Poly tent covers help to hold in the heat early in the season when the bales are “conditioning” they give off tons of heat like a natural furnace underneath. It is the bacteria that are doing the decomposition that create the heat as a naturally occurring phenomenon of the process. People often see a freshly stirred up compost pile will steam for a couple of days when new organic matter is added, this is another example of the heat generated by the actively consuming bacteria munching away on the freshly introduced organic matter. The little seedlings and transplants love the warm root zone created by this process inside the bales, and the new growth loves the cooler temperatures of the early season. The combination causes very rapid root development and plant growth. The poly tent covers allow much earlier planting (2-4 weeks depending on weather). This natural heat from the bales is one reason folks in the far north, Canada, Alaska, and in the Arctic circle love the Straw Bale Gardening method. They don’t have to wait for June when the soil normally thaws to plant.
This is an image sent to me by someone who purchased my first guide booklet, “A guide to growing a straw bale garden” and made a decision to turn her entire front yard into a garden. No experience at all as a gardener, she became the talk of the entire neighborhood. Her children learned so much, as did she, and her neighbors about the whole process. Success if measured in so many different ways, but the owner of this garden “Sarah” was truly successful. Don’t let the “standard” conventions about vegetable gardening force you into a small corner of your property, rather, go where the sun is. If you make it beautiful and keep it watered and tended, you will inspire others to try it or possibly to try something unconventional in some other area of there life. Imagine what the neighbors tell friends and family who stop by and question the sanity of the neighbor. “Well we all thought she was crazy, it looked like she was going to bring livestock into her yard. As it turns out however, she grew a garden in the bales that was not only beautiful, but produced a bountiful harvest of flowers and vegetables.”
After much consternation, multiple revisions, and contemplation, here is where I’ve landed. My publisher suggested I develop a “Brand” around this crazy concept I’ve cornered. I finished the book, and then the suggestions began. Start a blog, start a blog… come on Joel everyone blogs, you need to start a blog. I’m afraid I will run out of things to say, I mean how do people blog for years and keep finding new things to talk about. My wife tells me all the time “to stop ranting about the same stuff” as I have a tendency to do, but once my rants are written down, everyone will know if I start repeating myself, and she’ll have confirmation that I am nuts! I’ll give it a go. Stop by from time to time and we can catch up. I look forward to some great conversations with readers.