Amazon.com.au:Customer reviews: Straw Bale Gardens Complete: Breakthrough Vegetable Gardening Method - All-New Information On: Urban & Small Spaces, Organics, Saving Water - Make Your Own Bales With or Without Straw
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I bought this booklet after reading about Straw Bale Gardening online, via a link to Karsten's website from a facebook page article. I like the idea as have just taken over a garden with thin, acidic soil at 850 feet on Dartmoor. The book seems a good overview of the method, instructions are clear, it's an easy read (one sitting) but being me .. I am just using it as a kicking off point from which to adapt to local conditions. Be aware it is written for American gardeners; fertilizer measurements, for example, are in US cups, temperatures in Farenheit. Also it's turning out a fairly expensive method with 20x bales at £4 a pop locally at this time of year, high-nitrogen fertilizers etc. Use for inspiration like a basic cookery book.. then go your own way.
This book is the pay dirt on SBG if you are just looking to get started with a minimum of problems. J. Karsten gets around all the things you need to start and more important how to in a very explicit and easy to understand way. He covers most of the issues you can run into from start to harvest. I gave it four stars and the only reason I didn't give it the last one too is because I would have liked to see more elaborate options in his choices of things like the water system and other nitty gritty parts of SBG. I'm def. going into SBG and this is about the best help I could wish for.
I was very disappointed that there was so much repetition of the benefits of this type of gardening, and so little actual information - it took over 25% of the book to reach the list of tools required. This disappointment was increased by the fact that, reading it on a (admittedly not new) kindle, the photographs were little more than splodges in shades of grey. This didn't help at all in the grand scheme of things, merely adding to the 'filler' effect. Overall, I feel that the book was not good value for money, even though the subject matter should have made it so.
An excellent book to guide a newcomer to straw bale gardening. I am trying the scheme for the first time this year and this book has been invaluable to me. As far as I am concerned, straw bale gardening is a win win situation; If it works ... Great, if it doesn't (no reason why not) .... you still get some rotted straw for composting the rest of the plot !!