1

Hay bale gardening is probably the most fun you’ll have growing your own food and herbs, requiring almost no work or maintenance.

After a search online to find the simplest and easiest “no work” gardening method, I stumbled upon straw bale gardening.  The concept is simple: You plant directly into bales of straw, and as the season progresses, the straw is broken down into virgin soil that nourishes the plants from inside the bale.  One amazing benefit of this method of gardening is that the bales provide a raised bed, which keeps predators away and makes picking your vegetal treasures at the end of the season easy on the back.  I watched every video I could find on the subject, and have since concluded that using HAY bales instead of STRAW bales is far superior.

Why Hay Bales are Superior to Straw Bales?

Before we get into why hay bales are superior to straw bales, let’s first define what they are:
Straw bales are basically stalks of plants, usually corn, that have been dried out and baled together into various shapes and sizes.
Hay bales are grasses that have been dried and baled together.

In my research, the idea that hay bales may have seeds in them and could grow weeds is the same reasoning reiterated time and time again by proponents of straw bale gardening.  The reason why this idea holds little water is that when nitrogen is added to feed the bacteria and fungi to start the decomposition process of the bale, a process called “Conditioning your bale”, the interior of the bale can reach temperatures as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

The likelihood of seeds surviving these extreme temperatures is slim, and a number of other benefits that come from using hay bales make it a far superior approach in my opinion.

-Straw is likely made from genetically modified plant matter – The problem with straw bales is that they will usually be made of genetically modified corn or soy.  Do you really want your food growing in decomposing genetically modified plant matter?


RECOMMENDED:

The Lost Ways…a true story about our grandparents days!

Turn Back the Clock 150 Years:  The Lost Ways is an amazing program created to find out how our grand parents has survived in their crisis and they make us to learn the little secrets that helped them to survive in spite of almost everyone else dying. Now this is your chance to be part of saving our ancestors’ lost ways. Just I hope that there are more people like you and me who deeply believe that the best way to survive the next major crisis to look back at how people did things 150 years ago…..Watch this wonderful video

 


-No fertilizer needed with hay – Hay is made of dried grasses, and for its ability to convert sunlight and soil minerals into dense nutrition, it has been said that grass is the healthiest plant on the planet.  When we use hay bales for gardening (as opposed to straw bales), the compost that is formed within the bale to feed the plants is far superior in nutrition and, unlike straw bales, no fertilizer needs to be added to feed your plants throughout the season.

-Less Watering – Straw holds water less effectively than hay, so instead of watering once per day with hay bales, you might have to do it 2 or 3 times per day.I like your concept

How to Grow a Hay Bale Garden

1

The first step to growing a hay bale garden is to acquire your hay bales.  Take a look on your local classifieds like Kijiji or Craigslist and find a local farmer who is selling them.  Once you find a nearby farmer with 40lb hay bales for sale, email them and arrange a time to pick them up or have them delivered to you.

READ MORE:

Hay-Bale Garden Update For Spring: Happy Growing! Success!


Once you have the bales and have arranged them in your yard, the next step is to “condition” your bales.  Buy yourself some 42-0-0 fertilizer, or some urea (nitrogen), and from here you will be introducing nitrogen into the bales over a 10-day period that will have the fungi, bacteria and insects breaking down your bales into fresh, virgin compost to feed your plants.  You can also pee on your bales, as it is high in nitrogen and minerals, so start saving up pee in bottles for a fertilizer cost savings of about $40.

Days 1,3,5,7,9 – Add 1/2 cup of nitrogen to your bales and spray them with water so the nitrogen will soak in.
Days 2,4,6,8,10 – Soak the bale with water only.

1

During the conditioning process, the temperature of the bale will rise significantly, from my research, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the bales will become so hot that it’s important to keep the bales wet to eliminate the risk of a fire.  Although risk of fire is minimal, keep this in mind when deciding where to stage your bales.  When the conditioning process is complete, you’ll know it because the temperature inside the bale will have come back down from hot to warm.  Now you’re ready to plant!

Simply plant your vegetable seeds or germinated seeds into the bale, water them once a day and you’re on your way to healthy produce in a few exciting months.  The best part is, at the end of the season you’ll have yourself a heap of fresh compost that you can further compost or add to your other gardens or perennial plant beds for nourishment.


DIY Home Energy SystemLearn how to produce off-grid power-How to Slash Your Power Bill by up to 75% (or more) in less than 30 days – Guaranteed!

For more information,updates and useful links,please visit our facebook page:

“The Garden Prepper”

See the video below for more information on how to get started:

Once Upon a Time in America…Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800s for up to three years?Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were the last generation to practice the basic things that we call survival skills now. ….

How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican?Watch this video and you will find many interesting things!

By,Mark David

Source:https://www.endalldisease.com

Other useful resources:

Pioneer Survival - Lessons We Should All Learn
Alive After The Fall (Advice onto handling crisis situations )
US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
2017-04-06T21:50:27+00:00

About the Author:

163 Comments

  1. Ken Boschert October 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Ah, straw bales are made from wheat stalks, not corn or soybeans. Hay bales are full of seeds of the grasses and weeds from the field where they were bailed. You would probably have a HUGE weed problem with a hay bale garden and very few weeds in a straw bale garden.

    • David January 23, 2016 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Hay is harvested before the grass goes to seed.

      • PhD in Agriculture January 24, 2016 at 12:47 am - Reply

        Most hey contains mixed grasses and there will be plenty of seeds of the grasses and any weeds that are present in the field. And the conditioning mentioned here will do little to wipe out the majority of the seeds.

        • Charlotte April 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

          “And the conditioning mentioned here will do little to wipe out the majority of the seeds.”

          If you let your bales heat up properly, you will have very little to no problem with weed seeds.

          • Jr April 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm

            But then, PhD in Agriculture has a PhD in Agriculture.

          • Sam Minick February 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

            The outside of the Bale does not heat up enough to kill weed seed. There are seeds through out the bale. I am a commercial composter. The picture used is a bale of wheat straw.

        • Charlotte April 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm - Reply

          Experience has been the better teacher.

      • Tracy February 7, 2016 at 4:58 am - Reply

        Hay is not harvested before grass goes to seed. Much of the nutritional content of hay is from the seed heads of the hay, if it is a grass hay. With alfalfa, you are a little more correct- depending upon the cutting, about 10% on average will be in full bloom, some will be in seed, others will not. This is not counting any weeds (thistle, etc) that are thriving in the hay, especially if it is an “organic” field. Either way, Straw is from Wheat, Oat, and Barley, NOT CORN NOT SOY. Straw holds moisture better than grass or alfalfa could as well. Straw is also much, much cheaper to buy vs hay in the vast majority of areas.

