FYI: those straw bale beds were a total disaster: nothing at all grew. Naive me; I never thought to ask if the straw was unsprayed, and it must have had a lot of broadleaf herbicide sprayed on it; nothing grew beyond what little growth it could make on the food reserves in the seed itself. And flowers set out alongside these bales did not grow, either. I tried some test plantings this year, and growth after germination was no better, although flowers and strawberries planted alongside did grow better.
I have replaced all that straw with new unsprayed bales and am looking forward to their being productive this coming gardening season. Of course, at this time of year, my garden is always the perfect garden.