Friday 8 May 2015

Planting Squash in Hay Bales

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!


  1. I haven't even started my squash seeds! I have 4 bales already and plan to purchase a few more this weekend. Do you condition the bales? I'm thinking of conditioning the new ones but just planting in the old ones as they have been left out all winter and I've heard that this makes them ready for planting as is.

    1. Same idea with the old ones, I didn't do anything (grass growing up in them so obviously they are OK). For the new ones, I'm trying to keep them wet as many days as I can to heat them up inside. I added a bit of organic veggie fertilizer although I didn't even do that the first year and everything was fine. I'm way too early on everything but hard to believe we could get a frost with the heat wave we have going on!

  2. Good luck with the squash. I've never tried to grow in hay bales.

  3. That looks interesting, I like the use of space with being able to plant up in the square in the middle too. It's making me want to plant out my squashes though I still need to do a bit of prep at the plot first. (And I'm concerned about all these strong winds we keep getting here).