Last year we tried a straw bale garden, planting directly into a straw bale. We didn’t have much luck with that. Our whiskey barrel containers worked better to hold the moisture, and the straw bales just dried out too much in the New Mexico sun. Add in potato bugs and the straw bale plants didn’t have a chance.
The idea is that you build up rows of compost and plant directly into the compost. The trick here will be to ensure the compost doesn’t get too hot for the plants, so we’re looking to add some shade over the trenches, and particularly shade from the afternoon western sun.
The other two outdoor projects are going to include getting some New Mexico bees established on the property. Not so much for the honey but more for their ability to help pollinate plants, and get our chicken coops in and going so the chickens can help with garden pest control.
The Raw-Bale chicken coop design has a lot going for it. Straw bales keep the chickens warm in winter, and the metal means the coop is going to last. The raised design helps keeps non-chicken critters out, and help keeps the coop clean. The bales also mean you can pull these out to add in venting, or if the chickens develop lice or issues, the bales can be replaced. And we can build this from scrap materials.
All we need now is for the good weather to continue for a bit, and then to get the chickens settled once the coop and garden are in place.