It’s hard to beat the versatility when it comes to hay bales gardening. It’s inexpensive, and you can place it anywhere in your yard. Eventually, it will turn to compost, so gardening hay bales this year can feed your garden next year. That’s value for recycling. There are many garden centers, feed stores, and local farmers sell bundles of hays. Once you decided to bring yours at home, you will have to take a few steps first before you can get it ready for planting. Learn all about them and follow the instruction on how to prepare hay bales for gardening.
What is Hay Bale Gardening?
Instead of using soil for gardening, a bale garden utilizes hay or straw bales. You can plant seeds directly on top of the bale, or you can use seedlings. Bale planting is one way to garden if you don’t have much land or soil; or if your ground is hard to deal with. Bale gardening is often healthier on your hands and wrists, especially if you have arthritis and joint pains.
Any fruits, vegetables, or herbs you want to cultivate on the ground may be produced in bales. Tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, melons, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and parsley are only a handful of plants that grow well in bundles.
You can turn your bale garden into any shape you choose. Placing the bales end-to-end will create a long line of garden. Bales may be clustered together to create conventional, rectangular beds of the garden area. You may even transform your yard into a pattern or maze by where and how you place your hay bales.
How to Prepare Hay Bales for Gardening
Hay bales need to be prepared first for planting. While you can use bales instead of soil, they don’t have all the nutrients that plants need to nurture. Preparing the hay bales takes about ten days. There are several methods in which bundles are fitted for planting. The steps below are an essential guide on how to prepare hay bales for gardening:
- Keep the bales clean and water for a full ten days.
- Pour five ounces of ammonium nitrate fertilizer onto the bales on the fourth day. Farmers and gardeners use ammonium nitrate as plant fertilizer.
- Pour two and a half ounces of ammonium nitrate fertilizer onto the bales on the seventh day.
- On the tenth day, add 12 ounces of fertilizer with a ratio of 13-13-13 N-P-K and water. It stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the nutrients you need to grow your plants. The figures reflect how many of these elements are in the fertilizer. You can find this detailed information on the label of the fertilizer package.
- Put three inches of potting soil on top of the hay bales, if you choose to grow your garden from seed.
- If you are starting your garden with seedlings, you don’t need to add potting soil on top of the bale. Plant seedlings with a spade pushed into the bale. To push the bale apart, force the trowel slightly between the hay bales. Plant the seedling between the flakes or sections that make up a bale.
You can do these steps if you have multiple hay bales garden in your land. You must take into precautionary safety as the steps require spreading elements to the hay bales.
Tips and Tricks on How to Prepare Hay Bales for Gardening
- You must tightly connect the bales to perform well as garden beds with plastic twine. Bales closely tied are less prone to break apart during the growing season. Loosely attached bundles can fall apart faster.
- Bales can require irrigation every day or up to two times a day. You can’t get over water the bales. They’re going to dry out quickly because bales don’t store water as the soil does.
- The grass will sprout if the hay bales are used. You may need to remove or cut these sprouts when they start to show up.
- The same spacing you have for growing plants in the garden is the same spacing plants you use in bales. One bale can accommodate about three plants of broccoli, cauliflower, two hills of pumpkin, or two plants of tomatoes.
- When you grow larger crops and vegetables, they tend to fall over. Bales doesn’t have the protection that tall plants need to remain upright. You can utilize a dependable and tall staking device if you choose to grow taller crops and vegetables. Tomato plants would have to be staked more sturdy than you have in regular gardening.
Why Should You Use Hay Bales for Gardening
There’s lots of chatter on whether hay bales or straw bales are ideal for gardening.
Some gardeners assume that because hays contain grass seeds or other weeds, it presents a higher chance of harmful weeds to plants.
A hay bale garden needs less effort and minimal maintenance than a straw bale garden,
Unlike straw bales, you don’t need to apply fertilizer to hay. Hay has more nutrients in it. As the hay decomposes, there are more nutrients released.
Hays takes less water than straw because grasses preserve moisture efficiently. Gardening hays require water once a day instead of three times per day during summer.
Where to Buy Hay Bales
Farm and feed supply stores sell hay bales. You can also buy hay bales to local plant nurseries, and garden centers, even Amazon, Home Depot, or craft stores, sells hay bales. You may able to find local farmers who sell hay bales. Hay bales may be used for rustic furniture, outdoor dining, feeding, and bedding for livestock, and building projects. The cost of hay bales can differ based on how much hay you need and type; you should expect to pay from $125-$160 per ton.
There are two common bale types: large round and small rectangular ones. Huge round bales weigh hundreds of pounds, so even big machinery such as tractors have to push the hay bales. The rectangular hay bales, in contrast, are much smaller and weigh from five to fifty pounds. Find out more about garden hacks.
There you have the steps on how to prepare hay bales for gardening. Hay bales garden returns tremendous benefits for gardeners, which makes it a great gardening option. At the end of the plant growing season, the hay bales will make excellent compost. By spring, it will be ready to spray in your garden soil, that’s the ultimate recycled garden. Keep your hay bales garden watered whenever possible.