The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:

Copy of Grow That #Garden Library (3)

Today's book recommendation:Straw Bale Gardens Complete by Joel Karsten

In May of 1994, Joel Karsten experimented with 50 straw bales on his childhood farm in Southwest Minnesota.  He was trying to come up with a new way to grow vegetables at his new home in the Twin Cities which was on terrible clay soil. By June, he realized the plants in the bales were twice as tall as the plants growing in the soil. He kept refining his methods until his Straw Bale Gardens were discovered by a local reporter in 2007. Now, twenty-five years later, Joel Karsten is the recognized pioneer of Straw Bale Gardening, with his first book an acclaimed NY Times Best Seller and fans around the world.

You can hear Joel's incredible story on the Still Growing gardening podcast. I interviewed Joel in a three-part episodes 515 - 517 and you can hear his incredible personal story and his method of growing in straw bales. And, you can hear about the amazing impact his technique has had around the globe in Episode 556.
Today's featured book, Straw Bale Gardens Complete contains all of the original information from Joels first books, 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 and making your straw bale garden completely organic. 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.
If you've attempted a straw bale garden without using Joel's expertise, you really should get his book, or at least listen to those very thorough interviews we did, and give it another go. It's an incredible way to garden in the most challenging situations and in Cold Climates, you can gain extra growing time - somewhere around 6-8 weeks - in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall - that alone makes it worth doing.


"If you have a garden, a garden podcast, and a library,
you have everything you need."

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