Straw Bale Gardening ~ South Carolina, Orangeburg County
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read indicates that this method of gardening is used primarily for vegetables.
It takes about 10 days to prepare your bales for planting. The first 3 days water the bales thoroughly and keep them wet. Days 4-6, sprinkle the bales with cup of ammonium nitrate (32-0-0) per bale, per day and water bales well so they will absorb the nitrate. Days 7-9, cut the ammonium ni-trate to cup per day. Day 10, stop the nitrate, but add 1 cup of 10-10-10 per bale. Again, water well. Day 11, planting day! Late in the afternoon transplant young vegetable plants into the hay cut-ting out a hole about 6 inches across and 8 inches deep. Place each plant in the hole, filling the hole with good gardening soil and potting soil. Water well and let sit for a few hours. You may need to add some additional soil at this time.
You may plant several plants in each bale depending on the growth pattern of the vegetable (or flower). It seems that peppers and squash may be ideal candidates for the bale garden. However, the planting of tomatoes, cucumbers
Publication of Orangeburg County Master Gardeners
AS THE GARDEN GROWS Nov. - Dec. 2011
Nov. 18 10:00 AM SC Botanical Garden Winter Vegetable Gardening Workshop
Dec. 2 Arbor Day
Dec. 6 12:00 PM
Christmas party for MGs
Zane Lakes home
Feb 8, 2012
Master Gardener class begins
Herb BradleyHerb BradleyHerb BradleyHerb Bradley
Calendar & Volunteer Opp.
trailing down the side of bales, and melons are also suggested. The best way to water is with a soaker hose, placing the hose on top of the bale. You cannot water too much for the water drains well through the bale. Arrange bales however it is best for you. One of the joys of straw bale gardening for more experienced gardeners is that it is easier on the back.
If the bales start to sprout wheat or oat straw, dont worry. If the grass bothers you, just whack it off with a knife or scissors. It does not take much time.
Cant wait to hear from you about your successes with straw bale gardening. Want to share some of the fruits of your labor?
Bess HillBess HillBess HillBess Hill
Winter is a great time to read and research ideas for your 2012 garden. Earlier this year a high school class-mate of mine, Porter Kinard of Colum-bia and his wife, the former Mimi Speth of Orangeburg, were guests at our steak club. As any of us would do, we talked about old friends and the conversation got to discussing present interests. In talking with Porter, I men-tioned to him how much I was enjoying being a Master Gardener. Much to my surprise, he asked if I had tried straw gardening. Long story made short, Porter mailed me some info on this concept and I have become very inter-ested in exploring the idea. Thus, I have been researching the concept and am anxious to try it next spring.
Research indicates that the best straw bales for gardening are wheat, oats, rye or barley straw. Straw bales are better than hay bales. You may want to buy several straw bales. How many you pick really depends on how big you want your bale garden to be. A bale is usually 2 feet by 3 or 4 feet in size. Remember, dont confuse straw bale gardening with using loose straw in your garden for mulch or compost. In this concept, we are talking about using the entire bale tied with twine and planting plants in the top. The bale is the garden! Most of what I have
In My Window Christmas cacti blooming next to my faux Christmas tree. In the Spring I repotted them and put them on the shady porch. They bloomed again.
At the Beach... ...And at Home...
You might wonder what this has to do with Christmas. Hard to believe but it was a four foot Christmas tree in our front box window not so many years ago. Several years later it dawned on me that if we kept using live trees, we would run out of space. As much as it doesnt suit me, our window tree now comes out of the attic every year and we have a fresh cut Leyland cypress in the den. (They do come back out from the roots)
Helleborus niger Christmas rose blooming at Christmas
and for months after.
Page 2 AS THE GARDEN GROWS
Morgans Morgans Morgans Morgans PerspectivePerspectivePerspectivePerspective
Its hard to believe another
year has almost come and
gone! Im very proud of the
work you as Master Garden-
ers have completed and par-
taken in this year and I hope
to see this continue in 2012.