        • Jr April 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm - Reply

          Quite the contrary. When you let grass, [Timothy or Alfalfa] go to seed you loose up to 30% of nutrition. Also, the time of day that it is cut has a high degree of the nutrition content.
          see http://www.anderson-hay.com/blog/bid/99949/Timothy-Hay-What-Cutting-is-Better-for-Horses.

          • Justin February 13, 2017 at 5:48 am

            Alfalfa is not a grass, it is a forb.

        • Trent Hudson November 7, 2016 at 12:53 am - Reply

          Thank you, that was really bugging me. Have cut and baled hay(gone to seed by the way), and straw after the wheat is harvested all of my life but have never seen nor have I heard of corn or bean straw. I have cut hay beans though. That is soy beans grown solely for the purpose of cutting them for hay.

      • mandy February 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm - Reply

        Not always harvested before sets seed.

        • agirlwithaguitar December 12, 2016 at 4:46 am - Reply

          Can you re-use the bales for another season or do you need new ones every spring?

          • Ranchwife February 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm

            You will need new ones because the bales will break down during the conditioning process and throughout the rest of the growing season. But you can throw them in a compost pile, turn it occasionally throughout the winter, and you will have great stuff to add to next years garden!

      • Carla Fisher February 8, 2017 at 11:34 pm - Reply

        Hay is grown in fields with all kinds of plants.
        I have tried both types of bales garden grew mucho better with straw bales.
        The hay sprouted hay and grass and was very difficult to keep wet. Straw is pretty hollow an holds water better.
        With hay I had to go out with scissors and cut the hay and grass that was growing at least once a week. Hay will mold also.
        I start composting my straw bales in late autumn by watering them. In early spring I water in compost accelerater 2 times a week. You can also water in coffee grounds. I recommend wrapping additional chicken wire or wire around the sides of the bales to keep them from falling apart especially in case your wire rusts apart.
        Use a soaker hose on your bales, stake the hose going back and forth to cover the top of your bales.
        Put squash and cucumbers on the ends of the bales, they are going to spread across the ground big time. I learn a new lesson about what to do and not do every year.

        • Nancy Cook February 10, 2017 at 2:08 pm - Reply

          Thank you for the tips.

        • me February 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

          you should use plastic fencing instead of metallic its cheaper and reusable

      • Debbie February 13, 2017 at 2:03 am - Reply

        You can’t guarantee seed free hay. First cut always,has seeds as it has winter rye and,weed seed.

      • lorrie February 15, 2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

        Only in perfect growing conditions and only in a perfect bale will you be able to claim that.

    • Helen Thompson January 24, 2016 at 5:12 am - Reply

      Unless it is pea straw!

    • Mel February 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Agree 100%. I have enough weeds to pull in the straw bales. I have learned to just let it be because it dies out eventually and just adds to the bale by decomposing. The Author doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about. If you used hay your plants would be choked out in a matter of weeks!

      • Tony February 5, 2016 at 11:48 pm - Reply

        Ummmm… No. We have been gardening with hay bales for several seasons now, and while we do get some oat “weeds”, they have no effect on the primary plants we lay into the bales. Tomatoes, peas, peppers, carrots, potatoes, etc have all come through fabulously.

        • agirlwithaguitar December 12, 2016 at 4:47 am - Reply

          Can you re-use the bales for another season or do you need new ones every spring?

        • Debi Graham February 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm - Reply

          Pardon my ignorance, with there being any problem with mold?

          • Jim Willbern February 21, 2017 at 12:39 am

            Are you the Dedi Graham that lives in Austin TX? Jim W

        • An actual farmer February 12, 2017 at 1:36 pm - Reply

          Why would there be “oat weeds” in hay bales? Oats would be considered straw.

        • lorrie February 15, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

          Oat weeds? Then you are using a straw bale, even if it is cut green for green oat hay. Oats are a cover crop for hay and taken off before the hay is ready. Hay is a mixture of grasses and legumes – and unfortunately many weeds usually. Oats are a grain along with barley and wheat. So many misunderstandings about what hay is. Hay will also mold quickly when left outside. I’m not sure that would be a great place to pull food from.

      • Julia July 11, 2016 at 3:55 am - Reply

        I have gorgeous hay bale garden this year and no weeds. Proof of fact. Cant say what straw does but hay is a winner for me.

      • Carla Fisher February 8, 2017 at 11:35 pm - Reply

        Yup

    • lily longflower February 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      the high temperature of compost that is really cooking will take care of weed seeds.

    • sandy February 28, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      I have some hay sitting in my yard that has been there since October… it has been rained on and everything else and NOTHING is growing out of it!

    • Bill Darcy November 6, 2016 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      You are correct. The author doesn’t know of what they speak. Just guessing, straw bales would be best for this because there should be few seeds.

    • Joe November 8, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      The makeup of straw bales is primarily the same leftovers from mass production field crops. Depending on where you are from depends what donor crop they come from whether it is wheat south Central and southern us corn Midwest great Plains aad soy beans. However anyone who has ever been in any mass production field will tell you that is not the only thing that grows in them.

    • Janet Pope February 10, 2017 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      How do the plants get nutrition ?

    • Mjh February 11, 2017 at 12:33 am - Reply

      I use Bermuda grass hay. I’ve been doing this three years. No seeds. No weeds. Works fine!
      One of the issues people on the group I’m in have had is that a lot of straw is now hit with glyphosphate just before harvest to dry it in the field. Their seeds aren’t germinating and plants are dying or stunted.

    • Penny O'Brien February 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      You are so right. Straw on the west coast can be the left over product from wheat, barley, oats, even give. The bales are usually between 50 and 100 lbs. The wet bales may sprout whatever the bale is (i.e. oats, etc) but they can be easily plucked out. Hay bale, again on the west coast, usually weigh minimum 100 lbs. And are usually 2 to 3 times the price of straw. That’s for alfalfa. Some grass hsys are more expensive. Your fears of gardening with GMOs are groundless. Do some research- unbiased research. Genetically modified engineering goes way back, long before it became an unfounded reason for hysteria. It is one of the ways we will be able to feed a rapidly growing worldwide population.

    • I'm retired February 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      In Iowa, straw bales are made of oat stalks after the oat seed has been harvested. We do have corn stalk bales but those are sent to ethanol facilities for processing. I can see farmers slapping their heads wondering where the author of this article got his information.

    • Cat February 13, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Absolutely, Ken.. David, straw is never made of corn stalks, which would make terrible bedding for animals, straw’s primary use… I am fourth generation farm girl and straw on our farm comes as a byproduct of oat or grain production. Also, David, hay is sometimes harvested when there are already seeds in it, especially since it is often multiple crops growing together which do not go to seed at the same time.

    • Lou A Choates April 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      If you read the article……nitrogen causes the temperature of hay bales to reach 130º_140º. All seeds would die.

  2. David October 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Straw is usually wheat which is non GMO. Not soybeans? Or corn. Also I wouldn’t email your farmer about hay, call ir text if you want a quick response.

