The lovely people at Woodthorpe Park have lots of spare hay bales to give away at the moment, so we took advantage of the offer, and got a load, re-carpeting Tracey's car with stray hay stalks as we did so! The hay is cut from meadows on the Council's parkland, but the bales we have don't seem to have much obvious seed in them. We're hoping that this makes them useful for lots of different things in the allotment.
One thing we were interested in trying was this -
|From Permaculture Magazine|
This was really Hassan's baby, as he suggested that we should make an insulated cold frame, and these bales will be great insulation. Brian should also get some thanks, as he kindly provided some old window panes which turned out to be exactly the right size to make a roof, and heavy enough not to blow away in the gales that immediately hit!
|Hassan and Guy with bale-bed mark1|
First, we tried putting the bales the same way up as they are in the image that gave us the idea. They we realised that with the low sun we get in Winter, the high-sides would mean that any plants would get very little direct light, so we turned the bales on to their flatter side instead. This made the bed sides lower so more light could get in.
|The bed planted with lettuce|
Then we added some well-composted manure on the surface of the soil, and planted some lettuce seedlings into it. Finally we added Brian's double glazing panels, which conveniently were just the right size to cover the top. We'll now monitor progress and let you know how the bed works for us. We're also hoping to plant into the bales themselves once they start decomposing.
|The finished bed, covered with old window units.|
Finally we treated ourselves to some well-earned soup - tagine-spiced butternut squash and sweet potato - made extra special with stars of orange zest stirred into it - delicious. You'll find the recipe in a separate post.
|Starry, starry soup....|