The Future of Gardening: Hay and Straw Bale

hay gardeningjpgHaving your own garden is a tremendous advantage as you get to plant whatever fruits and vegetables you want, without depending on a store and with far less money. We live tough times in which we have no idea what exactly we eat from the stores. Not to mention that in a survival situation, going shopping for vegetables and fruits is not on the list. It is always better to have your own supplies, because you do not need to depend on anyone else. However, growing your own garden can also be tricky and it has its secrets. Traditional gardening teaches us a lot of things that you need to take into consideration. However, there is a simple and effective “no work” gardening method. All you have to do is plant directly into bales of straw. As the seasons change, the straw is broken down into virgin soil that feeds the plants from inside the bale.

I strongly believe that hay bale gardening is just what everyone is looking for: cheap, easy and no need for fertilizers or pesticides.

What Are The Advantages Of Hay Bale Gardening?

This method is simply great, and here are some of the reasons why:

  • Any kind of soil will do, as it is not the most important criteria that you need to take into consideration. However, it is best if you have a high quality soil in order to grow a garden. You could be living on the rockiest top of the highest mountain and still be able to grow your own vegetables.
  • It is completely organic. You do not need pesticides to grow a bale garden. Your crops are naturally protected against weeds and harmful insects.
  • It’s low maintenance, which means no more digging and weeding!
  • It is cheap, as both straw and hay bales are inexpensive.
  • It does not use many resources, not even much water. Not to mention the fact that even the workload is much smaller than normal.

Straw or Hay?

hay or strawBoth methods have advantages and disadvantages. Straw bales are usually cheaper than hay bales. However, hay seems to generate a more nutritious compost than straw.

In addition, hay is said to hold more water than straw. On the other hand, hay bales contain many seeds that can cause trouble if they resist the relatively high temperatures generated during the conditioning process. 

What Type of Straw/Hay is Good?

Those who experienced this method for a while state that wheat, oats, rye, and barley straw are some of the most suitable for growing a garden. This is because these plants are harvested for grains, which means that there will be practically no seeds left in the straw bale. If you like hay bales, choose pea, vetch, or alfalfa.

The best thing that you can do when thinking about your resources is to use whatever is available in your area; but, if you have the opportunity and possibility to choose, you should avoid corn and flax bales as they take longer to decompose.

How To Make Your Own Garden:

make your ownWhile making your own garden, always keep in mind the fact that the bales are almost impossible to move once the gardening process begins. This means that you need to make sure that they are places in the proper place. Take some time to consider the placing options before starting the process.

Once you have decided where to place them, lay down some galvanized wire bird netting. The reason you are doing this is that it keeps away rats and digging moles, which you surely do not want around your garden.

Next, make sure that you purchase bales that are tied with plastic or wire twine. If the twine is degradable, it will soon be damaged and useless.

Now you need to arrange the bales in such a way that the straw stalks are horizontal. This will help retain more water inside of it. If you place them vertically, the water will simply run through. However, the truth is that planting is easier with vertical straw, so it is up to you to decide which is the best way for you.

After the bales are all in their place, it is time to begin the first phase of starting the garden: Conditioning the Bales.

Soak them with plenty of water and make sure that they don’t dry at all during the next five days whilst the temperature rises and they start rotting inside.

Once the five days have passed, you can start planting in about one to two weeks.

You can speed up the process by using ammonium nitrate as it is high in nitrogen and promotes bacterial growth, the same bacteria that are involved in rotting the straw. If you choose to do so, the bales should be watered 10 days in a row: days 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 using the ammonium nitrate and days: 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 with plain water.

As you may be interested in growing a healthy garden, you can find a more natural way to speed up the rotting process. One way to do this is to spray a layer of organic fertilizer on the bales right before starting the watering process. Chicken, turkey, or rabbit manure and even coffee grounds are great organic fertilizers that you can use.

When the conditioning process is over, all you need to do is plant the seeds, germinated seeds or small plants inside the bales. Make sure that the temperature inside is adequate; otherwise, it may damage your plants. It is okay if it’s a little bit warmer than the exterior because this will improve the growing of the root.

What Are The Appropriate Plants For Your Bale Garden?

veggThe tremendous thing about this type of garden is that you can grow pretty much everything. All annual vegetables and herbs are going to love it; however, try to avoid heavy plants such as corn. You can successfully grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, zucchini, melons, beans and peas, leafy vegetables, eggplants, and pretty much anything that you can think of.

Should you start your own garden, this is the best way to do it, with little effort and maximum results. Keep in mind that in the case of a disaster, you are only going to have your own belongings. Make sure that they are not represented only by bug out bags and devices; you are also going to need food, and this is the easiest way to make sure that you don’t lack any of it.






What would you plant in your own garden? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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