Hay Bale Gardening – First Try

hay bale

hay bale

My summer is never complete without some fresh dill from the backyard!
Last year I planted it in pots on my back deck.  But this year I wanted to try something different.

Here in Alabama, the soil is very tough to dig up, as it is mostly clay.  Since I didn’t want to hire anyone  to prepare my plant beds, I wanted to do something else.

This is where straw/hay bale gardening comes in.  You just set up hay bales and plant your stuff in them!

Pardon the wooden boards next to the straw bales.  We just finished building the deck and so that’s where they ended up.
I got my inspiration from a book by this guy Joel Karsten.
I got the book from the Amazon first and then set out to get this going.
The best part about this garden is that it waters itself!  It’s set up with a soaker hose, and water timer.  Make sure you set up the bales in a row so you can run the hose along it.
Grape tomatos did pretty well in the straw.
The regular size ones did not.  I admit I did not feed the plants as well as I should have.  Maybe that was why.

I think what did best was the herbs.  The dill suffered toward the end of summer, which I was very sad about!  I had lemon thyme, genovese basil, onion chives and mint.

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I planted some things into the side of the bales.  Those did great.  (Except for the watermelon.  It never did bloom)  I had some impatience leftover from other pots, so I put them into the side of the bales.  The above is a salad pepper plant, which didn’t produce much at all.
And yes, that is a pizza pool float in the background!
Overall, I’d say that this was a success.  It has a few failures as well.
If you have ever tried this and have tips, please comment and let me know what to do better next year!
 Read the book Straw Bale Gardens Complete to find out how to do this garden.


One comment on “Hay Bale Gardening – First Try

  1. This looks great, I've never gardened using hale bales for planting. I've used them as a raised bed frame and that worked pretty good. I'm just not sure how well it would do in our area. I'm in Texas and it gets so hot in July and August. I might have to research this idea some more.

    Carole West @ Garden Up Green

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