Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hay Bale Gardening

I saw something on the internet about gardening in hay or straw bales. Since I had an old bale of hay sitting in the way (it was one that was to dirty and a bit moldy to feed to the horses) I decided to try this. Since the bale had been sitting out in the weather for about a year I didn't follow all the directions about putting a certain kind of fertilizer on the bale and watering it for a certain length of time. I did pour a couple of buckets of horse manure on the bale and watered I in well. As the bale seemed to be really tight so that water was getting in as well as I thought it should I cut the baling twine and pulled the flakes of hay apart so every thing was looser. I then put zucchini seeds on one end, cantaloupe seeds about a foot down from the zucchini, watermelon seeds next with cucumber seeds on the other end. Not expecting many if any of the seeds to come up I think I put way to many in. The first 2 photos show the plants as they were first coming up out of the hay.

The next 2 pics show the plants as they are getting bigger and just thinking about blooming.

This pic is from a side on view instead of from the end. On the other side of the fence you can see pots with the same plants growing in them. In these pots I put a little native sand, a little potting soil and a lot of loose hay. Except for the pot of zucchini these didn't do as well as the bale of hay.

 My first zucchini

Last 3 pics are of the pot of zucchini. It started producing at the same time as the hay bale. This goes to show you that an actual garden plot in the ground is not necessary. I am sorry to say that the cucumbers, and watermelon haven't done as well. Nothing ready to eat yet. But I do think our extreme heat may have had a lot to do with that. The 2 big pots of tomatoes that I didn't have pics of haven't done as well as they have in previous years either. If you garden and get a chance to try this -do so-. It has been an interesting little experiment. I have enough zucchini I am trying to give it away. I guess they will grow just about anywhere. Which makes me wonder why they cost so much in the store.

Summer Flowers

some of my summer flowers in a desert yard. These do take quite a bit of water and time to grow. First summer bulbs - peacock orchids, shell flowers and glads. I have one yellow lilly bulb that does great each year.

Morning glories, a zucchini blossom, some sedum (a succulent grown cover I grow in a pot). Lots of sunflowers. Note the bumblebee on one and a butterfly on the last pics.

Hoya Vines and Geraniums

Most of my houseplants have been blooming. Here are some of the better pics. First 3 are of my zonal geraniums.

these 3 pics are of my two Hoya vines. I do keep them in the house year round. There are lots of different Hoyas but I only have the two. One has a pale pick blossom, the other one is darker. They put on these clusters of half inch blossoms with dark centers. The leaves are heavy dark green. I would almost call these plants a succulent. They are a vine but do need help to stay around my curtain rods that they like to climb on since they make a nice hanging plant. I will warn you they do have a very strong perfume odor. Most people like it but I find it so strong that I can get a headache from it. The odor is stronger at night than in the day time. Sadly I do find my self cutting of these beautiful blossoms when the odor gets to bothering me to much. Some times I put them in a bowl of water and leave them outside for a few days so I can enjoy them longer. They do seem to make a good cut flower just on a short stem. Hoyas are easy to grow, not taking much care. I only water mine about every 2 weeks and I live in the desert. I would think in a high humidify climate you might could only water once a month. They do like bright light but don't need direct sun like we get here which is why I keep them in the house.
The geraniums seem to do better with the direct sunlight but need lots more water.

Martha Washington Geraniums

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