Straw Bale Gardening: From the Horse’s Mouth

straw bale gardeningI posted on straw bale gardening back in May, and I told you there were some variations on the method. Well, I came across today’s article on Joel Karsten, who’s something of the authority on it as he started the method and has written a book on it. So, I thought I’d share some of what he has to say for those of you who are interested in this method.

More Tips on Straw Bale Gardening

It was a childhood observation that changed the life of Joel Karsten, and in turn revolutionized the way many people grow vegetables.

Mr. Karsten, 44, author of Straw Bale Gardens, started the straw bale gardening phenomenon. Since the book was published in March 2013, thousands of gardeners from just about every country in the world have tried his techniques, which he pioneered shortly after receiving a degree in horticulture from the University of Minnesota.

“Necessity is the mother of all invention,” he said in a phone interview. “I was broke because I was young, right out of college and I just bought a house.”

He said he couldn’t afford to buy compost to amend the thin layer of top soil covering “this awful construction fill” at his new house. He got the straw bale idea from the thistles he saw growing out of broken bales on the dairy farm in rural Minnesota where he grew up. As a horticulture graduate, he knew the nutrients that tomatoes and peppers require are similar to what thistles need. He began to experiment. (Click here to read the original article.)

So, there’s the original method straight from the gardener’s mouth. The methods I’ve read about are pretty much the same with a few small variations. The benefits — easy to work on, no weeds, no need for soil or compost, etc. — are the same.

I do like straw bale gardening quite a bit, and I hope you’ll give it a try. (Maybe that’s why I’ve posted about it as much as I have.)

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