Of course, straw and hay are not the same thing, but I did some reading on it and hay will work as well as straw. The problem with hay is that it will have more seeds in it that may sprout lots of weeds. Theoretically, straw has already had most of the seeds threshed out of it. But, there is a benefit to using hay and that is, that it has more nutrients in it.
I liked the idea because it gets the garden plants up off the ground like a raised bed. With that, the benefits of keeping the weeds from encroaching and not having to bend over so much to reach the plants. Of course, if my hay sprouts a bunch of weeds, then my weed problem may be worse than it is gardening the conventional way. I may totally regret this, but I thought I'd give it try. Besides, I really like the look of it, the neatness, and I get great satisfaction in making things look neat and orderly...and beautiful, if possible.
This gives me great pleasure to prepare and look at.
I'm only doing three rows
And the raised bed that Tom built last year (not so much pleasure looking at this because I need to get out there with the weed whacker).
I've had the bales set out for a few weeks now and have been watering them. I plan to start planting in them in about 10 days or so. For more information on straw bale gardening, you can google it and lots of sites will pop up.
I'm supposed to be able to put potted plants directly into the bales. To plant seeds, I have to spread a thin layer of soil over the tops. The plants are supposed to get all of the nutrients they need from the hay or straw because the watering has caused them to start to compost. Eventually, the hay will completely disintegrate.
One can also create raised beds with the bales but using them as "walls". Just line up the bales to create an enclosure, then fill the enclosure up with soil. The bales hold the soil in place and bring the garden up to non-back-breaking level. Googling brings up some very nice pictures of straw bale gardening and raised beds.
Wish me luck. I might end up with a great pile of weeds and no veggies.