Monday, May 16, 2011

Preparing the Bales for Planting

Dizzy had asked me, in another blog post of mine, what additional 
nutrients the bales needed for a healthy garden.

... well ...
not much, really.

The bales will take care of themselves, and generate their own nutrients,
if left alone for a long enough period of time
before planting within them.

Most people were raised in this "instant-gratification" world
... including myself, despite the fact I still don't have a microwave ...
and, so, we want to speed things up a bit.

During my research, I kept reading over and over how the bales
would require an extended treatment plan with fertilizer,
to hurry things along,
and I also learned how important water was
to kick-start decomposition within the center of the bales
so as not to "burn" the tender plants and seedlings after planting.

Thankfully, this has been a very wet Spring here in Alton, MO
and we have received lots and lots of rain 
... so much so, that the bales were able to get thoroughly soaked.

Straw is almost pure carbon but, as in all decaying processes,
the carbon is still able to convert into various
beneficial nutrients during decomposition.

According to my composting expert friend,
common sense tells us
we would need to add nitrogen
to "knock the process up" a level or two
in this carbonated situation.

The extensive fertilizer treatment I kept reading about
during my straw bale gardening research
was for speeding up the process of producing microbes, and rot,
by using ammonium nitrate on the top of each bale ...
because it is high in nitrogen, and because it encourages
and feeds the microbes which rot the straw
so plants can grow.

Or ...

(assuming I might have a difficult time finding the "bomb-making" stuff)

 ... I could just buy a good, big bag of
synthetic chemicals
with the critical NPK fertilizing ratio.

N for nitrogen
which is important for stem and leaf development.

P for phosphorous
which aids root development, as well as flower and fruit production.

K for potassium
which provides for general overall plant health, and disease-resistance.

It all sounded so complicated to me, and
I wanted this to be a fun adventure
... daring, even ...
oh, and as cheap as possible, too.

But, the fact remained, I needed a compost activator
... and a nutrient booster ...
if I wanted my unique gardening experiment
to have the best chance for thriving.


while my bales "cooked" and "soaked" during
the thirteen-day WET waiting period
... and, thus, began their internal decomposition process naturally ...
I generously added this.

I poured it directly on top of the bales
every chance I got.

Every chance I got
... meaning ...
whenever I had a batch ready and a car wasn't coming, or
whenever I had a batch ready and there wasn't a heavy downpour.

But, I digress.

This stuff 
is the fastest-acting
most excellent and natural source
of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium 
(even some beneficial trace elements, too)
there is.

In fact, not only is it chock-full of 
all the good stuff plants need to thrive ...
it is also in just the right form
for plants to drink it up.
It's a garden's liquid gold, it is.

Invaluable. Priceless.

And, not only is it a bit on the daring side but, amazingly, 
I also "just so happen" to have access to an abundant, unlimited supply. 

Oh, and cheap? 
... pfft, shoot ...
the dadgum stuff is free.
And, and, AND
... despite the understandable "gag-me-with-a-spoon" reaction ...
it is practically in perfect condition, upon acquiring, and
... get this ...
it's organic, and pure, and sterile, too!

Here is a bale, on Day #7, WITH IT  ...

... and here is a bale, on Day #7, WITHOUT IT.


  1. MC - what is "IT"? I'm guessing (the gagging bit helped) but I'm not sure...

  2. Oh dear ... uh-oh.

    You're gonna make me say it, aren't you ... LOL.

    It is urine.

    But, ssshhhh, don't tell anybody.


  3. It looks like it was Bud Lite in its past life. That was the longest written excuse for peeing in a bottle I've ever read.

  4. Verrrrry interesting! I see you're getting your B vitamins....very important to overall health. Can't wait to see what your garden bears. And what delicious meals you prepare with them. Thanks for keeping us posted w/pictures. Regards, AV

  5. LOL - reckoned it was. The colour was also a give away!

    Brilliant idea - thank you so very much :-)

  6. Where my dogs go, it kills the grass.

  7. Y'all made me smile real big ... thank you ... so good to be back, and see everyone come back out of the shadows :)

  8. I'm using my neighbors 5 year old humanure and I read the "Humanure" book. Just will take a few seconds here to wrap my brain around peeing on my tomatoes!

  9. There is just nothing like peeing in a bottle and posting a picture of it on the internet, to find out who your friends are:)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...