Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Posts Tagged ‘Bonnaroo’

Building a straw bale garden

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

straw bales beginning

We learned at last year’s Bonnaroo gardening workshop that straw bale gardens are a simple alternative to raised beds. You can place them right on top of any poor soil you may have or – even better – on top of some grass you’re aiming to kill off. Some things to know:

  • Straw is different from hay – Straw bales are made of the dried stalks of grain plants, hay bales are made from cut grasses that still have seed and grain (a nutrient source for horses and livestock) attached. You only want to use straw bales as a growing medium, not hay. Rice, wheat and barley straw is ideal for drainage, but fescue and rye are ok, too.
  • Be sure that the straw has not been treated with anything you wouldn’t want your food growing in and that will not deter the growth of vegetation (herbicides).
  • Straw bales should come bound with rope or twine – this is a good thing. Do not cut off the binding on your bales, it will (as they say) keep it together.

To get started:

  • Lay out a tarp that is a little bit bigger than the straw bales’ footprint and place the bales on top – so that the twine runs parallel to the ground. The tarp makes the soaking process most effective.
  • Soak the bales using a slow stream of water from a hose. This can take a while.
  • Once the bales are moistened, fork in lime (1 pound per bale) and fertilize with a manure or compost tea. The fertilizer will ensure that the bale will really cook.
  • If you’re worried about critters, lay the bales on top of gardening cloth or a layer of poultry fencing.
  • If after about 3-5 days, the bale does not reach an internal temperature of 100 degrees F, add a bit more fertilizer and re-check after three days. You can find a good soil thermometer for under $10 at your favorite garden centers and online.
  • Now you’re ready to plant! Pour about four inches of soil on top of the bale, then create a hole in the soil and the bale for your starter plants. Any vegetable will grow well in straw bales, but stay away from anything that grows too high and may topple over the whole arrangement. Lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and peppers are big favorites with straw bale gardeners.
  • Water frequently and weed as necessary. Watch out for slugs as this is moist luxury condo living for them.
  • You can re-use the same bale for subsequent plantings (be sure to fertilize each time) and, once you think you’ve grown all you can in it, compost it for future soil.

Straw bales with growth

Joel Karsten’s book “Straw Bale Gardening” is a downloadable pdf that can be found here. The web site is packed with great information and there is a calendar of workshops for interested Minnesotans, too.

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons on Flickr user RuTemple

The Bonnaroo Garden and gardening workshop

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Our friends Sarah Ninah and Tom Sabo lead a gardening workshop in Planet Roo this morning using their Bonnaroo victory garden as a model The compost that was produced from last year’s plates, utensils, corn cups and food scraps is now feeding Bonnaroo veggies!

Buzz Ferver, also seen in the video, is the most passionate compost advocate we’ve ever met – and a cool guy all around. He taught folks how to make their own high-powered compost. The enthusiasm and interest from people was incredible – thanks!

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“In Food We Trust” photo essay – Win Bonnaroo 2009 tix!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

If you’re looking for a fun time this June, Bonnaroo is it! We’ll be there talking to folks about living HOMEGROWN, sharing skills and getting our hands dirty – join us! Here are the details on how you can WIN TWO TICKETS TO BONNAROO:

In a series of six (6) photos or fewer, show us:

How are you eating differently these days and how are you connecting to the sources of your food? For example: Are you growing some of your own food? What are you growing and how? Do you know your farmer? What does he/she look like?

Those photos will be judged on content, composition and creativity, but also on how you show us: how does knowing the sources of your food feel?

WIN: Winners will receive two four-day passes to The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2009, happening June 11-14, 2009. All expenses to get to Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN are your own and not the responsibility of HOMEGROWN or FARM AID.

HOW TO ENTER: Join the “In Food We Trust” group at Flickr, then upload your photos – be sure to tag them “HOMEGROWNdotorg” and “Bonnaroo2009”. Contestants may only enter the contest once (one set of six photos), so choose your photos carefully. You may, in 100 words or fewer, help describe your photos and reasons for choosing them.

CONTEST DEADLINE: Thursday May 14th 2009 at 11:59pm ET
WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Monday May 18th 2009

Judges include:
Dale Dougherty, Editor and Publisher, Make Media
Cornelia Hoskin, HOMEGROWN Shepherdess
Adriana Martinez, Anarchy In The Garden
Gayla Trail of YouGrowGirl
Nick Zammuto of the band The Books

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