Hay bale gardening

By Jana E. Pye, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Do you want fresh vegetables but don’t have a lot of room to plant a garden? Or, perhaps you live in a rental property and don’t have permission to till up a garden spot? Hay bale gardening may be a great solution, and this is the perfect time to get started!

Hay bales ready to treat.

Hay bales ready to treat.

Ed and Anne Guest of Hartsville have perfected the art of hay bale gardening, and have shared their expertise with many people that have heard about it.

The Guest’s planted their first hay bale after they moved to Hartsville.

“We rented for the first few years after we married,” said Ed. “We were amazed how easy it was, and how healthy the plants were. And after we moved, all we had to do was spread some grass seed and straw and the grass grew right back.”

The Guest’s purchase their bales of hay from Northside Feed and Tack in North Hartsville. They lace the bale with 34-0-0 fertilizer for four (4) days and soak it thoroughly every day.

Hay bales week 2, with top soil, ready to plant.

Hay bales week 2, with top soil, ready to plant.

“In about another week, the hay will have decomposed sufficiently to allow us to place top soil on top – reckon that’s why they call it top soil!” said Ed, with his signature laugh.

“After that, we can insert tomatoes and other plant sets in the bales as well as establish hills with seed for squash, zucchini and other veggies, including sweet potatoes. If you think you don’t have a place for a garden, think of this concept. You can place it anywhere. Place it on a sunny spot on a patio or driveway and it will produce.”

For the eight bales of hay the Guest’s planted, they used approximately five (5) bags of topsoil, which ended up being about an inch and a half soil on top of each bale.The bales of hay can be used again for a winter garden.

Hay bale garden last summer at Ed and Anne Guest’s home.

Hay bale garden last summer at Ed and Anne Guest’s home.

“Some directions say use straw, not hay,” said Ed. “I’ve always used hay with no problems such as weeds that are mentioned in some articles.”

Ed recommends that gardeners check out the following two websites for great instructions: http://strawbalegardens.com/ and the Bonnie Plants guide at the www.bonnieplants.com.

Author: Duane Childers

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