    • rich October 22, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      Most wheat is now gmo said to say

      • Kyle January 18, 2016 at 3:58 pm - Reply

        Actually there is no GMO wheat approved for production. Most straw bales are one of several small grain species such as wheat, rye, oats or barley. None of which has any GMO’s on the market.

        • Carrie April 5, 2016 at 6:40 pm - Reply

          Where did you get this information? For years now, I’ve heard much of the wheat in the U.S. is genetically modified as is soy and corn, though I realize hay does not come from soy or corn. lol I couldn’t believe I was reading that. That being said, hay or straw, there is a high chance of something not being completely clean or “right”, either GMO, or chemical fertilizer/weed killer has been applied.

          • Dee Frank November 9, 2016 at 2:47 am

            Wheat is often sprayed with Round-up (glyphosate), the weed killer that GMO crops are created to be resistant to. It acts as a desiccant to dry crops just prior to harvesting. Glyphosate is being found to be responsible for many unhealthy human conditions: at parts per TRILLION, found to cause breast cancer cells to proliferate.

          • Keith Miller November 9, 2016 at 3:03 am

            There is no approved GMO small grains grown commercially in the United States. I am a Anti-GMO activist, I would know if they were growing GMO wheat. The only GMO wheat that has been grown is in test sites and some illegally grown in Oregon a couple of years ago

          • Miriam Iwashige February 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm

            I am a farm kid from the breadbasket of the US–Kansas. Spraying Roundup on wheat before harvest “never” happens here. Wheat almost always dries off completely naturally before harvest. If this happens at all, I’m guessing it happens only where humidity is high and rainfall is abundant–which does not describe an optimum wheat growing climate. Roundup is too expensive to use if it’s not necessary, and it’s not necessary in most wheat-producing areas.

  3. Wino October 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    The author has no clue what they are talking about. Straw is made from wheat or barley stems not corn or soy beans. There is no gmo barley or wheat being grown. At least not legally.

  4. Jerry Knipfel October 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    You are wrong about the straw. It is straw baled from wheat stalks not corn. Better check with the farmers before you say something you don’t know about

    • Joe November 8, 2016 at 8:24 pm - Reply

      That again all depends on where you live

  5. Christy October 21, 2015 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    LOL, Thanks Jerry and David for saying what the rest of us who know better were thinking.. I have never in my life seen a bale of straw baled from corn or soybeans.. first of all.. Bean stalk is non exsistent when cut as it is cut nearly all the way to the ground and second.. Corn stalk is usually baled into large round bales for cattle feed.. as it does not make very good small bales.. and I LOVE the GMO Link.. these fools latch onto anything dont they .. They do realize that GMO simply put is Crossbreeding for selective traits right? so we dont HAVE to use as much pesticide and herbicide?? But aside from that GMO debate, which this is not about.. I cant imagine that growing plants in hay would work.. you would need some soil .. so I suppose if you punched holes in the Hay and filled them with potting soil and planted your plants. that might work.. BUT.. seems like a good waste of a food source for animals.. OH and as far as “pest animals” NOT eating hay.. UHM this person is smoking crack.. Rabbits and deer would love nothing more than to have an appetizer of some delicious Hay along with the veggies you have planted in them.. Straw they will not eat.. as straw is used as mulch and bedding.. NOW>. I suggest the city slickers stick to drinking coffe and talking a philosophy and leave the farming to those of us who have been doing it a year or two.

    • Maggie Laird March 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      They do bale soybean plants after harvesting beans .

    • Charlotte April 16, 2016 at 4:33 am - Reply

      Hay is all I use and I can barely walk through my garden because of the abundance of growth. If you condition your hay bales, the same as the straw, it turns into dirt. (It composts and in the process it feeds your plants.) So, no, the deer and rabbits are not going to want to eat it. My sheep certainly don’t. Don’t knock it until you try it.

      • Wendy kaubisch April 20, 2016 at 3:30 pm - Reply

        Such arguing going on about this. Which is good as education can ensue. I’ve tried a little Bale gardening and had a lot of weeds. Some plants did good, others not so much. I will do some with broken haygrass bales this year but I never put my eggs in one basket!

      • Bill Darcy November 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm - Reply

        Charlotte, how the f do you condition hay bales? Useable composted hay would take several years.

        • Charlotte Odum January 8, 2017 at 3:27 am - Reply

          Bill, I wish I could upload the pictures I took of the composted hay I pulled out of what’s left of my bales just a few weeks ago. It was loose, black dirt. And what was left of my basil plant, or I should say bush, that stood almost as tall as my cattle panels (almost 4 ft)…after I had cut off what I wanted to harvest (2 Wal-Mart grocery bags full.) My okra stalks were 2 inches in diameter. The marigold plants (bushes) were 3.5-4 feet across. The rosemary was about 20 inches tall and bushy. Way too many cukes. I harvested green beans until the end of November. Etc, etc…. The bales were laid out early March and our garden was planted in April.

          I don’t know what else to tell you, except it works for me.

          • Audrey W February 9, 2017 at 2:25 pm

            Charlotte, where do you live to get these results and do you condition the bales as instructed in the article?

        • Ranchwife February 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

          Read the article again. There are conditioning instructions towards the end. It includes a schedule to follow when applying fertilizer and water to the bales to start the break down process of the hay.

    • sue hanson April 17, 2016 at 12:37 am - Reply

      There is a difference between real GMO – genetically modified crops – and crossbreeding. GMO introduces DNA from animals into plants. It’s nasty stuff and dangerous to consume. crossbreeding is just combining two different strains of the same plant in order to create a stronger, healthier plant.

    • Sherrie April 24, 2016 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Awe, come on Christy, everyone has a learning curve.

    • Julia July 11, 2016 at 4:01 am - Reply

      Ha! I have deer and rabbits in my city slicker subdivision, I also have a hay bale garden with no weeds, planted without soil or ammendments, and it is wonderful. I havent had a problem losing plants to the animals, probably from my use of bloodmeal… But what do I know… *sipping coffee*

    • Henry November 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm - Reply

      GMO is not selective breeding and is created through genetic manipulation not availabe in nature between two different species. It does not create a need for less pesticides as it leads to super strains of bugs and weeds creating a need for more nor less pesticides. Do some real research.

    • Sandy Jones November 3, 2016 at 1:08 am - Reply

      I agree with what you said. We baled straw after we harvest the oats. Our hay came from a combination of brome grass and alfalfa but never out of soybeans or corn stalks.

    • MArk Mayberry-Billiot November 3, 2016 at 4:22 am - Reply

      you DO NOT understand GMO at all
      crossbreeding is NOT GMO
      GMO is gene splicing and is always BAD and most commercial seeds are GMO these days
      need organic stuff even some grasses are GMO

    • Jane Besmehn November 6, 2016 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Straw is the left over stalk after a grain like oats has been harvested. It is useful as bedding for cattle and other livestock, and I’m sure there are a number of other things it can be used for.

