The Watershed Environment?
First thing you have to remember is you’ll be weeding straw from your lawn and Garden for ever…i.e. kiss the past hard work on the lawn bye-bye unless that’s taken care of in prep. Prep (conditioning) needs to be finished by May’s end.
Get wheat straw bales and the seeding problem is greatly reduced as they are freer of seeds. The soaking for days causes internal heating, so you want to make sure they cool down a few days before you plant. The heat also make the wheat seeds sterile.
Conventional Straw Bale Conditioning (Start April 30th)
1. Day 1. Soak bales and keep them saturated for 2 days
2. Day 3. Inundate the bales with Ammonium Super Nitrate and re-saturate thoroughly with water. Apply about a cup per 3 bales daily for 4 days
3. Day 7. Gradually reduce heavy nitrification for 3 days
4. Day 10. Add balanced in-organic fertilizer (N – 5 P – 5 K – 5) for next 3 days and continue watering.
5. Day 13. Let Bales cool for 4 days…no watering.
6. May 17th (MN) Plant you vegetable crop
Organic (Watershed) Version.
Skip nitrification, increase earth worm infested compost depth and perpetually add organic nutrients in precise amounts as determined by crop.
RRPI suggests rain harvest, storage and distribution through soaker hoses as the methodology for adequate water. The bales will dry out in summer month if in adequate.
A thorough straw bale planting of impervious surfaces (watershed banes) together with a rain harvest/rain garden will constitute excellent watershed management practice
Cukes, pepper, tomatoes, and all kinds of vegetables i.e. micro greens will be excellent. Sweet potatoes on the other hand will require boxes or raised beds. Northside sweet potatoes will grow in alternate garden space. Whatever you grow, keep the bale strings horizontal (so the straws are vertical)…This promotes promotes root growth in both directions.
Nitrogen (nitrites, nitrates, ammonia etc..) not good since you are in the Mississippi’s watershed. Straw though, after it’s dry and conditioned, has little nitrogen so I guess it depends on what additional nitrogen is utilised
As far as the gardening technique it is excellent for above ground i.e. flowers, peppers and tomatoes not potatoes. The aged straw become nutrient rich (esp phosphorous – good for flowering as well as strong stem and root propagation) as it composts. Nadelle, our horticulture teacher and green expert, promises we’ll have lots of worms wandering around underneath which in general very good for garden.