Gwen Wells

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Life-long gardner, recent convert to Straw Bale Gardening in the Urban setting. Hair stylist, salon owner, believer in Sustainable Living, Sustainable Gardening and Sustainable Beauty.

Behind my salon is a 6-car parking lot beside a low retaining wall. It’s along this wall that I began my straw bale gardening experiment in 2014. I was amazed at my success! I had only 3 bales, but I had a huge harvest of zucchinis, tomatoes, and peppers. I started one compost barrel that year, too.

In 2015 I expanded my garden by adding 2 more bales and another compost barrel. I experimented with Armenian Cucumbers and cantaloupe along with my (really easy to grow) tomatoes and peppers. The Armenian cukes went crazy! The first three I picked were over 8 lbs! I saved seeds from them and learned to pick them before they were so huge. They were delicious and there was plenty to share around my neighborhood.

This year, my neighbor expanded his retaining wall– it’s now 12 feet tall! This is exciting because it will extend my growing season, and his down spout is perfectly positioned to fill a rain barrel– so I took a “build your own rain barrel” class and brought home TWO! I added more bales, (for a total of 14) three of which are seeded with sunflowers and herbs. The other ten are set with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, Armenian cucumbers, butternut squash, zucchinis, and three types of beans. I’ll add to them as the seasons allow and intend to try cold weather growing of greens this Fall!
Happy Gardening!

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