Straw Bale Gardening (The latest trend is growing vegetables in straw bales, a method that resembles container gardening, except that the bales are both the container and the planting medium)
The straw-bales method has several advantages. The conditioning process heats up the interior of the bales, so when you plant tomatoes or other heat-loving vegetables into them, their roots are kept warmer. Last year, I grew tomatoes in the ground in my garden and in two straw bales. The straw-bale tomatoes were about two weeks ahead of the ones in the ground all season and ended up producing more fruit. They had no disease problems and because the bales were off the ground, they weren’t bothered by the many critters that inhabit my garden.
Straw-bale gardening works especially well for gardeners with poor soil because you are creating your own growing medium in the bale. If there is a disadvantage to straw-bale gardening, it’s that you have to water them frequently – every day during the two weeks of conditioning, then nearly every day afterward unless it’s pouring rain. Karsten recommends setting up soaker hoses, though I prefer to water manually.