The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

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maxjohnson
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#21

Post: # 20009Unread post maxjohnson
Fri May 15, 2020 10:36 am

I will get some, but I wonder do it have to be fast release nitrogen only? Will slow release work? I'll probably get the fast release anyway.
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heirl00m
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#22

Post: # 20021Unread post heirl00m
Fri May 15, 2020 2:03 pm

maxjohnson wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:36 am
I will get some, but I wonder do it have to be fast release nitrogen only? Will slow release work? I'll probably get the fast release anyway.
Quick release is what you want. 28-0-0 or something similar. The cheap stuff is actually preferable, as you don't want anything extra in there that a premium lawn fertilizer may have, like crabgrass preventer.

EDIT: you can also supplement with pee, as @rossomendblot mentioned in their post below!
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Last edited by heirl00m on Sat May 16, 2020 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#23

Post: # 20028Unread post rossomendblot
Fri May 15, 2020 4:07 pm

We got some old bales for free from the local horse stable so will be trying straw bale gardening this year. Unfortunately by the time I got around to conditioning them, all the garden stores had closed, my preferred online stores were closed or struggling to fulfill orders and independent sellers had ramped their prices up massively. This means I couldn't get anything like ammonium sulphate or urea, so had to use what we already had which was a mixture of chicken manure pellets, fish & blood meal, soluble 18-18-18, prilled 15-9-20 and *ahem* lots of urine. Hopefully it works!

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heirl00m
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#24

Post: # 20079Unread post heirl00m
Sat May 16, 2020 8:02 am

rossomendblot wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 4:07 pm
We got some old bales for free from the local horse stable so will be trying straw bale gardening this year. Unfortunately by the time I got around to conditioning them, all the garden stores had closed, my preferred online stores were closed or struggling to fulfill orders and independent sellers had ramped their prices up massively. This means I couldn't get anything like ammonium sulphate or urea, so had to use what we already had which was a mixture of chicken manure pellets, fish & blood meal, soluble 18-18-18, prilled 15-9-20 and *ahem* lots of urine. Hopefully it works!
I think you'll be in good shape! Organic fertilizers won't be as fast as the NH4SO4 or urea, but they'll get you there in the end. Ultimately, the bale temperature will dictate to you when it's ready to be planted. I think that the nitrogen in urine alone is enough to trigger the process, and the heat helps to catalyze the process during the cool spring days :)
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We have liftoff!

#25

Post: # 20241Unread post heirl00m
Mon May 18, 2020 10:48 am

Welp, here goes nothing. Let the fretting and obsessing begin! 16 transplants yesterday, 5 days earlier than last season. 5 remaining plants are going in grow bags around the yard. Root dip with BiotaMax and Myco Grow--couldn't find any cheap Actinovate. Watered with kelp extract at the end.
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Wispy Anna Russian
Wispy Anna Russian
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Sugar snaps taking off!
Sugar snaps taking off!
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The 2 buckets are blueberry bushes that haven't found a permanent home yet.
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#26

Post: # 20264Unread post PlainJane
Mon May 18, 2020 7:24 pm

Wow, looking really good @heirl00m !
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#27

Post: # 20334Unread post GoDawgs
Tue May 19, 2020 4:23 pm

Grow, little plants, grow! :D
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#28

Post: # 20350Unread post MissS
Tue May 19, 2020 7:07 pm

This is exciting. I am so glad that you are giving us the opportunity to watch this happen.
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Introducing this year's contestants!

#29

Post: # 20713Unread post heirl00m
Mon May 25, 2020 12:19 pm

Anna Russian
Anna Russian
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Prudens Purple
Prudens Purple
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Neves Azorean Red
Neves Azorean Red
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Brandywine Sudduth
Brandywine Sudduth
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Aunt Ginny's Purple
Aunt Ginny's Purple
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Cherokee Purple
Cherokee Purple
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Momotaro
Momotaro
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More 2020 contestants!

#30

Post: # 20714Unread post heirl00m
Mon May 25, 2020 12:29 pm

Eva Purple Ball
Eva Purple Ball
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Marianna's Peace
Marianna's Peace
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Big Beef
Big Beef
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Rebel Yell
Rebel Yell
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Brandywine Cowlick's
Brandywine Cowlick's
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Stump of the world
Stump of the world
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Dester
Dester
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Aunt Gertie's Gold
Aunt Gertie's Gold
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#31

Post: # 20835Unread post arnorrian
Wed May 27, 2020 12:49 pm

Nice plants.
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#32

Post: # 20837Unread post Whwoz
Wed May 27, 2020 12:53 pm

Beautiful photos of some very nice looking plants. Photos really show how well it is progressing for you, thank you for posting them
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Rainy morning

#33

Post: # 20974Unread post heirl00m
Fri May 29, 2020 10:09 am

Brandywine Sudduth with mushroom guards
Brandywine Sudduth with mushroom guards
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Prudens Purple flying upward
Prudens Purple flying upward
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#34

Post: # 21004Unread post PlainJane
Fri May 29, 2020 9:08 pm

Tomatoes look really happy with their growing conditions. Excellent start to the season!
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An unusual pest

#35

Post: # 21388Unread post heirl00m
Wed Jun 03, 2020 3:07 pm

Introducing the clavate tortoise beetle.
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I thought it was a bird turd!
I thought it was a bird turd!
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https://extension.umaine.edu/home-and-g ... e-beetles/
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#36

Post: # 21453Unread post Whwoz
Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:42 am

Magnificent photos of that unusual little critter
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#37

Post: # 21457Unread post worth1
Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:23 am

I never even considered fire ants.
The very thought of a fire ant hotel is enough for me not to attempt it.
Last time I bought hay it was weed hay full of grass burrs.
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#38

Post: # 21516Unread post MissS
Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:12 pm

Thanks for the information on the Tortoise Beetles. This is the first that I have ever heard of them.

What, if anything, do you feed your tomato plants while they are growing in the straw bales?
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#39

Post: # 21538Unread post Gardadore
Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:08 pm

Always wondered what those insects were called. Have had them for only a few years but must really keep an eye out and destroy them. Love eggplant leaves as well as tomatoes.
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Re: The 2020 Straw Bale Tomato Experience!

#40

Post: # 21586Unread post heirl00m
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:50 am

MissS wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:12 pm
Thanks for the information on the Tortoise Beetles. This is the first that I have ever heard of them.

What, if anything, do you feed your tomato plants while they are growing in the straw bales?
Oh, I feed. The prevailing school of thought treats the bales as modified hydroponic media, because the auto-digestion of the bale doesn't provide a spectrum of macro/micronutrients. To that end, the potting mix that encircles each root ball within the bale has Tomato-tone and Mykos mycorrhizae mixed in at planting. Then I water them on Wednesdays and Saturdays with Urban Farms Vegetable Fertilizer (their baseline watering is via drip irrigation every day at 6 a.m., for roughly a gallon of water per bale). Over the past week, as plants have begun to show fertilized blossoms, I switch over to TTF. I also added just a trace of Epsom Salts during my last fertilizing.

I'll have some new pics later today. Big Beef, Sungold, Eva Purple Ball and Cherokee Purple all have fruit! Cowlick's, Anna Russian, and Prudens are very close behind.
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