We are excited to be setting up our 3rd annual Straw Bale Garden. We have been very excited with how it works for the past two years and are doing it again. This video is a quick demonstration of setting up the garden. This is based off of Joel Karsten's book on Straw Bale Gardens. I am also a certified Straw Bale Garden Instructor, you can visit my profile on the Straw Bale Garden website HERE. In Part 1 I will be setting up the cardboard as an underlayment that serves as a weed block and ten the bales. Part 2 will show setting up the rest of the cardboard, spreading out the straw and getting the bales all ready for the growing season. Enjoy!
In our last blog titled, Worm Hotel Vermicomposting... Composting with Worms I gave several reasons why a gardener would want to have a vermicomposter. The bucket style, or as I call, the 'Worm Hotel' is perfect for the typical backyard gardener that is wanting to create worm castings and make compost tea for their garden.
In this video we take it a whole other level by converting a 55 gallon barrel into a worm trough. I decided this was a better route for a few reasons, 1) this year we plan to really develop our farm. We live on an acre and are only using a small portion of it so far. We could really use a lot more worm compost tea and casting. 2) as we scale up and build out our farm we will begin doing a lot more tours, demonstrations, and classes. With those events happening we will be able to sell worm castings, Worm Hotels, and compost tea kits.
To learn more about the power of vermicomposting read this blog.
We recently had part of an aquaponics system donated to the farm and we wanted to show you its current state. We will do update videos as time goes on and as the system evolves into an abundant food system!
We also are highlighting some baby chicks that Mrs. Black hatched out and some new bunnies that are a cross between a Rex doe and a Californian buck. Enjoy!
Mayfield Family Farm
North Dallas Area - Denton, TX
I know it is two weeks into summer and this is a Spring update, sometimes things get overlooked, like uploading videos and blog posts. Well here is an update of some of the plants that are growing and some newer plants that we are adding. Watch the video to see the updates and read below for some great information on the plant selections.
We have three types of plants that we have planted. Comfrey, Salsa Jasmine, and Malabar Spinach. There are also a couple varieties of native vines that have popped up along the garden bed that we are allowing to grow on the dome as well. I highly encourage you to consider growing Malabar Spinach and Comfrey in your garden, homestead, farm, or general landscaping! Below is a little more information on each.
Malabar Spinach - We have about a dozen Red-stemmed Malabar Spinach plants growing. We grew these all from seeds. I used 1-2 seeds per jiffy pod and had a 100% sprout and growth rate. Malabar Spinach is not a true spinach variety. This is from Wikipedia, 'Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 metres (33 ft) in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra' is reddish-purple. Typical of leaf vegetables, Malabar spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories by volume, but high in protein per calorie. The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber. Among many other possibilities, Malabar spinach may be used to thicken soups or stir-fries with garlic and chili peppers.'
Comfrey - We have 5 Comfrey plants growing. One is a 3-4 year old plant, two are 1-2 year old plants, and two are root cuttings. Our goal is to use root cuttings over the next few years to propagate a hundred or two hundred of these plants throughout our farm. As you read the brief description below you will see why we can not have enough of these plants on our farm.
The information below was taken directly from Coe's Comfrey website.
We are excited to be setting up our Straw Bale Garden this year. Unfortunately it is about a month or two later then we were hoping to have it ready. I had some big health issues for the first couple of months this year with a huge bout of pneumonia as well as a few other things including dealing with vertigo for about 6-8 weeks. This put all the house and farm projects back a couple of months. We have been playing catch up ever since.
You can see in the gallery below all of the steps that took place starting from where we left off in a previous post about creating a lot of mulch from last year's Straw Bale Garden, you can read about that and watch the video HERE. Also, you can hover over the pictures for captions.
The steps are simple:
I also wanted to let you know in case you missed it on one of our previous videos, I am a certified Straw Bale Garden Instructor, you can visit my listing page on the Straw Bale Garden website HERE. If you have any questions on how to create a Straw Bale Garden, the conditioning process, or better yet, invite me out to consult with you on how and where to put it then contact me here are through the official SBG website.
Stay posted for updates on the garden and the rest of the farm.
Not only have we proven Straw Bale Gardening is an absolutely awesome gardening system that you should incorporate into your garden, farm or homestead, it also creates an additional output besides growing your groceries. After the season is over the cardboard under the bales and the straw them selves decomposes into some amazingly rich and biodiverse mulch that you can amend into your soils, put into your compost, or apply as a mulch in your garden beds. We created about 40 gallons worth of mulch after using about 12 bales at the beginning of the growing season the previous year. We did wait all the way to this spring to collect the mulch. Had we collected it in the fall we would have almost double the amount. We are not only very happy with the SBG but also the mulch it produces.
Coe's Comfrey: http://coescomfrey.com/comfrey.html
Visit our Facebook page or website to see more about our philosophy, principles and stories.
Mayfield Family Farm
North Dallas Area - Denton, TX
Part of the original design for our RabbiDome was to create a garden area around the outside of the dome. We built it 30' long to be about 40-45 sq ft. This video demonstrates how we built this garden bed by excavating down about 10", layering several layers of cardboard, then backfilling it with rich garden soil and finally topping it with straw to reduce weeds and keep soil moist.
We decided to go with Malabar Spinach as an edible so we can eat it & provide a lot of vegetation for the rabbits and more importantly it is a fast growing vine that will provide a lot of shade. We will also be adding other shrubs and flowers to the garden area in time as we decide on a balance between elegant and edible plants which is an Agriscaping philosophy.
Visit our Facebook page to see more about our philosophy, principles and stories.
Part of our commitment to self-reliance is we look for multiple outputs for each single input on our farm as a rule to decide if an input is worth our time and commitment. Rabbits not only serve us and our community on the dinner table but their dropping serve as incredible cold manure for excellent fertilizer.
Here is our straw bale garden after only 5 weeks of growth. So far we are very happy with the results and look forward to incorporating this method in all our future gardening.