Thanks to Sharon Wallace for giving me these directions.
The words and tomato graphic are hers.
"Actually, it is so simple that it sounds as though it will not work, but everyone that saw my tomatoes wanted to know what I had in the center of the bales to make the plants look so healthy and green. The answer is nothing!
I used 3 bales for 6 plants. Do not cut the twine holding the bales together, set them on the ground in the location you want them. I purchased the plants in 6" pots, brought them home and cut a hole out of each end of the bale (digging each hole an inch deeper than the pot), leaving about 6-8" from the hole to the end of the bale. I then took the plant, soil and all out of the pot and put it in the hole. I used a tall stake in order to tie them after they had grown, but I suppose you could use the tomato cages as well. I watered them as needed and then we enjoyed some of the best tasting tomato's we have grown in several years.
My ex father-in-law grew potatoes much the same way for years. He would till the soil a little so the soil wasn't packed and then throw his potato "eyes" on the loosely turned soil, cover them with a approximately a foot of scattered hay. When it came harvest time, he raked the hay back, picked up his beautiful, clean potatoes and bagged them. They have very little dirt on them when grown like this.
Keep in mind that it MUST be hay bales that are at least from the year before; if you use new hay bales they will burn your plants up much like when "green" bales are put in a barn; if they are stacked tightly they will self combust and burn the barn down."
If you would like to visit Sharon Wallace's home page, then click HERE.