Image source: Pixabay.com
Straw bale gardening is simply what it sounds like: growing a garden in bales of straw. It offers many advantages that aren’t typically available in most in-ground traditional gardens, or even in some raised bed gardens.
Before we look at tips for straw bale gardening, let’s first take a look at its advantages:
1. You can grow in a variety of places where it isn’t practical to grow a traditional garden. A straw bale garden can be grown on permafrost, on concrete or even on rooftops!
This gardening method is also a great way to grow a garden when you first move into a new home but haven’t had the time or the resources to do any soil tests, add any soil amendments, or construct a wooden raised bed garden.
2. You don’t need garden space! The straw bales are essentially your raised bed, your growing medium, and your growing container all in one. This allows you to produce a very productive garden, even when you have very limited (or no) garden space.
3. You get an early start on the gardening season. Straw bale gardeners have the advantage of being able to plant their vegetable gardens several weeks earlier than a traditional in-ground garden. Not only do you not need to wait for the ground to thaw when planting in straw bales, but the process of preparing the bales warms up the growing medium, as microbes actively generate heat when they break down the organic matter in the bales.
Of course, you can cover your garden to protect it from any remaining spring frosts.
Image source: YouTube screen capture
4. You can grow plants and produce rich compost at the same time. Because you are growing a garden in organic matter itself, you will get extremely rich compost at the end of the gardening season that you can then use for any future gardening activities.
5. You can safely garden even when you have poor or toxic soil. Because you are not growing directly in soil, you can grow a completely organic garden in straw bales without any concerns of lead or other toxins contaminating the food that you are growing. Straw bale gardens are ideal for urban landscapes, where the soils have been subject to a plethora of pollutants that can make growing a healthy in-ground garden challenging.
6. You can grow organically … easily. Unlike traditional in-ground gardens, it isn’t necessary to add all kinds of soil amendments to build good quality garden soil. You will have rich organic garden “soil” immediately after preparing the bales. A straw bale garden is an ideal method for brand new gardeners to learn basic gardening processes with reduced weeding and watering needs.
7. You can garden in 3D! You can grow plants on the top, ends, and on the sides of your bales, maximizing available garden space. You don’t generally have this advantage when growing in the ground or even in a traditional raised bed garden.
8. You can pick your garden’s shape! You can arrange your straw bales for your garden in a variety of shapes, such as a horseshoe shape or a keyhole bed shape to allow for easy access for planting, maintenance and harvesting.
9. You can garden with no weeding! Growing a garden in straw bales is like having fresh and clean new potting soil without any weed seeds present. This dramatically reduces opportunities for weeds to grow in your garden, eliminating most of the maintenance work for gardening!
10. You reduce the need to bend over when you garden. Because of the raised bed nature of straw bale gardens, you won’t need to bend over nearly as much to tend to your garden, compared to when you garden in the ground.
11. You reduce the need to water. Straw soaks up water, reducing the amount of watering that your garden should require throughout the season.
12. You can grow both transplants and seeds. However, you will need to add potting soil first when planting seeds in your straw bales.
Straw Bale Gardening Tips
1. Make sure that you grow a straw bale garden using straw, not hay, as hay contains many seeds that will sprout in your garden.
2. Attend a workshop, read a book or watch videos about how to grow a straw bale garden. This information will help you to properly prepare the bales for planting and how to maintain them throughout the growing season. Highly recommended is the Straw Bale Gardens book by author Joel Karsten. Also be sure to check out the official Straw Bale Gardens website for more information!
3. Preparation of the bales takes approximately two weeks before you can plant any transplants or seeds in the bales. It involves soaking bales with water and adding nitrogen. Watch the video below for details:
4. During the initial two-week stage of bale preparation, you may have mushrooms that start growing out of your straw bales. While this is an excellent sign that the organic materials in the bales are breaking down properly and will be very healthy for your garden plants, there may be a temporary odor associated with your straw bale garden. Keep this in mind when deciding where to set up your garden.
Have you ever gardened using straw bales? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
This Article Was Originally Posted On offthegridnews.com Read the Original Article here
NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls
New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.
The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.
The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.
“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”
How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar
The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!
This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.
So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?
Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know
Why Make Sauerkraut?
Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.
So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.
- 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- mason jar
- smaller jar
- rubber band
Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients
Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.
You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.
Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.
Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips
Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.
Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt
Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.
TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.
RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe
Step 4: Massage the Cabbage
Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.
TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.
Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar
Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.
IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.
Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar
You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.
Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.
Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band
Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.
Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily
Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.
Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures
After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.
NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.
You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.
Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut
- Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
- Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
- Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
- If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.
Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!
So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.
What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!
Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!
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This Article Was Found On pioneersettler.com Read the Original Article
9 SPRING VEGETABLES FOR YOUR GARDEN
Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!
RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide
In this article:
Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!
Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.
Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.
Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?
Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.
Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.
If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.
Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!
Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.
Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.
Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.
There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.
They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.
A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.
Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.
Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.
Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.
Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!
Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.
All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!
So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!
- 50 Gardening Tips And Tricks To Become A Successful Homesteader
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This Article Was Found On pioneersettler.com Read the Original Article
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