    • craig corbett November 7, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

      Here Here, the plants are just surviving on all the nitrogen soakd into the bale, which will make most things bolt, ie all stalk, not composting material wether straw or hay..too acidic. grow in good soil, simple

    • Lillian November 7, 2016 at 3:40 am - Reply

      Actually, crossbreeding or hybridizing is very different from GMO which uses high tech to splice in foreign genes which would never be able to be bred into a plant through simple crossbreeding.

    • Becky February 10, 2017 at 6:10 am - Reply

      We use small square bales of soybean stems for bedding on our farm. We also make small bales of corn stalks to use for bedding. We live in WI and farm 180 acres.

      • PrairieMark February 15, 2017 at 12:40 am - Reply

        I get a kick out of all the negative comments. Farmers and gardeners can be so critical of others…..and often they think the whole world should do things as their local community does. There are as many ways of farming as there are farmers. Same goes for gardeners. So far I have not tried gardening using hay bales like this but I think it would work. I used to pile all my cottonwood tree leaves in the fall and grow very good squash and pumpkins from them with no soil. I have farmed most of my life and have seen almost the crop residue baled from almost every crop grown.

    • Sarah February 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Good call on the GMO. Not to mention, they are worried about growing food in GMO straw but NOT worried about growing it in straw they’ve peed on???

    • Penny O'Brien February 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      You are so right. Straw on the west coast can be the left over product from wheat, barley, oats, even give. The bales are usually between 50 and 100 lbs. The wet bales may sprout whatever the bale is (i.e. oats, etc) but they can be easily plucked out. Hay bale, again on the west coast, usually weigh minimum 100 lbs. And are usually 2 to 3 times the price of straw. That’s for alfalfa. Some grass hsys are more expensive. Your fears of gardening with GMOs are groundless. Do some research- unbiased research. Genetically modified engineering goes way back, long before it became an unfounded reason for hysteria. It is one of the ways we will be able to feed a rapidly growing worldwide population.

  6. Donna October 22, 2015 at 12:19 am - Reply

    You are wrong about straw, can come from many different form , we as farmers grown lucene,lupins and pea, which has the highest nitrogen, hay has rye and clover with a mix of other depending on what the farm is cutting for hay and depending when he has cut it, eg silage or hay, using hay in your garden with promote weeds from the grasses harvested

  7. Michelle October 22, 2015 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Raised on a farm and now city slicker here! I’ve done this two seasons now and in MN, it does extend the growing season by a couple weeks. I’ve done both straw and hay and they break down rather quickly producing soil. It’s kind of like when your compost pile starts to sprout plants of what you’ve thrown in there. I’m with you commenters on the straw and GMO thing, however. Also, they get warm, but as far as getting hot enough to start on fire? I don’t buy it. I stick my cold hand into the side and feel warmth and then I know they’re ready to plant in. It has been a wonderful and quick way to start my urban garden until I can get some raised beds built though and my vegetables have done MUCH better than my moms up on the farm. I especially recommend this method for vegetables that love nitrogen, like tomatoes.

    • Frank January 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      Ask any member of a rural volunteer fire department about hay fires. It usually begins in large stacks of bales, but I have seen it start on trailer loads in the field only stacked three high.

      • Michelle January 21, 2016 at 6:26 am - Reply

        The difference is that while hay or straw bale gardening you’re watering them daily and they are in single rows, not “stacks.” The bacteria required to make them warm also requires moisture, so getting hot enough to start on fire while you are bale gardening is not going to happen. Stacks of dry bales, sure, that makes sense, but is not really what this article or these comments are talking about.

    • Amanda February 10, 2017 at 2:53 am - Reply

      My friends entire warehouse full of hay just burned to the ground a couple months ago…so please, tell me how hay won’t get hot enough to combust!

      • An actual farmer February 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm - Reply

        They have to be packed tightly together to combust.

  8. Melissa October 22, 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

    Yes this does work. Also no straw is without weed seeds so you will still get weeds and just as many if not more if you live in the country where weed seeds are dropped by birds or blowing in the wind. Yes hay can catch fire, usually happens when put up while to green and over packed in a pile which condenses the heat. Straw however has lost most of it’s moisture and all of it’s nutritional value and is dryer in nature, less fire risk. As far as GMO’s go they are not just a breeding to reduce pesticides needed, Gmo products (seeds) contain stuff like human DNA and scorpion DNA among many many other things we should not be allowing in our foods. This is also a very expensive way to garden and a mess to clean up. Straw is bad for having mice and mice feces in it, hence the old saying field mice. One would be safer throwing old straw out in a bun and letting it age a year getting rain and such on it and turning into more of a soil type substance before using. I have tried just about every garden technique around. Honestly the square foot gardening unless you can afford hydroponics or one of the other variations of such remains my favorite. Country girl for almost 50 years!

    • Kyle January 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      There is no GMO seed in production that contains human or scorpion Dna. The vast majority of GMO dna material comes from other plants or bacteria who produce a favorable trait for disease or insect resistance. Take a look at the Florida orange industry, it’s going to be saved from orange greening by taking a gene from spinage. The gene from spinage helps the orange tree resist the greening disease.

      • wally February 11, 2017 at 11:24 pm - Reply

        WTF is spinage?

    • PhD in Agriculture January 24, 2016 at 12:55 am - Reply

      Mellisa human DNA!? Scorpion DNA? Where in the world did you hear this? There are no I repeat no animal genes that have been introduced to row crops that are for food production. Period. Anyone who says otherwise is at best misinformed and worst lying.

  9. Jaspher October 22, 2015 at 11:24 am - Reply

    all i know is bale is used to feed ruminants during dry season. and now converted into successful planting ingredients. amazing idea…. i love it and cant wait to try it…

  10. Anthea October 23, 2015 at 3:51 am - Reply

    FYI straw is not made from corn or soy beans. It is usually made from wheat , and less often barley

  11. Dale Ketcheson October 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Lots of misinformation here. For one thing, the term “straw” overwhelming refers to small grain residue, like barley, wheat or oats. Not usually corn as stated. And particularly with small square bales it would be very rare to find corn or soybean residue baled as straw. There are no GMO small grains available and so GMO is not a concern with straw, not that it should be anyway

  12. Harry January 16, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    People who don’t know the difference between hay and straw are not credible or reliable sources for agricultural information.

  13. erlito obciana January 17, 2016 at 10:35 am - Reply

    i try it in the phillipines because the rice straw in the field in our country they burn it, thank u for the knowledge

    • barry January 24, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Can you buy rice straw in bales? Do you see bales there and what plants do they come from? I am building a house with a large yard there soon and will have a garden.

