I had some struggles last year with the hay bale gardens. This picture below shows mouse melons in August, a time when they should have been 3 feet tall and filled with mini melon squash. Instead they did not get bigger than a few inches!
|Mousemelons in August|
I believe most of the issues were simply with the climate ...I generally plant squash (summer or winter) in bales and they generally like warmer weather which we had none of. It might also have been that they were straw and I did not use much fertilizer so they may have not had enough nutrition.
|Zucchini in hay bale July 2013|
This year I have new bales of timothy hay.
|Timothy hay bales|
But those straw bales, since the plants did not grow well and therefore didn't break the bale down much, are still standing strong. So I'll give them another try. Yesterday I planted 8 sugar pumpkins, 2 into each bale in this rectangular spot. The middle is filled with dirt and will have some type of flower (last year nasturtiums, maybe marigolds this year).
And I have several more old straw bales still standing from last year. Good thing as I have LOTS of squash seedlings to get planted this week!