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About Joel Karsten
I grew up on a crop and dairy farm in Southwestern Minnesota, and started gardening as a kid with my Grandma Josephine. She was really my first "professor" of horticulture, but I rounded out my education with a BS in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota a few years later. Farming and caring for livestock is much more than a full time job. My dad always joked when I complained, "you can take a vacation anytime you want, as long as you're back in three hours!" I decided farming wouldn't be for me, so I became an entrepreneur starting a business while I was still a Junior at the University. I have owned a number of businesses over the years, but have always maintained my passion for gardening. I want to help you discover the greatest way ever to grow vegetables, a method of gardening I have perfected over the years, a method I call Straw Bale Gardening. If you've ever thought growing vegetables was difficult, time consuming, and hard on your knees and back, I will change your mind completely. My method eliminates weeding, and bending, making it so much easier. This method allows anyone, anywhere to grow a successful garden with a very small investment regardless of whether you even have soil in your yard at all.
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Take your straw bale gardening to the next level—in more places, with new products, and even sometimes skipping the straw entirely—with Straw Bale Gardens Complete.
The reception and enthusiasm for straw bale gardening, introduced in 2013, has proved revolutionary in vegetable growing. Why? Because the bold promises in the book are kept: grow vegetables anywhere, earlier in the year, with no weeding. Gardeners everywhere are excited. Straw bale gardening works!
In just the short amount of time that has passed, the gardening world and Joel Karsten himself have learned even more about how to apply this method in just about any environment: on a city balcony, in a rocky outpost, in a desert, and even in the tundra of Alaska.
Straw Bale Gardens Complete contains all of the original information that has set the gardening world on fire. But it also goes much deeper, with nearly 50 pages of all-new advice and photos on subjects such as growing in a tight urban setting, making your straw bale garden completely organic, and using new fertilizers and conditioning products. There is even information on using straw bale techniques to grow veggies in other organic media for anyone who has a hard time finding straw.
Fans of Straw Bale Gardens will not want to miss adding Straw Bale Gardens Complete to their gardening library. There is, literally, nothing else like it!
Whatever your gardening challenge, Straw Bale Gardening holds the solution. Have a small or unusual space? Straw Bale Gardening is perfect for urban, rooftop, and balcony gardens. Contaminated soil? Planting in straw bales eliminates the problem. Are you inundated by weeds? With straw bales, there is no weeding. The advantages of growing a Straw Bale Garden go on and on: they require 75 percent less labor, their raised height makes planting easier, they extend the growing season, prevent disease and insect issues, are portable, hold water well but are impossible to overwater, they create excellent compost, and can be grown 100 percent organically.
Imagine building a simple shoulder season seed-starter greenhouse for under $100 and then heating it with six bales of straw. In this all-new section, Karsten explains how you can build his six-week greenhouse, and set all of your seed trays on the nice warm benches inside, made from straw bales. The heat generated during their early decomposition is the entire heat source for the tiny greenhouse.
Among the new subjects:
- Building and heating the six-week greenhouse for less than $100
- Cultivating mushrooms in straw bales
- Tips and ideas for making your straw bale garden more attractive
- How to make a cold frame with straw bales
- Trellising projects for growing vertically
- And much more
In backyards and all across the world, Straw Bale Gardening (SPG) is making an impact. Since he created Straw Bale Gardening in his home in the Midwestern US, author Joel Karsten has talked to thousands of gardeners and traveled to dozens of countries to spread the SBG word. Here, in Joel’s own words, is a collection of fascinating illustrated stories that you can enjoy and learn from. For example:
- Cambodian SBGs grow food during Monsoon season—for the first time
- SBGs sprout fresh veggies in the rocky Swiss Alps
- A community garden in New Jersey turns an EPA site into a food haven
- An SBG in the lowlands of the Netherlands rises above constant floods
- And many more stories of SBG success that have lessons just for you