  14. Laurene January 17, 2016 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    I was excited to read about simpler ways I gardening until I read the misinformation about where straw comes from.. So bummed

  15. Frank January 18, 2016 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    All the comments about hay v. straw, and nobody mentions Grazon, a very persistent broadleaf herbicide used on hay fields and grass crops like wheat and corn. Grazon is persistent, and even passes into the manure of animals fed the hay. If you use Grazon treated hay or straw, or even compost made from them, it will kill all of your broadleaf vegetable or herb plants for years. Not much can be done to undo the damage once it is done.

    • Carrie April 5, 2016 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      I didn’t know the particular names used, but I have wondered about chemicals used on the material prior to baling.

      • Charlotte April 17, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

        You can find farmers who don’t spray their fields. I ask for hay that’s not been sprayed (if my fields didn’t get baled) and can usually find some. You just need to ask around. Many will burn off their fields before Spring instead of spraying around here.

  16. Jeanne January 20, 2016 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Like they say don’t believe everything you read, or see online. This guy is saying to NOT use straw but ALL of his pictures of ‘hay’ bale gardening are actually showing STRAW!!! What a fake!! It might help if you actually knew what you were talking about before posting.

  17. Wendy J. kaubisch January 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    I’m impressed with the different info here by both author and commentators. I think each gardener needs to try different things as each of us has different access to hay or straw. I am rural and used to have nice alfalfa which was great for using in garden, tho I didn’t plant directly in it. My field is now mostly hay grass which has a lot of weeds in it. I may try a combo of hay bales and straw bales this spring. What the heck? I try lots of things. And I’m always open to reducing work load of weeding, fertilizing and watering. I’m in MN so this affects grow needs too.

  18. Randy Knox January 22, 2016 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Very good comment clarifying what straw is..

    Interestingly, the article indicates fertilizer isn’t needed. What is nitrogen then?

    And like one of the commenters mentioned, spontaneous combustion occurs when hay is bailed while it is too green and has too much moisture. Adding water will not cause it to combust. Just like properly bailed hay wont either if it gets rained on later. But it will mold.

    I might get a bail of straw and try this with a few plants and see what happens.

  19. Lynne kerr January 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Time to myth bust then….. No mention of whether this applies in different climates around the world. Accept it as an experiment , record all the conditions and details of what did work and then post your own findings, that’s science.

  20. Dana Que January 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    This would carry a lot more credibility if the photos showed HAY BALES, but they don’t. They are STRAW BALES in the photos. 90% of straw is grain stalks after the grain heads (wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc.) have been removed. I have never seen baled corn stalks.
    called “straw.” Weird.

    • Bill February 4, 2016 at 12:29 am - Reply

      I agree with you ,,, corn bales will not decompose, for they are to course

  21. Jim K January 27, 2016 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    If your worried about various seeds being in the bale’s go for second cut bales you may have some unwanted seeds but nothing compared to a first cut.

  22. […] Hay Bale Gardening: Effortless Food Production with No Weeds, No Fertilizer & Less Watering (VIDEO) newsprepper.com/hay-bale-garde… […]

  23. Lorie Opalanko January 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    All you people commenting on what and where it comes from is kind of immaterial. Use whatever works for you. No matter if it is in hay or straw it is still better than buying from the grocery store. No matter what kind of garden planting you still get weeds. So whats the diff. about where straw comes from, or if either any have seeds or not.

    • Bill February 4, 2016 at 12:30 am - Reply

      Agree with you ,,, hay or straw bales works great,I have used both and the only difference I seen is the hay bales will shrink down more than the straw bales, so it is very hard to use the hay bales next year

      • Jim February 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

        I wanted to try something different so I tilled, of course, covered my garden with weed barrier and covered that with about 6″ of straw AND hay. Watered, etc. One of my best gardens! Almost no weeds. Virtually no rot. Just fluffed the bedding occasionally. There are many ways things can work. Try, try, try!

  24. Kate February 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Even though he talks about the superiority of hay over straw, did anyone notice that, in the photos, the bales are clearly straw?

    • Bill February 4, 2016 at 12:27 am - Reply

      Yes I did notice they were straw bales and even Joel Karsten pictures

  25. Carole February 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    We had a straw bale garden last year and it was the best garden we have ever had! I am looking forward to enlarging it this year. I had no problems at all with weeds and the bales nourished the plants which produced like crazy. Try it, you will like it!

  26. Bill February 4, 2016 at 12:05 am - Reply

    All straw bales are not Corn Stalks and corn stalks do not work.. for veggies you need wheat,oat,rice straw bales or if you can not get those straw bales then use hay bales they work the same.. also on the conditioning you also need to add 1 cup of a balanced fertilizer to bales per bale like 10-10-10 this is the nutrient that the plants get to grow from,,, all the nitrogen does id decomposes the bales ,hay or straw bales.. I will agree there is no better way to garden as with straw bales or hay bales

  27. Tami February 4, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    There are tons of seeds in hay…grass and weeds. Ask anyone who has gotten horse manure from a stable when they clean out stalls. Or, cow manure for that matter. If the manure isn’t composted, you’ll have WEEDS in your garden.

  28. Squirl February 6, 2016 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Well his use of miss-information has certainly brought traffic and attention to his blog, I bet his advertisers are sending him nice checks now.

  29. JTB February 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    There is a lot of good info in this article and a lot of mis-info, depending on your geographical location. Here in S. IN, typically when the winter wheat is harvested, the remaining stalks are baled into straw bales. As with much gardening, you pick and choose the methods, try them, and see what works best in your situation for your needs.

  30. JTB February 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    I also want to add that in our drought times of the growing season, S. central IN, this method might require even more watering than we currently do w/soaker hoses. By that time of the season, we also have mulched with newpapers covered w/straw, which helps hold the moisture in the soil…slows down evaporation…provides cleaner walkways between rows…and by the time the garden is ‘put to bed’ for the winter the newspaper and straw decomp can be tilled back into the soil for next season.

  31. Barry February 9, 2016 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I use hay and never had a grass or weed problem.

  32. Rita w February 12, 2016 at 12:49 am - Reply

    I’ve done the straw bales, and I had grass and weeds like crazy… and they thrived better than the plants I planted. I also did an old-hay garden. We put the hay down about 8-12 inches thick, leaving just enough space (about 3-4 inches) to plant my rows between the rows of hay. That worked great! No weeds at all. For potatoes it was awesome. We put down the first layer of hay, then threw potatoes on top and covered with another foot of hay. Whenever we wanted potatoes we just lifted the top layer and took out what we wanted, then covered them back up. By late fall we removed the top layer of hay, and all the potatoes were laying on the ground because the bottom layer had decomposed over the summer. But no matter how you do it, moving the hay or straw is work. It’s only a no-work garden after the hay is in place.

  33. Tim Schaiper February 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    this method. I’m going to give it a try bthis year, my question is on other videos, the bale breaks down and tips over. Did you brace your bales to keep from tipping over?