I am planning another Master
Gardener class to begin in
February so please help
spread the word. Hopefully,
with your help, we can con-
tinue to grow the MG pro-
gram in Orangeburg County.
I hope everyone has a safe
and happy holiday season
and I look forward to what the
new year has in store!
Our holiday celebrations wouldnt be
complete without including beautiful
bulbs in our live flower decorations.
Paperwhites are the stars of many
arrangements, but as they emerge
from the bulb, how do you keep them
from falling over? The problem with
paperwhites is they grow quite tall &
their weight is at the top. Research-
ers in the Flowerbulb Research Pro-
gram at Cornell University have come
up with an unusual solution to this top
heavy problem... Alcohol!
When paperwhite bulbs are grown in a dilute solution of alco-
hol, the plants reach a height of 1/3 to 1/2 of their expected
growth, but the flowers remain normal size & last just as long.
Here is the suggested plan to stunt paperwhites with alcohol:
Plant your bulbs in stones & water as you normally would.
Once the roots begin growing & the green shoot on top
reaches 1-2, pour off the existing water. Replace the water
with a solution of 4-6% alcohol, as described below. Con-
tinue to use the alcohol solution for future waterings.
How to make the alcohol watering so-
lution: The alcohol content needs to
be less than 10% or your plants will
overdose and severe growth problems
will occur. You can use any liquor or
rubbing alcohol. Do not use beer or
wine because they are too high in
sugar. Check the bottle for percentage
of alcohol. Many liquors are only la-
beled as proof, not % of alcohol. To determine %, divide the proof
in half. ( 80 proof is 40% alcohol.) Use the chart below to convert
existing alcohol to a 5% solution for watering.
10% alcohol use 1 part water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
15% alcohol use 2 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
20% alcohol use 3 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
25% alcohol use 4 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
30% alcohol use 5 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
35% alcohol use 6 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
40% alcohol use 7 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
The December meeting is scheduled for
Zane Lakes house
77 Country Lane
St Matthews, SC
Everyone is asked to bring some sort of
finger food or dessert. Zane hosted a party
last year for her class, and this year has
opened the invitation to include all
Orangeburg Master Gardeners! Please put
the date on your calendar. Detailed
direction will be sent out by email.
Gail BoltGail BoltGail BoltGail Bolt
garden that fits your time and budget . The second section, Making the Least of Garden Care, tells how to install your lawn and garden, then how to save time and effort when caring for them. Sec-tion three, Picking Unpicky Plants, is a gallery of easy-care plants for weekend gardeners. It contains descriptions and growing guidelines for scads of weekend-worthy plants, including trees, shrubs, vegetables, herbs, perennials, an-nuals, bulbs and ornamental grasses. In the fourth section, Easy Projects for the Weekend Gardener, youll find garden pro-jects that you can finish in a week-end-or even a few hours. Projects include window boxes, trellises, pathways, compost bins, a patio
While many of us are planning fes-tive activities for the holidays and looking forward to decorating with Christmas cactus, poinsettias, nar-cissus, amaryllis, sprigs of ever-greens, Thanksgiving wreaths and Christmas trees, its also a time for planning for next years spring and summer gardens. Erin Hynes gives one all the tips and tricks that are needed to create a low-maintenance garden thats not only easy to care for, but a snap to maintain. Its the perfect book for busy people who have only a few hours or the weekend to tend to gar-den chores. Rodales Weekend Gardener is di-vided into four sections. The first section, Creating Your Weekend Garden, helps you plan a yard and
makeover, a dry stream and more! So, try to enjoy your holidays, with a look toward spring and summer with ease of garden-ing! Can be found in the Oburg County Library, ISBN0-87596-803-1.
Page 3 AS THE GARDEN GROWS
PERENNIAL PLANT OF THE YEAR
Book Review by Sandra Whetsell
Amsonia hubrichtii, 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year
Pronounced am-SO-nee-ah hew-BRIK-tee-eye, this stand out carries the common names Arkansas blue star, Arkansas amsonia, thread-leaf blue star,