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Hay bales?? Empty Hay bales??

Post  Ange71 on 2/5/2015, 8:52 pm

Has anyone tried SFG with hay bales? I was wondering how you went??
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/5/2015, 9:25 pm

Ange;
If you put "hay bales" or "straw bales" into the search box, 3 or 4 threads will come up and there is some good information in them.  

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by SFG in straw bales - planting directly in the bales in a square foot garden density or using the bales around a sfg bed to raise the bed?  As to planting density, the mix is not nutritious enough to plant as densely as SFG.  You need to research the planting recommendations with the Bale gardens.  

I have done straw bale gardening (straw is better, less weeds) for 3 years but won't be doing any this year.  It was good for me as I was developing my gardens after moving here, but it does have draw backs.  If I moved to a new area and didn't have time to develop my ground or build SFG gardens I wouldn't hesitate to do them again, but the yield from them was lower than my other two garden systems.

Straw is not particularly nutritious, so you will have to fertilize.  You can use organics to fertilize, but it's not as good as using Mel's mix to grow with. 

The bales collapse during the season, if you have plants on a trellis the roots can be exposed causing problems.  However, if you are growing things that aren't tied to anything, they'll simply go down with the bales.  

I used the left over bales to mulch my existing gardens or for composting.  

One of the benefits of using straw bales can be for crops that get disease and thus can't be planted in the same soil.  Each year your "soil" is new, so if you're careful about cleaning the area your bales are going in you can have less disease.  Potatoes and tomatoes do well in them. 

Hope that helps,
Audrey
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Post  Marc Iverson on 2/6/2015, 12:40 am

I hadn't thought about that angle, Audrey. That bit about using bales for disease-prone plants is pretty sharp.
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Post  sanderson on 2/6/2015, 1:51 am

Hi, Marc happy hi

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Post  Ange71 on 2/6/2015, 2:29 am

Thanks Audrey,
I was wondering about using the same method for planting plants/seed as you would in the 4x4 box but instead using hay bales. I have read through a site but it never really gave information on SFG using the bales. We just purchased 10 bales to use for my daughters birthday party. so i might experiment with a couple bales and use the others for mulching my garden & pots..
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Post  plantoid on 2/6/2015, 7:54 am

Please folks do take note of the O/P's  words of   " HAY BALES " ....
 

Hay bales will bring in all manner of unwanted weed seeds , you have to do a real good " Berkely 21 day hot composting "  exercise to get rid of them and even so you still get the odd pernicious weed seed surviving .

 Straw on the other hand is reasonably free of weed seeds .

 Re:- The collapsing of the bales .
Wrap the bales right  round in a big sheet of heavy polythene or use a big roll of plastic food wrap up stuff and then wrap some garden netting around the bale , cut plant through holes  use liquid manures 7 water to get the decay of the straw to a plantable state ,  sow seed or  plant up and feed through the holes .
 The plastic will retain moisture and also keep the straw decaying , it will retain the nutrients far  better , the netting will retain the composting straw in a semblance of the original bale shape so you can use at a later date elsewhere .
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Post  sanderson on 2/6/2015, 11:38 am

Good catch. Bedding Straw vs. feed hay

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Post  Ange71 on 2/6/2015, 11:21 pm

Thanks plantoid..
i better get started on the 21 days of hot composting very soon. I read on how to do the hot composting it sounds pretty easy to do.
Think I will just try one bale and see how it goes.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 2/7/2015, 11:30 am

By the way Ange, you can grow directly in your hay bales once they're seasoned.  In one of the posts I listed the 10 day schedule of what you do to get them prepped.  They are more nutritious than straw and obviously require more weeding (or spraying with vinegar) to keep that down, but they will work for that as well as composting in a pile.
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