    • Charlotte April 17, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      I put my bales side by side, not end to end, and have never had a problem with them tipping. And that would only be a concern with tall plants…corn, tomatoes, etc.

  34. The Dwarf February 19, 2016 at 8:47 am - Reply

    So many people who do not realize that “corn” was and is the generic name for grains in most of the English speaking world (the U.S. & Canada are the exception .. the generic “corn” was applied to maize). Therefore, the article is actually correct for England and many other English-speaking countries. (“corn” refers to any grains, and thus “straw” is harvest mature stalks (during/post grain harvest) whereas hay is harvested green (can be grasses like Timothy, legumes like alfalfa or beans, and even some “weeds”)).

    • Algae farmer November 6, 2016 at 10:40 am - Reply

      At last!!!! Somebody has spotted the elephant (metaphorically speaking lol) in the room! If you are going to talk about corn as in maize then either call it maize or sweetcorn as most of the world views corn as the oats/wheat/barley etc that gives the golden colour of a true corn field when ripening. Congrats Dwarf! 🙂

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 2:58 am - Reply

      I agree with another poster who said to use what ever is avaliable in your area! This is going to be my first year trying “bale” gardening, although I have had many tilled and container gardens in the past.

      Before deciding on the best method for me, I will read many more articles in learning what will work best for my situation. No one should rely on information from only one article before trying something new as there are may ways to do the same task, depending on many variables! I am disabled from a spinal cord injury and need raised beds to be able to work in the garden. I am excited to try this, as the bales will make it much easier to do the work, after they are set in place!

      Hay is cut green, but left to dry in the field before baling. It can be baled into rectangular bales or big round bales and is used to feed livestock.

      Corn stalks are put into big round bales that are also used for feeding livestock.

      Straw is put into rectangular bales used for bedding and is generally not as heavy as a hay bale.

      All hay and straw is organic material and will decompose into a nice compost over time. Corn stalks will also decompose into compost, but unless chopped into smalled pieces, will take much longer to complete the process.

      Happy gardening!

  35. scottindallas February 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    It’s false to say raised beds require less water. Planting essetially at grade in soil mixed with compost will use far less water. This isn’t to say gardening in raised beds is bad. Soils differ, but in heavier soils, they hold water better than compost even. But, this same feature allows fungi to proliferate, and chokes air out of the soils. Elevated gardening is great for providing drainage, and many other benefits, water conservation isn’t one of them.

  36. paul February 21, 2016 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    I do not think this is as good as square food gardening

  37. ISO bales of hay February 22, 2016 at 1:31 am - Reply

    […] you going to do some hay bale gardening? http://www.newsprepper.com/hay-bale-…/#.VspcANbnbqA I'm going to give it a try this year. May do about 10 bales. Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G530AZ using […]

  38. Jandre Kroeze April 17, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

    There is another trick discovered purelly by accident in Europe during the middle ages. A farmer pulling a cart of hay bales accidently dropped one crossing a bridge into a canal full of stagnant filthy water not suited for consumtion or swimming in. He never retrieved the bale and winter set in. By the next summer the water was completely purified, clear and clean. It turns out the hay workes like a natural filter and purifier. If you have a stagnant filthy stream on your property. Try it! I dare you!

  39. Illini Warrior April 19, 2016 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Doing basically the same thing – but no straw or hay for me ….

    Been casting fall leaves into a firm bales that uses reinforced chicken wire for enclosure – add in a layer(s) of aged horse manure when available ….

    Need 8 foot tall trellis to handle the tomato growth ….

  40. garden fertilizers July 28, 2016 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    find the best garden fertilizers at – http://thegardeninguniverse.com/

  41. Me September 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    I think seeds sprouting would be manageable if you have a smallish garden and it’s definitely a risk with hay. There are many types of hay.

    As someone who grew up helping her father make hay for most of her summers, I wouldn’t believe all of what’s said in this article about hay. Hay isn’t always “dried grasses”. LOTS of alfalfa hay out there and alfalfa blends. It’s super nutritious, leafy, flowers and seeds. On the “no seed” part, alfalfa can have lots of seeds depending on when it’s been cut, time of year (and any hay can easily have weeds with seeds mingled into the mix). Bales do heat up and that’s why you see bales standing, mellowing, out in the field before stacking/storage—a real fire risk. This heat is mostly concentrated in the core of the bale—you could have lots of viable seeds because the entire bale never heats up to a high temperature through and through.

    Real life experience here, not just Google knowledge.

    • Charlotte October 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      You can’t argue against experience. My experience says you can eliminate the seed problem if you condition them correctly. And the few that may survive, they are easily pulled….problem solved.

  42. Good Guys Gardening October 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Chemical free harvest. I like it.

  43. Laurel Erickson November 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    All the photos SEEM to picture wheat straw bales…?

  44. Andrea November 4, 2016 at 3:02 am - Reply

    Some of those pics I would swear are straw bales. All stalks, not a leaf to be seen and dry as a desert.

    Don’t know where some of you live, but here in BC, straw is from grasses and grains stalks not corn.

  45. Papa Bear November 4, 2016 at 5:02 am - Reply

    Ok, I’ve read all these posts. All I have to say is… if it works for you… DO IT! Gardening should be an enjoyable hobby that produces crops for you to enjoy. There are many methods & what works for some may not be the right choice for others. Sow some seed and quit arguing.

  46. Beverly November 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    I have a litter box trained rabbit. Wondering if I could use his stuff in the bales when conditioning them. Any thoughts on this? There is some clay litter absorbent in his pan also.

    • Beverly November 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      To add to my comment, I would be planting leafy greens for my rabbits food in the bales and some for us.

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 3:10 am - Reply

      I wouldn’t use bunny droppings unless they have been composted separately first. I’m sure you take very good care of your pet, but there is the possibility of unwanted pathogens being introduced, especially if used for food production.

      Make a separate pile for bunnys bits (a little clay litter is ok) and add other organic material from the kitchen, leaves, grass, etc. Water and turn the contents every couple of weeks and in a few months, you will have some really great compost to add to your garden!

      Happy gardening!

  47. David November 7, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I have always had a good crop of Potatoes, until this year when I decided to use Hay, it attracted Voles and I have never had a Problem with them till the Hay was introduced, I lost 25% of my Crop to them, so now I’ll be looking at other methods other than having to dig them up, my Back over the years has gotten worse, hence my looking into other methods of planting Potatoes.

  48. Kelly Christensen November 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    The lady that posted about GMO crossing with human and scorpion DNA is absolutely correct. I used straw bales and after watering them they grew legs and one night they all walked off. Don’t know where they went. So don’t use GMO straw bales.

    • Joanne February 10, 2017 at 5:46 am - Reply

      Bahahahahah!!!🤣

    • ZOE February 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      LOVE YOU HE HE

  49. BillWhit November 9, 2016 at 7:23 am - Reply

    What if you can’t find square bails? Only bails around where I live are the very large round ones, that weight a ton.

