Hi all! Starting my 4th year of strawbaling and excited to get rolling! My bales are out and we are in the process of prepping. I do want to mention that last year I planted the bales without using the fertilizer prep and I don't think the bales broke down near as well. This year I went back to the fertilizer prep but am going to research a non chemical way over the summer to use for the prep next year. I actually found an organic fertilizer recipe that I think could work and do plan on using it periodically to side dress my veggies over the summer. I do want to caution using any bales that had tomotoes in them from last year. If you had any of the tomatoe viruses/wilt --> toss those bales and start fresh. I used my last years bales to mulch my flower beds and shrubs as the viruses do not affect them . Great way to recycle and prevent the spread of any soil borne viruses. Well good luck and happy gardening to you all!