Hay bale gardens are an easy and low-cost way to create raised beds. They provide the perfect place to grow sweet potatoes, vining melons, and plenty of other vegetables.
Start with at least four hay bales and arrange them in an open square. Remember to choose a sunny spot. Fill in the center of the square with soil and then add your vegetable plants. After planting, be sure to water and fertilize your plants on a regular basis.
Your hay bale garden will last for three to four gardening seasons before it begins to decompose and fall apart. When it does, just use a pitchfork to turn the hay into the soil. Then you'll have a rich, organic soil mixture that you can use to fill in the center of your next hay bale garden.
- Hay Bale Gardening (PDF)
Also on Gardening in a Minute
- How to Garden Using Straw Bales--Arizona Cooperative Extension, Cochise County (Video)
- Straw Bale Bed: A Way to Garden While Building Soil--Oklahoma Cooperative Extension (PDF)
- Straw Bale Culture--Nichols Garden Nursery (OR)
- Straw Bale Gardening--No-Dig Vegetable Gardening Blog
- Straw Bale Gardening--West Virginia University Extension Service
- Straw Bale Planter--P. Allen Smith
- UF/IFAS Extension: Lawn & Garden
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
- Florida Master Gardener Program
- "The Neighborhood Gardener" e-newsletter
Vegetable Gardening FAQ
- Got questions? Get answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions about growing vegetables in Florida.