to harvest. Lots and lots of garlic bulbs.

March is also when I will plant the new roses and prune the old ones. That will be great fun, because no other plant produces so much in such a short time. No one gets sick of roses, except professional gardeners. I heard one moan and complain about how much he hated them. He meant the scratches and pruning and bad stuff. Roses are not bushes full of thorns. They are thorn bushes that bloom with beautiful, fragrant flowers.