Changing topics a bit. We were going to put in raised beds this year after having little success in ground last year. Then on CL we found "free hay" which I figured was mis-listed and was actually going to be free straw. And we decided to do some straw bale gardening but we would put the bales in and build the beds around them and then let the bales compost in place, and go from there after this season.
But as with most things free you get what you pay for. It is hay, and the bales have come apart so instead of standing on ends we had to separate the slices and lay flat.
Can I get some thoughts on "haybale" gardening and since we cannot really dig down some as you would on the cut end of a full bale, ideas as to getting our plants to take???
Some folks do "bag" gardening, where they garden right into the soil bags...is that an option? http://www.houselogic.com/blog/gardens/garden-in-a-bag/
You could always pile that mulch hay on your raised beds and let it compost down, creating you some new soil. I'd not worry about "hay seeds" sprouting...we've used old hay for mulch for many a long year and have never had a hay seed sprout and take hold in the garden. If you see something growing in the hay you just plop down a flake of hay on top of it and smother it. Simple.