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Hay Bale Gardening

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Does anyone do hay bale gardening?  What are the advantages and disadvantages?  Is it as productive as gardening in the dirt?

Going to get 4 bales today to begin the process  What vegtables do you plant when you use this method?

post #2 of 24

I have been growing in straw bales for a couple of decades, it is the only way to garden if you ask me.  Stay away from bales of hay if you can, hay has seeds and those seeds sprout when watered, while straw should be virtually sterile because the seeds are harvested prior to baling the stalks.  The raised height makes it much easier to plant and harvest.  They heat up in the spring as they begin to decompose, then stay warm for 4-6 weeks in the early part of the season after I plant or seed into them.  I get no weeds.  They hold water really well and are a breeze to water with a soaker hose running down each bale and a battery hose end timer.  You ask if the crops grow as well in straw as they do in soil, well the actual fact is that you are not growing in straw, since the straw is decomposing quickly and becoming "soil" so the answer is that everything does as well or better in the straw bales.  No need to rotate crops, since you'll usually start with new bales each spring, and that means you are creating new soil inside each bale every year, so no lingering insect or disease issues that can accumulate in soil.  Also, the compost you end up with the spring after you have used up the bales is incredible.  I use it to fill my pots, window boxes, and containers, and to enhance the soils around my annual beds and perennial gardens.  It is better than any bagged potting mix, weed free, and costs nothing!

 

Try it, you'll never go back to traditional gardening in soil.

post #3 of 24

I started straw bale gardening a few years ago - I love it! I made several of my raised beds using them. Don't use hay! The seeds in the hay will overwhelm whatever you're trying to grow.

One thing about straw bale gardening . . . water consumption. You do have to water more often or use a soaker hose, as SBG mentioned. The bales usually take about 10 days to prep before you plant in them. You want to start the compost process beforehand and get past the 'hot' stage. Using a nitrogen based fertilizer really helps to get it going. I add chicken and horse manures to the bales.

Another nice thing about straw bale gardening is that, with the heat generated by the composting, you can sometimes start a bit earlier in the season - the heat will help protect the new plants. I've covered the bales in a hoop house environment before with great success.

 

 

Good luck with your garden!

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

My chickens ~ I've pretty much lost count.

Other Barnyard ~ 1 Paso Fino, 1 Mule, whole bunch of ducks, 1 turkey.

Other ~ 1 spoiled house cat and 3 foster pups/dogs.

 

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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

My chickens ~ I've pretty much lost count.

Other Barnyard ~ 1 Paso Fino, 1 Mule, whole bunch of ducks, 1 turkey.

Other ~ 1 spoiled house cat and 3 foster pups/dogs.

 

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post #4 of 24

I am interested in trying this. What plants work best for this? Do you have pictures?

http://www.denasfarm.com

 

Freedom Rangers, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Games, Geese, Two Zebu, Two Goats and half doz Dogs!

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http://www.denasfarm.com

 

Freedom Rangers, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Games, Geese, Two Zebu, Two Goats and half doz Dogs!

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post #5 of 24

When you guys say straw, are you talking about pine straw?

post #6 of 24
Pine straw doesn't work. Wheat, oat, barley or rice straw works best. Pictures at StrawBaleGardens dot com if you want to learn more.
post #7 of 24

we can't get straw here.. when I first asked about it they looked at me like I had grown an extra head

I don't have poultry.. I have mini feathered velociraptors
Emu Hatch 2013-2014    Emu Hatch 2013   Emu Hatch 2012   Hatching Muscovy Eggs  Turkey Incubation and Hatching

Sexing Emu Chicks   Our Hoop Coop build   Blowing Out Emu Eggs for Crafting 

 

My Swap Page     

I ignore Trolls, so if I suddenly stop talking to you, it's not that you have won, you're just not worth the effort

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I don't have poultry.. I have mini feathered velociraptors
Emu Hatch 2013-2014    Emu Hatch 2013   Emu Hatch 2012   Hatching Muscovy Eggs  Turkey Incubation and Hatching

Sexing Emu Chicks   Our Hoop Coop build   Blowing Out Emu Eggs for Crafting 

 

My Swap Page     

I ignore Trolls, so if I suddenly stop talking to you, it's not that you have won, you're just not worth the effort

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post #8 of 24

16 to 20 bucks a bale in new mexico .. if they have it ..

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejeans View Post

16 to 20 bucks a bale in new mexico .. if they have it ..

Lol.. i'm not planning a trip to New Mexico for straw.. with gas prices the way they are and the way my old truck likes to guzzle it.. it would cost me a small fortune!  gig.gif

I don't have poultry.. I have mini feathered velociraptors
Emu Hatch 2013-2014    Emu Hatch 2013   Emu Hatch 2012   Hatching Muscovy Eggs  Turkey Incubation and Hatching

Sexing Emu Chicks   Our Hoop Coop build   Blowing Out Emu Eggs for Crafting 

 

My Swap Page     

I ignore Trolls, so if I suddenly stop talking to you, it's not that you have won, you're just not worth the effort

Reply

I don't have poultry.. I have mini feathered velociraptors
Emu Hatch 2013-2014    Emu Hatch 2013   Emu Hatch 2012   Hatching Muscovy Eggs  Turkey Incubation and Hatching

Sexing Emu Chicks   Our Hoop Coop build   Blowing Out Emu Eggs for Crafting 

 

My Swap Page     

I ignore Trolls, so if I suddenly stop talking to you, it's not that you have won, you're just not worth the effort

Reply
post #10 of 24

WOW That's expensive. I was complaining that it was $5 a bale for straw and $7 for Hay here...I buy both. When we lived in TN it was $3 for Hay.

So Once you get a Bale what next? Pour seeds  on top?

http://www.denasfarm.com

 

Freedom Rangers, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Games, Geese, Two Zebu, Two Goats and half doz Dogs!

Reply

http://www.denasfarm.com

 

Freedom Rangers, Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, Games, Geese, Two Zebu, Two Goats and half doz Dogs!

Reply
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