How to Use Hay Bales to Line a Raised Garden


Lining a growing bed with hay bales is a method for retaining soil and incorporating organic material. Making this type of growing bed in early spring will also warm the soil by placing a piece of sheet plastic over the width and length of the bed. After the growing season, you can spread the hay bales over the soil for additional organic material. Over time the raised bed will become rich in decomposed organic material from the hay bales.

Step 1

Clean the base of the raised bed where the hay bales will surround the area. Use the shovel and remove the topsoil. Toss the loose topsoil back onto the top of the raised bed.

Step 2

Begin at the narrow end of the raised bed by setting a single hay bale along the end of the bed. Set the bale on the soil with an edge of the bale facing downward. In other words, do not lay the bale so the bale strings are in contact with the soil. The ground will prematurely rot the strings.

Step 3

Set three hay bales perpendicular to the first one along one long side of the bed. Align the ends of the hay bales end to end to close any gaps.

Step 4

Lay another hay bale at the other narrow end, butting the three that are running down the side of the growing bed.

Step 5

Place the last three hay bales down the other long side of the bed to form a closed rectangle. The raised growing bed will be one hay bale wide by three hay bales long. If required, add more soil to the interior of the hay bale raised bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • 8-square hay bales


  • “Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening”; J.I. Rodale; 1975
  • “Crockett’s Victory Garden”; James Underwood Crockett; 1977
Keywords: raised bed gardening, add organic mulch, hay bale beds

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.