What to re-use as hay bale cover?

ClareBroommaker's picture

I'm going to need to cover 2 dozen bales of hay for two years. Any ideas what I could use to protect them from rain & snow? Something that won't have me chasing after bits of plastic or nylon? Something free or cheap. Something that doesn't call attention to itself with bright color.

mountainmoma's picture

For 2 years I think you need to store them inside, and either way the other issue than weather will be rodents. I store hay, and cant imagine keeping it good for 2 years outside without using plastic. Do you have any building projects coming up where you can get it under a roof ?

Around here, sometimes you can get a free, used canopy that people use to protect cars/rv's. SO these are metal framed and synthetic tent type material, and if you get one free and save from landfill, you would likely need to patch ahole or two, which is easy. The second thing like that to look for free is a used easy-up, a large easy up might fit 24 bales. SO off the ground on free pallets then covered by the patched easy-up or car canopy

SInce I do natural building, a few times I have just stored it inside a garage or shed, sure it will take up a bit less than 1/2 of a 2 car garage.

Examples of car canopy easy up, which you might find used and save from landfill



ClareBroommaker's picture

Pallets at the bottom sound like a good idea.
I'll look at what those covers for the canopies and "easy ups" are made of.

ClareBroommaker's picture

So here's a pile of 26 bales stuffed into a 45 degree corner. It's brome grass, by the way. I've never used brome before and when the trailor drove up I thought, uht-oh, they brought straw. It is very course grass. No progress on a cover for it, but the rain predicted for overnight did not occur.

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mountainmoma's picture

I saw an add about doing this, it turns out that printed billboard covers are no longer paper, they are waterprrof plastic and large enough for what you need.

I do not know anyone who has done this, just saw their ad.



ClareBroommaker's picture

I used one of those on an isolated vegetable bed three times. I just cut the cover into thirds and it was the perfect size to use one piece per year, however, it was a mess by the end of each growing season. It deteriorated into small shreds. It was not much different than those blue tarps that people use for temporary cover of a leaky roof.

It already has rained on the hay four times and it is deteriorating fast. It is brome, which I've never used before. Coarse as it is, I thought it might stand up to weather about like straw, but it is already clumping together and giving off clouds of spores when I try to spread it. My husband went ahead and bought one of those cheap tarps, grey rather than blue and yesterday we put it on the pile I want to save. However, seeing how fast it is rotting, there is no way it will last a couple of years. In fact, I think in the spots where I'm spreading it, I'll need to reapply more before the end of the growing season.

Here are some bales laid out for the fruit tree planting grid. I spread one bale per planting spot so that the critters of the soil will beginto go to work on the hay and soften and enrich the soil. As we can, we will also bring buckets of chipped wood, some of it partly composted, from a nearby city compost facility. Wood mulches are supposed to introduce fungi that tree roots benefit from. Our "trees" are currently a bowl of peach, nectarine and plum pits that we just finished eating or dehydrating.

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Is there a reason why you can't spread out all they hay now so it can fully break down? I know you have a lot but if it's already rotting, let it rot where it will do some good.

Maybe big circles (so it looks planned like an art exhibit) each about 8 feet across where the trees will go. That way, you'll begin soil improvements out to where the tree's driplines will be as they mature.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I was just hoping to have some for weed suppression in the next two years. Well, I might need to do as you suggest.