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By: Andrea Lahouze | Posted: 07/10/2014
Gardeners, take note. The latest gardening method is cheaper and weed-free—and it’s homegrown.
Rural Minnesota native Joel Karsten developed straw bale gardening after noticing that windborne seeds that settled on a straw bale grew exceptionally fast and well. The method employs straw bales as both the container and potting mix, making it a less expensive alternative to traditional container gardening—about 1/14th the cost, per Karsten’s estimates.
Other benefits? “Less bending or getting down on the ground is required,” Karsten says, adding, “Straw bales also drain any excess moisture by gravity right out the bottom, while a soil garden could flood.” They also make harvesting a breeze. “When it’s time to harvest potatoes, just cut the strings and kick over the bale, and collect the nice, clean, unblemished potatoes in seconds.”
Karsten has since taken his method to the masses, writing two books on the subject, maintaining a website, Pinterest account, and Facebook page, keeping a full schedule of speaking engagements, and inspiring a national trend. He also presented a step-by-step straw bale garden building tutorial at the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show earlier this year.
“Anyone can do it, even in a parking lot…and all without using pesticides or insecticides,” he says. “But, be careful because once you try it, you’ll get hooked.”
Bring on the bales. We can’t wait to get started.
Jennifer Blaise Kramer is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s home editor. See bio
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