We always enjoy sharing new gardening tips with our Utah friends and neighbors, and this is one easiest and most fun options we’ve seen in a while.
Hay bale gardening is a simple and inexpensive way to grow your garden and it provides some benefits you might not otherwise enjoy. Let’s take a look at how you can try this gardening tip at your home!
The Advantages of Hay Bale Gardening
As you may have guessed, this gardening tip is exactly what it sounds like: growing your garden in hay bales
One of the greatest advantages of this approach is that the bales of hay create raised beds all on their own. No having to build or buy your raised beds and fill them with garden soil, mulch or soil amendments.
Without any of the cost or effort, you can enjoy all the benefits of raised beds. This means no bending or kneeling to plant or care for your outdoor plants. Raised beds put your treasures out of reach of predators and practically eliminate weeds.
Growing Outdoor Plants in Hay Bales is Super Easy
Another reason we love this gardening tip is that hay bales eliminate the need for garden soil, mulch and compost.
Because hay is made from dried grasses, it’s self-composting. The chemical processes that go on inside the bales break down the natural components of the dried grass, creating all the nutrition your plants need. They also hold water exceptionally well, cutting down on the frequency you need to water your plants.
Many gardeners advocate using straw bales for this purpose. However, straw bales don’t hold water as well, they require the addition of fertilizers to keep plants healthy and most are made from genetically modified plant materials such as corn stalks or soy plants.
How to Grow Plants in Hay Bales
Obtain hay bales from a local farmer (check your local classified ads or Craigslist to find them), and arrange them in the garden to your liking. Every other day for ten days, sprinkle each bale with one-half cup of 42-0-0 nitrogen, then spray it down with water. On the alternate days, soak the bales well with water.
This will create a heat reaction inside the bale that begins breaking the hay down into organic components. Be sure to keep the bales wet and away from the house or other structures, to prevent any unexpected problems with the heat reaction.
Once you’re done conditioning the bales, they’re ready to plant.
Simply select the plants you want to grow and plant them in the bales as you would anywhere else. Over the course of the growing season, the bales will break down and create a lush pile of compost for conditioning your soil.
Millcreek Gardens is the perfect location to source all of your outdoor plants, shrubs and trees. Visit us for the fresh fruits and vegetables you want to plant in your hay bale garden, as well as for all the gardening supplies you need year around.
While you’re in, be sure to talk to our helpful associates for even more Utah gardening tips!