Hay Bale Gardening – No dig garden method

One year I heard about planting in rectangular hay bales and of course I had to give it a try!

The reasoning for planting in hay was that it was like a raised garden and you could plant earlier with less work and no digging. The No Dig method is considered to be better for soil structure. Canon City Corn Maze
Creative Commons License photo credit: JBColorado

I read that you needed to start with transplants. They suggested wetting the bale down very well a couple of times a day for several days. When you were ready to plant your transplants you would dig a hole in the bale and put in rich potting soil or compost.

So I decided to add a hay bale wall to my garden area and started dragging in hay bales. Of course the neighborhood was watching and wondering what the eccentric gardener was up to this time. I wet the bales down as suggested and added fish emulsion to the areas I knew I would be planting in.

I planted peppers, tomatoes, flowers and beans in the hay bales in different arrangements that were pleasing to the eye. Several bales I stacked creatively and planted ornamental gourds in those in such a way they would trail down the bales. This made a garden art piece that I could add accent pieces to for fun in the garden.

My accent pieces were old farm pieces, crocks and pottery pieces and later: mums and pumpkins.

My garden plants grew well. I think I had one of the larger tomato crops that year. And the gourds looked great cascading down the bales.

At the end of the year the bales were breaking down and I threw them in the compost pile.

I have used bales since, particularly for gourds, I just like the look and focal growing spot I can make using bales.

Another unique ideas I have heard of for hay bale planting is making a moss planter for plants (It’s a great look!) and a growing flowering plant wall.

One suggestion you may want to consider. Hay brings in more weeds. You will wanter older bales that have brokern down a little or go with straw bales. The straw bales do not have seeds.

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Denise

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