Creating a DIY Hale Bale Garden is easier than you think!
I really wanted to create a garden in my backyard, but I am really not good at it. To make matters worse, when I moved to North Carolina I realized I could not even dig a hole in the hard clay in my backyard. I decided to build raised flower beds, fill them with soil, and design a new garden, but then I realized I just did not want the work and expense, especially since I would probably kill every plant. I saw a hay bale garden in a neighbor’s yard and thought, “Hey, I can do that!”.
It has been great family project, it is a simple alternative to digging in rock hard soil, it’s fun for kids, and easy to care for.
The first year, we started with three bales of hay, and put them in a sunny location. We kept the bales bound, and soaked them thoroughly. We used a shovel to slightly separate the hay a bit so it was not so tight, and we also pulled out a few chucks of hay to make some space. We poured a few bags of top soil and manure on the bales, forcing the mixture to fall inside.
For our first garden, we used only annuals and vegetables. We chopped small holes in the hay, and planted right into the bale, adding a little more soil. I also planted around the base.
This garden will start to decay at the end of the season, and can be turned over for another year, used as compost, or expanded.
Last year, we used the original three bales, turned them over, and outlined them with several fresh bales, creating a new hay bale garden with a composted center. We soaked them well, and added a mixture of top soil, peat moss and manure to the center. We also poured some dirt mixture over the fresh bales and planted a much larger garden. It was amazing, we could not believe the size of our vegetables, and how beautiful our flowers were. My herbs have survived the winter and I enjoy them daily.
This Mother’s Day, I have plans to expand my garden using the rich composted soil I have made over the past two seasons. Hay bale gardening has enabled me to enjoy doing something I am not very good at! HA!
What You Need for Your Own DIY Hale Bale Garden
- Hay Bales
- Top Soil
- Peat Moss
- Plants of Your Choice
Best Time to Plant Your Hale Bale Garden
Plant your annuals or vegetables based on individual planting instructions, after danger of frost is over.
Full Sun or Partial Sun
Assemble your garden based on what you will plant, at least 4 hours of sun is suggested. If one area is more shaded, plant some shade plants there.
How Often to Water
You can soak the bales well a few days before planting to prepare them. Keep the garden very wet the first few days after planting. When hay bales are really soaked well, they hold moisture. Peat moss needs a lot of water to get soaked well, and will also hold moisture.
Water plants as needed through out the season and watch your garden grow!