Listed in United States
- 6045 Mount Vista Road, Helena, MT 59602, USA
I am Rhonda Simmons. My garden is a part of our hilltop, homestead farm which is lovingly called “Sunrise Vista Henhouse and Veggie Patch.” We have cows, border collies, 54 hens and Cowboy, our Lakenvelder rooster, a wild antelope herd, and many, many cottontail rabbits. The garden produces fruit, vegetables and flowers out of the two cold frames, three raised beds, small greenhouse, and approximately 1250 sq. ft. traditional in-ground garden — and what I consider the crowning glory — 45 prolific straw bales!
I began my straw bale gardening journey in the spring of 2014 after learning of the practice in the Master Gardener course and obtaining a copy of Joel’s book, which I thoroughly devoured every word of! I jumped right in immediately and grew 25 straw bales with pretty good results — I’m not saying “awesome” because I slightly deviated and the results showed. Last year (2015) I followed the conditioning practices to the “T” on my 45 bales, and after having put seedlings in what I believe are perfect bales, and incorporating all the recommendations made in the book regarding the per-vegetable suggestions, I had fantastic results! Through the winter we fed ourselves from that garden — having canned, frozen and dehydrated so much produce! I am extremely excited to share my experience with others!! I wholeheartedly believe there is room in every gardening situation for a few (or many more) straw bales.
I am a Level 3 Montana Master Gardener, and have also taken the International Organic Inspectors Association Basic GAP On-Farm Food Safety Training, and have found that a lot of these principles dovetail nicely with the principles of straw bale gardening, insofar as you know what is in the bales that are the growing vessels for the food you are using and passing to friends and family.
I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and your group. Please feel free to contact me anytime. I’m more that willing to help you get started on your own straw bale garden!!