Sunday, April 6, 2014


In little more than 4 weeks, I've gone from the idea of a Hay Bale Garden to actually having one that is thriving.  It's the most space-conserving and easiest gardening I've ever done.
Step 1:  Apply weed-barrier cloth to the chosen area.  I also added chicken wire as a deterrent to the many moles who make regular visits to our yard.
 Step 2:  Position bales.  (Straw is best because it contains fewer seeds but I could only get Hay.)  I chose three bales and set them in a "T" because it suited my space and other limitations.  Unable to get definitive advice concerning hay "strand" direction, I'm trying both positions. 
Step 3:  Water the bales thoroughly and often for a day or two.
Step 4:  Fertilize the tops of the bales with a high nitrogen fertilizer and continue watering daily for another week to 10 days.  I actually fertilized a second time.
Step 5:  Mound on a few inches of good garden soil and water well.
Step 6:  Plant.  Using a trowel and fingers (and a knife when necessary to get through the hay strands), fashion holes for the plants.  Here is where I really noticed a difference in which way the hay strands were set.  The bale with the horizontal strands was MUCH easier to penetrate but it is collapsing more quickly and looking a bit ragged along its sides.  The two bales with the strands standing upward, were a challenge to penetrate...but the knife did the trick and the bales are standing neatly.
 Step 7:  Enjoy.  Remember to water regularly and keep an eye out for pests and watch your garden grow.
I've planted heavily in my 3 bales, perhaps more than might be recommended but so far so good. 
The Bush Beans are already making tiny beans.
The Tomato plants are already in blossom.
The Cabbages are healthy and beautiful.  
Also planted are Squash, Red Bell Peppers, Eggplant and Lettuce (and Marigolds - of course).
 I will post occasional updates and look forward to a good harvest.

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