  50. Sheila H Crone November 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    After reading the article and all the comments, I believe I’ll stick with what my farming family did. Use the dirt.

  51. DJ November 10, 2016 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I’ve been straw bale gardening for three years now. The first year was trial and error. I tried wheat, oat, rye and hay…. best by far was wheat straw. The conditioning process only ‘burns up’ the seeds in the inner bale, NOT the surrounding outer sides and top. In the grain straws we did have the grain seeds to sprout which are easy to pull out of cut off with shears. The hay sprouted all sorts of weed/grasses, because unless you pay over $20.00 a bale for ‘clean’ timothy or alalfa hay you will get ‘scrub’ hay. And as for watering, I run soaker hoses across the top of the straw bales and only have to water once a day (early evening for 30 minutes). I’ve grown everything from tomatoes, okra, green beans, kole crops, potatoes and sweet potatoes. What you can plant in them is endless.

  52. Joyce sutton February 9, 2017 at 2:10 am - Reply

    I used grass hay and pure nitrogen. Conditioned bales in early march and planted in late April. No weeds any where ever. The bales needed support as they broke down. You can’t use them but one season as bales although the compost left was great. Amazing results

  53. Mignon February 9, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I would think the biggest problem with grass hay is that it is GREEN, not BROWN. Putting to much green in would mess up the decomposition process!? Unless the bales have been sitting a long time, in which case if it’s a mix of green and brown it would probably be perfect.

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 3:16 am - Reply

      Hay is cut green, but allowed to dry thouroghly before baling. If it is baled green, the hay will mold and be unfit for animal food!

      • Ann M February 23, 2017 at 1:59 am - Reply

        You are exactly right. We bale hay. We only use lime not fertilizer on our fields. Gets rid of sage grass and weeds. We cut when the temp is in the 90’s and dry. Let it dry 3 days then bale it. Been stacking bales 5 high with no barn fires.

  54. Deacon Parsons February 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply
  55. Grumpy Santa February 10, 2017 at 1:15 am - Reply

    “Do you really want your food growing in decomposing genetically modified plant matter?”

    Whoa, you lost me with the pseudoscientific fear mongering. You clearly have no idea what genetic modification is.

  56. Charles Pauley February 10, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a really good idea, my concern has nothing to do with weeds, heat, or mold, it has to do with economics. I checked the southwest Virginia farm exchange for small square hay bales for sale, seems like the average price is $5.00 a bale, alfalfa is higher. I raise a garden to save on the grocery bill and calculated that it would cost around $500.00 just to raise my potatoes, beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash. This system would probably be okay for those who raise one mess of beans, two tomatoes for eating and such but for me, I will plow and plant as usual.

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 3:24 am - Reply

      You might be able to find a farmer who has leftover bales from last year. You don’t want the “perfect” bales the farmers exchange is selling for animal food!

      Take a drive out in the country and ask a few farmers if they have any last year bales they want to get rid of. You might find some for little or no money!

    • Ann M February 23, 2017 at 2:07 am - Reply

      Check with local hay growers early in spring. Hay is usually a couple of dollars a bale if you pick it up out of the field yourself the day it is baled. Here in Ms we get. Not worth the time to spread and bale it again. Then you have to pick it up anyway. Give it away so as not to have to fool with it.

      • Ann M February 23, 2017 at 2:10 am - Reply

        Here in Ms we get $2 a bale in the field and $4 if we pick it up.

  57. Dylan J Kuhn February 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    I like this article and the way to grow these plants. It makes sense cause as a farmer and in the no till practice I know the importance of biomass on top of the soil and turing that into organic matter to produce healthy plants. The only thing I disagree with is the last line about genetically modified plants or GMO’s. For all of you who know too much or too little about farming practices and feed the world let me enlighten you a little. First, dont let that accronym scare you. A GMO is the cross breeding of plants to create the best plant possible to gain more yields to feed a growing world. There is nothing more to it. This has been going on for hundreds of years all the way back to when Gregor Mendel first expiremented with pea plants. The only thing different today is that we have figured out how to quicken this proccess by growing plants in different regions and breeding those plants accordingly. For instance Grain sorghum or Milo can be grow in central Kansas and then be transfered to a southern regio such as Mexico which allows seeds growers to breed plants twice a year allowing for quicker genetic modification allowing the better seed to get to producers faster in order to feed the world. Second, there is no lab that is doing this proccess it is done out in the field as nature has intended it the only difference is that seed companies move seeds from region to region to quicken the proccess to get the seeds out to the producer faster allowing the producer to put the best plant out there. Lastly farmers are the greatest stewards of the ground and farmers would not put anything the ground to harm the consumer. That is their livelyhood and without that they would not be able to feed your family or their own. So next time any of you wanna criticize the farmer for harming the ground or planting “GMO’s” go out and visit your local farms and see what they go through on a day to day basis to feed you the consumer and ask them about the hoops they have to jump through and the cost to grow that food and then ask them what they make at the end of the year to feed their own family. I gurantee you that farmers would be more than willing to explain all of this to you. I apologize for the rant, but I needed to explain the truth to all the uninformed or misiformed consumers our there. Have a great day and may God bless all of you!

    • Milk&honey February 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      My family are farmers and they can be as misinformed as many who have posted here. Some of them use round up consistently. One had bees as well for pollination and was confused at his high die out. I suggested he read some science on what round-up does to bees.
      The problem is, farmers can be as mislead as the rest of us by the promotion of herbicides, pesticides and GMO seeds.
      The truth is far removed from all the articles we read, scientific articles are skewed by the big money paying for those studies.
      Farmers are not intentionally harming, no differently than we are intentionally feeding our children something that may be harmful out of ignorance.
      You can read as many FOR scientific studies as AGAINST on many subjects such as above mentioned as well as milk vaccinations etc.
      We are all trying to read and study and figure out how to live as healthy as possible. To insult someone because they don’t have the information is childish and contentious.
      I read and study all the time and sometimes feel as clueless as ever.
      I say do your best, try and find out as best as you can, then experiment and see what works.
      Let your intuition help you.

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 3:38 am - Reply

      I think most consumers find the term GMO confusing. GMOs, for the most part, are created in a lab to make a plant resistant to a certain chemical that is used to kill weeds or insects.

      What you are talking about is hybridization. Hybridization can be considered to be a FORM of genetic modification of plants and animals, but as you stated, it has been going on for hundreds of years and is used to make healthier, more vigorous plants and animals by breeding the same species.

      No plants crossed with animals and vise versa! THAT kind of genetic modification is done IN A LAB!

