How To Make A Hay Bale Garden

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Straw and hay bale gardens could be the answer to all of your gardening woes. Trust me, they are more than just a passing fad.

For one thing, the technique of using straw bales to grow crops is a technique that has been around since the 60s….but it is really starting to grow in popularity. It’s easy to see why. Just look at these common issues that can be overcome by using a straw bale:

  • Rocky areas
  • Uneven ground
  • Poor soil
  • Bad back

hay-bale-hero

Image by Modern Farmer.com

The cost is lower than building a raised bed or using grow bags, plus they enter into the circle of life, being biodegradable! You can use them for compost the following year. Other benefits of using straw bales for gardening include:

  • More oxygen available to roots of plants
  • Unlimited water supply to the plants (thanks to the excellent water holding capacity of the bales)
  • Nutrients are fed to the plants via the straw
  • Heat from the decomposition of the straw speeds up plant growth and lengthens harvest duration
  • There is no weeding required (unless you use hay – more about this below)
  • The potential for 25% more fruit and vegetables than if you planted into the ground (due to the additional heat/oxygen etc)

Sounds good right? If you are like me, you are wondering why you didn’t know about this sooner!

Fortunately you can get started quickly and easily. Just follow the steps laid out below.

What Kind Of Bale Should You Choose?

Ideally you should look for wheat, oats, rye or barley straw – which are the leftovers from harvesting grain. This means that very few seeds remain in the bales. Hay bales on the other hand still have the seed heads, so you are likely to find weeds growing in your bales. Hay bales do provide a nitrogen rich environment for your growing plants, but they will require more effort to upkeep. With straw bales you will need to do little more than add nitrogen (and I hear that human urine works well!).

Try to avoid corn and linseed bales as they decompose very slowly due to the oil residue from their crop, and are very coarse.

Where To Buy The Bales

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Comments

  1. Great article! If anyone is looking for more information please let them know they can visit our website at http://www.StrawBaleGardens.com we have a great newsletter and webinars and awesome pictures, all free stuff! If they are looking for the ultimate guide to growing in bales, they can get a copy of “Straw Bale Gardens Complete” my latest book, also available on our website.

  2. what a geat idea, I have barn loft with plenty of hay bales to try this with, excited. great sunny location but really rocky soil as in granite boulders within few inches of surface as this could be the answer.

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