Over the years as I've slowly been learning more about straw bale gardening I've always wondered about how the wheat is grown that my bales are made of. This year we will be using a new source for straw so I took the initiative to find out if anything is applied while the wheat is growing. I'm so glad I asked because it turns out that wheat that is grown in a field where alfalfa was just grown does not need any chemical treatments. I didn't question why this is the case since I was already asking the gentleman twenty other questions about the straw/hay auction coming up. I'm just glad to know that the effort we make to grow using organic fertilizers isn't in vain.
In addition to the good news about the straw, I called our source of plants and learned that they do not use any chemicals either. I thought I remember them saying that years ago but I wanted to double check now that I'll be growing food that will be eaten by Elsa. I wouldn't want my other children eating from pesticide laden plants either but their bodies are bigger and I'm not as vigilant when they are past two years of age.
We'll be getting 15 bales in a couple of weeks (to add to the two I hold over from the previous year for planting carrots and sweet potatoes - similar to this set up) and while I had really wanted to grow my own seedlings this year it doesn't work with us being gone on vacation in March. Instead, we'll purchase nice big seedlings in May, harden them off over the course of a couple of weeks, and plant them in the bales around Mother's Day.
This unseasonably warm weather is making me wonder if it's safe to plant earlier this year but I don't know that it's worth the risk. I would love to hear from you if you decide to plant your garden in straw this year or even if you don't, are you considering altering your planting schedule due to the mild weather?
** This photo is from our 2010 garden when I grew zuchinni out the side of the bales. It worked so well that I don't have to grow zuchini for at least one more year since our freezer is FULL of zuchini.
***If you are looking for a source of good seedlings - let me know and I can email you a link to the local place we've been buying plants from since we started our straw bale garden. ***