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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I had similar concerns about the drought in my area and watering.
I wonder if areas that have opposite -- too much rain during growing season --might be more suited.


Another concern was that typical instructions involved high number chemical fertilizers, though I did wonder if a layer of manure might be substituted.

I think hay bales with higher nutrition levels might show different results?

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Straw is what is left of the wheat plant after the combine harvests the grain. Unfortunately, a machine has never been designed that will capture all of the grain, so straw does contain some wheat seed. That is why your bales turned green.

Straw is an excellent mulch, or a good soil amendment when tilled in and let decompose in the soil. Yes, you may get some wheat sprouts and perhaps some weed seed with it, but you take that chance when you bring in organic matter from anywhere. I think straw is a good bargain for the gardener. When you cut the strings on those bales they just explode. There is a lot of organic matter compressed in that bale.

Around here most of the farmers have taken to using those big bales that they move with a tractor. I don't see many of the small "man-sized" bales any more.

Straw, as you learned, doesn't have much plant nutrition in it, and it is a poor animal feed too, so its main use is for bedding of animals. You will often find a lot of straw mixed with manure if the farmer uses straw for bedding. As with all plant matter, before straw can be utilized by the plants for nutrition, it must decompose. Use it for mulch or put it on in the fall and till it in.

Good experiment Tedlin.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

dustyrivergardens
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I line my chicken coop with straw then I rake it out and then compost it. works great

DoubleDogFarm
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Thanks for the reply Ted.

What if you placed the bales in a trough and occasionally added compost tea. Do you think the bales would wick?

I would probably not try this, plenty of in ground space.

Eric

DeborahL
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The Tumbling Tom photo is my favorite. Nice idea planting them together !
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

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