When the start of my watermelon season started we faced alot of difficulties. The most notable one being disease. Every melon that produced fine growth in the seed starters didn't do well after being transferred. Needless to say I was severely disappointed, because who doesn't want melons in their garden. So after doing some research on the hay bale gardening, I decided to give it a go and start all over and after the prepping the hay bales with water for several days and throwing some ammonium nitrate on them to get the juices flowing. I finally got my transplants up and running again and decided to plant my melons again.
Currently, I am shocked with the amazing progress the melons are doing. They are taking to the hay bale like fish to water. If you think about hay bale gardening it makes perfect sense. From a layman like myself it's 2nd grader proof; prep the hay bale with water everyday for about a week, throw a cup or two of ammonium nitrate after the 4th day of watering, water the remaining days with ammonium nitrate and on the 7th day continue to water,(What you thought I was going to say rest, Not!) cut back on the ammonium nitrate and continue to water for an additional 3 days, dig a hole in the bale, place compost in the hole, place your transplant in the hole and cover the top of the bale with organic material namely compost. Water.
The Hay bale has it's own ecosystem working in there. The damn thing literally comes alive, microbes start to feed on the hay bale and literally gets hot inside, thats why you take the additional days of watering without adding the ammonium nitrate so it can cool down before you add your transplants. But the hay bale is eating itself and your plants are using the digested materials for nourishment. Alot of hay bale gardeners like to use the same hay bale for at least two years. I don't think im going that route. I will turn them into the garden, but not after letting my chickens have at them first