Straw Bale Gardening is Growing: Pioneer of Revolutionary Method Shares His Technique in New Book

Straw Bale Gardening


This method works in any climate and for nearly every vegetable crop, and doesn’t require any soil at all, so it can be done on concrete, asphalt or even on a rooftop.”     — Joel Karsten

(Minneapolis, MN)  —  February 13, 2023  — Rooftops, patios, backyards with bad soil or anyplace with room for a straw bale can be transformed into a garden using the technique pioneered by Joel Karsten and detailed in his book, Straw Bale Gardens Complete.

“The method allows anyone — from new, first-time gardeners, to seniors who can’t do the hard physical work of gardening — to still garden very successfully because of the raised height and less maintenance and weeding required,” Karsten explained. “This method works in any climate and for nearly every vegetable crop, and doesn’t require any soil at all, so it can be done on concrete, asphalt or even on a rooftop.”

Straw Bale Gardens Complete provides an abundance of inspiration, with detailed steps for planning, planting and harvesting a straw bale garden; bale variations and options; watering guidelines; and plant profiles. Also included are tips for irrigating in dry climates, gardening in small and urban spaces, and even DIY instructions for homemade bales from compostable materials. The book is filled with color photos and project ideas, including how to set up a greenhouse for less than $100.

“Growing a successful vegetable garden is difficult enough if you have terrific soil to plant your garden into, but with poor soils it can be virtually impossible,” Karsten added. “Straw bale gardening allows anyone, even those with the worst soil conditions, to grow a terrific garden that is inexpensive, productive and much less labor intensive.”

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About the Author

A horticulture science graduate from the University of Minnesota, Joel Karsten grew up on a crop and dairy farm in southern Minnesota where the seed for his love of gardening was planted. After buying his first home and realizing that nothing could grow in the compacted construction backfill, he experimented with growing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in straw bales. He continued to perfect his method for gardening this way for 14 years until a reporter from the local NBC affiliate did a story and he realized just how revolutionary his method was. This prompted him to write his straw bale gardening series of books, which includes Straw Bale Gardening, Straw Bale Solutions and Straw Bale Gardens Complete.

Karsten also developed BaleBuster® conditioner to help prepare straw bales for optimal plant growth. A keynote speaker, Karsten has made more than 2,000 presentations about straw bale gardening since his first appearance on the local news. He and his wife, Patty, live in Roseville with their dog, Tucker.

For more information, visit, or follow the author on Facebook (LearnToGrowAStrawBaleGarden), Instagram (StrawBaleGardenClub) or YouTube (Straw Bale Garden Club).



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