One of the things I love about Portland is the DIY culture. It’s the place where Pinterest ideas are not only born, but actually real (as opposed to just “pinned” so one can, I dunno, feel bad later for not doing it) and more often genuinely about I’m-too-poor-to-buy-that practicality and personal creative expression than about trying to make your home and life look to the world like a twee hipster utopia.
Anyhow, this weekend at Imago Dei Community they are hosting a massive DIY Fair, and I will be sharing one small project I have been wanting to do for some time now, which was constructing my own Advent Calendar to use with my boys as we enter into the Christmas season, where we can count down the days to Christmas in a fun way together.
I know there are a lot of Advent Calendar ideas out there, and some really cool ones that I’m sure I would have LOVED as a kid. You know the ones. A chocolate a day. A Lego figure a day. Fun! But…
Alrighty, so you’ve obtained some straw bales, laid them out into the raised garden setup you would like, and spent the past 12 days watering them and sprinkling them with fertilizer.
(At this point, your neighbors, having witnessed you mysteriously watering straw bales, are probably starting to ask questions. This is perfectly normal. The decision to give straw bale gardening a try, as it turns out, often includes an implicit level of straw bale gardening evangelism as you explain what in the world you are doing. Do not be surprised if lots of people say “Oh I think I heard about that,” and maybe even imply that they are going to be keeping an eye on what you’re doing because they want to see how it works. For me, at least, this has ended up being a really great opportunity to get to meet several of my new neighbors. And since my boys are almost always out working with me on the bales, the connections and information on which families are around the neighborhood with kids their age came fast and furious. This was an unexpected bonus, and a welcome one!)
Anyhow, we’re to the point you’ve been waiting for, because it’s time to start planting!
(Read part 1, Straw Bale Gardening: Part 1 – Introduction.)
Okay, so you’ve gotten yourself a mess load of straw bales. What now?
Well, first of all, it would probably be a good idea to make sure that what you have is actually straw, not hay.
I currently have 21 bales of straw laid out in various configurations in our front and back yards, in which I plan on growing a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables this year. My neighbors ask a lot of questions, because clearly they can tell I’m onto something (if not on something). And I want you in on it too.
But perhaps I should start at the beginning…