Our second year of having a hay covered garden, and we couldn’t be happier!
Last year we worked the hay in around the plants, but this year we are working the plants into the hay. There is a bit of initial sweat labor invested in preparing the rows, but we have decided it’s well worth it, to avoid watering and weeding later this year.
We first push the hay away from the area we want to plant. This can be done in spots for each individual plant, but we have decided to clear entire rows. It’s so wet and wormy under each row, that it helped that we let the area dry out a little overnight before working the soil.
Roy then took the Mantis tiller down the row.
For our peas earlier this spring we simply pressed them into the wet soil after hoeing it up a little, and it actually worked out quite well! Here they are:
After Roy tilled the row, I was able to easily plant our cucumber seedlings. We then gently worked the hay back over the row and carefully mulched each plant with the more decomposed and wet hay from the bottom of the hay that’s been on all winter. Praying for no late frosts this year!!
Below are our potatoes. The first picture shows them covered. We planted these a few days ago. The second picture shows the uncovered potato. They will grow under this hay as if they were under a few inches of soil. As they grow, we will cover them with more hay, similar to “hilling” done with soil – and a lot easier!
Our little garden is doing great. Here you see the onions doing nicely, and the garlic well on its way. We’ll be looking for garlic scapes before you know it!
We’re hoping to be harvesting this spring mix lettuce after our daughter’s wedding later this month!
Here are our early plantings of beets, carrots, chard and kohlrabi. As the plants get larger, we’ll be able to mulch them better.
Another success story is our rhubarb! Fertilized with compost early this spring as they were just emerging, they have really taken off, and the deep hay around them has prevented the multitude of weeds we had last year!
Hope you get to try this method of gardening too!