Raised gardens made from hay bales or straw bales

Hay and straw bale gardening.



A really interesting way to make a cheap raised garden bed is to use hay or straw bales, You can grow plants directly onto the hay bale and you can also make a square with four hay bales filed with topsoil.

Hay and straw bale gardening.

A really interesting way to make a cheap raised garden bed is to use hay or straw bales, You can grow plants directly onto the hay bale and you can also make a square with four hay bales filed with topsoil and plants in the middle . If you are going to plant into the hay bale, leave a space between the plants to sit and work from. You can make a hay bale garden as high as you need it to avoid having to bend over if you have a bad back or a disability that makes bending over difficult.

To get your hay or straw bales ready for planting, first get them in place, they are a lot heavier when soaked and will be to heavy to lift,  then water your straw or hay bales every day for about  two weeks. If you set them out in winter you wont need to water manually and the bales will be ready for Spring planting You can speed the conditioning process up  by watering for three to four days and  then adding a layer of  soil or compost to the top of the bales, then just  make a slit in the top of the hay with a spade and plant the plants.

 If you are going to sow seeds into the hay or straw bale its a good idea to sprinkle some compost or topsoil into the surface or slits you have made with the spade as this will stop the finer seeds falling to deep into the hay or straw bales. 

All this works because hay and straw bales contains microorganisms which when wet will start eating away at bacteria inside the hay and straw making compost inside the bale and this creates a perfect environment for growing plants. Just keep the moisture  inside the hay bale maintained and nature will do the rest.

Hay bales drain very well, so you wont have to worry about them getting to wet in heavy rain.The drainage properties of hay bales mean root rot and many other damp related plant diseases are not a problem.
 If you have a boggy or poorly drained area in your garden build the hay bale raised bed over the area, you will need to water less frequently, or maybe not at all if its really waterlogged, as the hay or straw bales will soak the water up into the bale.

Hay bale gardens will last for up to two years, straw bales will last up to three years, you can then add it to your compost heap or spread it over your garden. Try to find  tightly bound bales as they stay in shape longer.

Plants you can grow in  straw bale and hay bale raised gardens.
Almost anything you can grow in an English country garden will grow well in your hay bale garden, from cabbages, dwarf beans and many more vegetables and fruits from strawberries to tomatoes. Taller plants will need staking so you will need long stakes that will push all the way through the straw bale to make them  secure. Deep growing root crops like potatoes will do well in a hay bale garden but bear in mind you will have to break up the hay bale to harvest the potato crop. Might be better to grow them in the final year of the bale garden, when you will be breaking it up anyway and replacing it with new bales.

The pleasure you will get from doing something a bit different in your garden combined with the benefits of not having to bend over to far to plant and harvest your straw bale garden and no digging, make hay bale gardening so worthwhile. 

Hay bale gardening is easy, keep the bale garden watered during dry spells and nature will do the rest. Enjoy your harvest and please share your straw bale gardening experiences and  hay bale gardening tips with the rest of us. More information can be found on my webpage hay bale garden

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