The garden Siri built: straw bales lift vegie production to new heights



Kate Aley

Those who love summer veggies know that raised gardens are easier to tend and that heavy mulching with straw helps to keep weeds down and hold precious moisture in the soil… but what happens when you build your raised beds with straw? This year Siri Ingebrigsten, of Avant-Garde Equestrian Farm in Luskville, found out. Pontiac asked her about her horticultural adventure. ( Where did you first see the idea for a straw bale garden?

Siri Ingebrigsten (SI): I saw it for the first time maybe four years ago when it popped up on my Facebook feed. I’m not sure what group was talking about it but it looked like such a brilliant idea, especially the fact that there was little weeding and bending involved with taking care of it. Describe how the garden was put together.

SI: I have twelve bales placed in three rows of four. Each row is supported by T-posts on both ends and I ran hay-bale twine between the T-posts along the rows to support the plants. The centres of the bales are ‘conditioned’ using a natural fertilizer made of high nitrogen content solution made with plenty of water.  Is rotting down the center of the bales difficult?

SI: No, I don't believe it is. The original conditioning of the bales takes some time and, despite wanting to try this every summer, this was the first year I actually got around to it. The exact way and time frame will depend on weather and reaction within the bale. Basically, you start decomposition by adding the nitrogen and water. This causes high temperatures in the straw and you can only plant once the internal temperature has lowered to the temperature in the air. The directions said it should take two weeks, but it took me closer to four due to the cold, dry spring. Were you impressed at how many plants you could get in such a small space?

SI: I was impressed and I have kept adding things on the sides of the bales. It’s really neat how many things you can squish in there. I planted root veggies between above-ground fruits and veggies. It's a learning experience, as some heavier and taller plants tend to 'slide', so the garden has required extra bracing. Have there been drawbacks to gardening like this?

SI: The time and energy it took to get it going surprised me, plus it is pretty water intensive especially as the summer has been so dry and hot. But it has been lovely with the last days of rain…The bales keep the moisture quite well so, once they are soaked, they stay humid longer than the ground garden. Apparently you can also use hay bales and they are supposed to provide even more nutrients to the plants, but there is also more growth from the hay seeds so I’m not sure if it's worth the extra effort. I might try both types next year. What happens to the bales at the end of the season?

SI: The bales go right on our compost pile and will be a super addition to the pile. They can also be left in a heap and allowed to break down further during the fall/winter and then used in the spring to nourish the ground garden or the next straw garden. I did end up adding some soil to the bales on top of them to create a better base for the seeds. Would you recommend trying a straw bale garden?

SI: For sure. It's relatively easy and would be great for any age group. Kids would love it and elderly would have an easier time maintaining this kind of garden. I will become braver with different types of plants as I gain experience. This year I have potatoes, carrots, sweet corn, three varieties of tomatoes, ornamental eggplant, green and purple basil, edible flowers, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, leeks, different types of lettuce and peas. I'm sure there are more things but can't remember off-hand!

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Can we Talk?



Sheila McCrindle

Given the importance of resident engagement in civic life, I was saddened to read Lynne Lavery’s article in this week’s Pontiac Journal.  Residents have been expressing concern that articles in the Journal relating to the Municipality of Pontiac have showed a bias in favour of the current Mayor.

La mairesse de Pontiac: Informer le public de manière efficace et conforme avec un délai raisonnable est une «courtoisie» non pas une obligation



Thomas Soulière

Lorsque ce fût signalé à la mairesse dans un autre courriel ; que le code municipal stipulait qu'un avis public devait être donné au moins 8 jours avant la réunion, tandis que l’avis affiché sur le site Web de la municipalité a été publié seulement un jour avant la réunion, la mairesse Labadie a répondu, «Le site Web n'est pas un avis public légal. C'est une courtoisie.»



Vendredi 25 janvier à partir de 18h30 au centre communautaire: Concours de talents amateur et de lip-synch.

Vous aimez danser, chanter ou vous avez un talent caché, venez participer et vous amuser dans ce concours d’amateur pour tous âges. Prix de participation.

Samedi 26 janvier : Activité intérieure (Centre communautaire, 2024 route 148)

9h-11h déjeuner hivernal (levée de fonds Cercle Socio-culturel de Luskville) et une vente d’artisanat.
Coût: 3$/enfant, 7$/adulte. PMP organise un bricolage sur le thème de l’hiver et des jeux de société pour les enfants.
12h-16h Tournoi de sac de sable. Levée de fonds pour la Ligue de sac de sable de Luskville. Coût: 2$/enfant, 4$/adulte.
17h-Souper spaghetti familial (levée de fonds 6e année), tirage 50-50 et soirée dansante, bar sur place.

Dimanche 27 janvier : Activité extérieure (Patinoire Parc Récréatif, 3206 route 148.)

9h-16H - Patinage, hockey, glissade, raquettes, ski de fond, tour de traîneau tiré par des chevaux, peinture sur neige, concours de bûcheron, cours de zumba et plus!
* Nouveauté: une tour d'escalade et des concours de fabrication de bonhomme de neige et de la plus belle tuque décorée !!

Si vous souhaitez participer dans notre carnaval, contactez-nous, nous recherchons des bénévoles


PMP est heureux de participer au carnaval d’hiver de GAJ ! Venez construire avec nous une création hivernale! (Lego, Duplo et MégaBlocks fournis par PMP)
Date: Le dimanche, 27 janvier de 4:00-5:00pm
Âges visés: MégaBlock et Duplo pour les 2 et 3 ans Lego pour les 4 ans et plus.
(Les enfants de 4 ans et moins doivent être supervisé par un parent.)
Endroit:Centre communautaire de Luskville, (2024 route 148)
Coût: 2$