Thanks to all who commented. I like the string down orientiation. We will give bales a try and hope for the best since the alternative is raised beds which I don't really want to do. We'll start small - probably 20 bales. Checked on bales at the locoal COOP, they wanted $7-9, and I didn't go into the difference between them feeling that I could get them cheaper. Found a neighbor just a couple of miles away who sells them for $4.