  58. Debra Baker February 10, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Really, really interesting stuff.

  59. Talasyn Osborne February 12, 2017 at 12:33 am - Reply

    I am thinking of trying this method but haven’t found anything saying it worked until I found the comments on this forum. So I am a beginner and going to try to grow potatoes, onions. strawberries and tomatoes this summer. I have a million bunnies in my neighborhood as well as other vermin. I live in a mid-sized city here in Oklahoma where our weather can be a little crazy. I grew a 4X4 of corn last summer but it never seeded itself so going to try again this year but people kept telling me I had to buy tons of dirt and build mounds in order to get anything to grow. Well dirt is expensive!! So, my question is: If I use the straw bales and do 3 rows, do I pull out just enough hay from the center tops and pour my growing dirt in the center and plant my seeds? Or is there more to it than filling up the center of a hay bale with dirt? I can’t tell from the pictures above. Any help for this “newbie” would be appreciated. I don’t know anything about growing food so any help on products and how to set up the hay bale properly-without peeing on it-would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!! 🙂

    • Rita H. (A farm girl!) February 19, 2017 at 5:00 am - Reply

      You might want to look up and read more articles on how others have proceeded with this kind of gardening. I am going to do this for the first time this year as well, but I have raised many other types of gardens in the past.

      Someone posted that they put the bales side by side so they didn’t tip over, as they decomposed. Set the bales on edge so the baling twine or wire is on the sides that meet. You might want to buy some plastic twine and tie it around the perimeter of the row of bales (in the same two places as the baling twine) to hold the row together as one unit.

      If you read the article, it talks about “conditioning” the bale. That process helps to start the break down of the organic material in the bale. Purchase a 10-10-10 fertilizer (instead of peeing on it ) and add that before watering if dry or dilute with water, then add to the bales after setting them up.

      When ready to plant seeds, make a depression in the bale by removing some of the material, add a little potting soil to the area, and put seeds in, to give them something to root into.

      For plant sets (baby plants), make a hole a little bigger than the root ball of the plant. Dont forget to water freshly planted sets! Taller plants would need to be “dug in” deeper to provide stability as they grow tall. Once the plants are rooted, they should take off, as the bale decomposes and provides nutrients for them. As needed, place stakes to support tall plants.

      To keep rabbits out, get some chicken wire and electric fence posts to build a little fence (24″ or 36″ high) around your garden. Wire the fence to the posts after pushing or hammering them into the ground. Use enough posts to keep the fence tight and/or use long landscaping staples in the bottom of the chicken wire to keep bunnies from pushing under your fence! I would place it two or three feet from the bales and use mulch, news papers, or weed barrier cloth to keep the grass from growing, inside the fence around the bales.

      As long as you give your plants plenty of water after rooting, they should do very well!

      Good luck and happy gerdening!

  60. jodi February 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    I didn’t read all the comments. But, straw in Ohio is from wheat. We have used straw for years to hold moisture and eleviate weed problems.

  61. Susie February 18, 2017 at 12:07 am - Reply

    I’m from the east coast of Australia and read the article and all the comments/replies with interest:

    Yes it is interesting. I did what is called “No Dig Gardening” by Esther Dean with my parents as a child which used both straw and Lucerne hay. It certainly grew a good crop and I have always been grateful to my parents that they were open minded and promoted independent thought and would try new methods.

    Since I retired I have been planning to do this again using raised beds and wire enclosed area to help success due to the myriad bush creatures up here on the north coast of NSW, a subtropical area. Have started getting the space I will use under control but this is taking longer than I thought as strategic work on the whole property is time and energy consuming(exotic weeds and the natural vegetation grows quickly) The comments on the article are interesting, educational and wide ranging. So many regional variances and so many people prepared to share their knowledge. I thought it was important to read many/all comments and not take sides/hold a narrow view. Thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge and experiences!! 😊

  62. Show Me 52 February 21, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Well most interesting comments. What I can say for sure is this, the contents of straw bales is dependent on the part of the country you live in. I just talked to my local Farmers Co-op to confirm what I already knew. Around here, Western Arkansas and Oklahoma, straw is baled from wheat stalks. No one bales soybean stalks. They are grown for the beans and the leftovers are plowed under for compost. Evidently no one grows oats or other grains around here. As for the price, no difference. Both are $6.50 a bale. Unless you buy from a farmer, then it could be different. I’ve had horses and so have had bales of both that have gotten wet and unusable for food or bedding. I saw a lot more weeds sprout from the bales of hay than the straw. We have also used straw for mulch on a regular garden and didn’t have much if anything sprout from the straw. And it should surely get hot enough to kill any seeds, as bales of straw or hay can get wet then hot enough inside to set themselves on fire. Spontaneous combustion. My mom had grown a few things in bales of straw and they worked just fine. I’m gona stick with the straw.

  63. Agriculture: the science or practice of farming...to provide food and other products February 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    You need some new info and or much better research. Corn is rarely baled and there isn’t enough left of a soy bean plant to bale if you wanted once the crop is harvested. Straw is almost always a cereal grain (wheat, oats, barley) things like that. Hay may be grass but most of the time (depending on where you are at) is Alfalfa which is a legume like peas but has a much different growth habit. Hay may or may not have a ton of weed seed in it depending on many factors. As far as GMO, man do some research and don’t just pull crap off of the web. There is to my knowledge (and I’ve farmed all of my life) far more options for GMO “hay” than there is straw. Beyond that, learn what GMO is. You are not affected by the genes of what you eat, if that was the case you could have turned into a cow or banana or something by now. most GMO crops have the same exact properties that you can get conventional crops to do though plant breeding (natural selection). The technology of genetic modification just speeds the process up by many many years. Please get some good information, some solid science, not just what people say on a whim.

  64. Jerry March 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I heard a lady give a talk on this several years ago. She kept reiterating that urine is good nitrogen source. She was a 300+ lb lady. For some reason, the idea of this woman going out, getting on top of the bales and peeing on it was just a bad thought!! A couple of us guys thought there could be an entrepreneur solution to this. If we got about 20 or so of these gardeners lined up and there were 8-10 of us guys, we could provide a service. For a set fee, and several kegs of beer, the guys would come out, drink the beer, and then urinate on the straw bales, providing the needed nitrogen. The next day the guys would be at the next place, and so forth. We could call it “you’re in Nation” service

  65. J partin March 27, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

    In the south we have costal Bermuda hay. It does not produce any seeds. In the great majority of the hay fields there are very little weeds. It’s the last of March now and IV had my tomatoes planted about 3 weeks and no weeds. Tomatoes doing great.

  66. Jan Zak March 30, 2017 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Lerry that’s a riot! lol …lots of good info here. We are going to try a dozen hay bales last years crop from a local farmer here in WV. Will let you all know how things go. No Service needed. lol

  67. Jill April 5, 2017 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    I followed directions precisely with conditioning hay bales, planted and 3 was later, nothing is growing 🙁 Ideas?

    • C. Van April 8, 2017 at 1:40 am - Reply

      Did you start with transplants or seeds? Where did you get the info for conditioning? Hopefully not here.

Leave A Comment