Cherokee2 and I just discussed his straw bale method and certain adaptations I was considering by placing them 'in' the ground a few inches, or as deep as I can get. He does not consider any other bale beside wheat straw because of the lack of weed seeds and pointed out that what it might be missing in nutrients can be easily added. He liked the combined idea well enough to try some as well.
My soil on this hill goes from loose loam to clay and rock within a few inches depth. Because of this and the angle of the yard, water does not stay in the soil long. Grassy weeds barely survive, so you can guess what veggies and flowers are up against.
Deb & Melissa used to make fun of my grassy weed lawn but after a few dry summers, I think they accept that this is the best way to keep it green. When we tried planting 'real' grass, it only survived if we watered it extensively and when we stopped, it died. No fun in that, so I let the weeds take over the lawn and fight them in my gardens. Besides, I have found some interesting weeds.
The more I think of the new bale gardens, I have to fight the urge to get out there and start now! Lunch is over so I really need to get back to business, but...... at least I wrote about them.