Bales are tightly packed bundles of dry grass. As such they are completely natural, with the exception of the twine/wire that keeps them in shape. Remember – grass is a key ingredient of compost as dry grass (brown) is high in carbon and fresh grass (green) provides nitrogen (see a separate post on composting) and both are available in most gardens with a lawn – compost, literally on your doorstep. So with using the bales to make beds, we provide a slow release of nutrients.
Bales are used in different ways for raised beds. Our original idea was to replace the traditional plank/stone/brick surround of the traditional raised bed with something more organic – thus we chose bales. The idea of the bales was appealing in part because it would allow us to kneel and sit on the bales while gardening. In theory. In practice, they are a little prickly to be honest. In addition, bales should break down, providing more nutrients for the vegetables. The fact that the bales would break down was appealing as it did not restrict us to committing a particular spot to a permanent concrete and brick raised bed. Post applying this method, we came across other methods of using bales, but I’ll get to that later.