|Thursday Techniques: Hay Bale Gardening|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 24 January 2013|
Hay bale vegetable gardening is a technique that was developed by a vegetable crop specialist at the University of Florida. It may sound odd but vegetable gardening in hay bales really works. Wheat straw bales are better than hay because they tend to have fewer weed seeds than hay bales and alfalfa and mixed grass bales also work well.
Squash, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are the vegetables of choice to grow in hay bales but other vegetables will grow as well including lettuce, green beans, and cabbage. Avoid root crops and corn because it grows too tall and will topple over.
Hay and straw bales that have begun to decompose make the best growing medium. To do this, either purchase them in the fall and leave them outside over the winter or, if you want to use them for the current growing season, then soak the bales with water a couple of times a day for 3 days. Apply fertilizer to the top of the bale for 3 or 4 days. Let the bales sit for a day and then dig a hole in the bale. Place some topsoil in the hole, and then plant your vegetables. Plan on planting 2 to 4 vegetable plants per bale. Keep the bales moist and watch your garden grow!
Photo source: www.nicholsgardennursery.com