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Straw Bale Gardens: The Breakthrough Method for Growing Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier and with No Weeding Paperback – March 15, 2013

434 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Are you ready to learn about a transformative garden technology that could change your life - for less than $100?" - New York Times



"Since the book was published in March 2013, thousands of gardeners from just about every country in the world have tried his techniques, which he pioneered shortly after receiving a degree in horticulture from the University of Minnesota." - DallasNews.com

From the Back Cover

Straw Bales: Nature’s Perfect Planting Container
 
Straw Bale Gardens . . .
- Get High Yields
- Never Need Weeding
- Do Not Require Soil
- Extend Growing Season by Weeks
- Can Be Conventional or 100% Organic: Your Choice
- Can Go Anywhere: Even Balconies and Driveways

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Springs Press; First edition (March 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591865506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591865506
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (434 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

202 of 203 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Kistler on July 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
The reviews here seem to be mostly "plan to, want to, expect to".

I'll make this short and sweet...I put in two bales this year as a trial and the results were not good...there were incredibly good!!!

I put in four tomatoes, three peppers, a zucchini, and a lemon cucumber on two bales, consciously trying to stress the concept to see what it would deliver.

I will never garden any other way! The plants all grew rapidly and have been exuberantly productive. In addition, for the first time in 25 years living in this location (San Francisco Peninsula), I have not had to fight the slugs and snails! One tried to climb the bale but gave up. What a relief to be freed of that struggle.

We're waiting for the huge crop of tomatoes to ripen while we harvest zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers.

I wholeheartedly recommend Mr. Karsten's book!
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95 of 95 people found the following review helpful By R. Burke on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has revolutionized how I garden. I have a 40x14 foot greenhouse and extensive outdoor gardens. However, I live high in the Rocky Mountains and my soil is nothing more than crushed shale. It costs me an arm and a leg to haul in compost every year and since my property is all pasture I don't have the luxury of leaves for massive amounts of compost. I started using straw bales for part of my garden last summer and I was stunned. It was the best garden I've ever had here. And at the end of the season we moved the wet, partially composted bales to the flower gardens and let them compost over the winter. Because the inside of the bales is warm from all the compost I was able to start plants a full 30 days before the normal season, with the help of a frost blanket on cold nights. I've brought in all straw bales for this summer and have already planted my spring crop in the greenhouse. This summer I'm adding Azomite dust and fungus to the bales, along with red earth worms. I think I'll end up planting half of my gardens in straw bales each year. Then use the leftover, partially composted bales to enrich my poor soil so I'll be gardening half in amended soil and half in bales each year. It's less expensive than hauling in compost and MANY FEWER weeds!
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Ed J Getz on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
4 Months after getting the book I can say this method works great. We tried the straw bale and cannot belive the results so far in 2013.. we are in Minnesota and with tilled clay soil always had a uninspiring crop. A lot of fruit on the vine and hope they all ripen and taste great..TBD..The basel has the best we ever tatsed and so aromatic..Do recommend this process and are planning to expand for 2014
Oct 2 2013 UPDATE: This was the best veggie garden we have had. The only problem is that we had tried to many different plants in two straw bales.Crops that grew very tall ( Basel and tomatoes)overshadowed the smaller height plants like carrots and onions. We will extend the bales next year and have a section for smaller plants by themselves. Otherwise the plants liked the conditions. It is important to keep the watering up at ;east evry couple days.. For a first year experiment thumbs up..
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Keith Orr on July 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading the NY Times article about the book and the concept of straw bale gardening. The author is a bit optimistic about the time it takes to condition the bales based on my experience after following his method to the T. Plan on four weeks. I think it's better to start early and give yourself a bit of leeway. I do live in the cool damp NW and that may have affected my results.

The book is worthwhile for great illustrations and the basics of straw bale gardening. Supplement the book by Googling "Straw Bale Gardening" and get some advice from others that have also been employing this technique for years.

One other note. I expected the bales to breakdown more than they did before planting. The best tool I found for planting is an old hatchet. I whack away where I want to plant things that come in pots to make the hole for planting.
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64 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Podlesny on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I will be the first to admit that I am a traditional gardener ... soil, raised beds etc. ... but now after reading Straw Bale gardens, I am excited to give this technique a try.

The book is educational from the intro where he gives a brief history of who he is and who inspired him, through the end. Not only will you learn the straw bale gardening method, but also a few other things along the way.

If you were considering jumping into straw bale gardening, then you NEED this book!
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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Gardner on July 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was intrigued by this concept, and since I was moving my garden to a sunnier location, I gave it a try. I will enjoy a good harvest, but the whole process has been costly and labor intensive. Ten days conditioning the bales was a chore. Mine is not a grain producing region, so bales run $8-10 each. I don't ordinarily buy fertilizer of any kind, just use my own compost. But fertilizer is required for the bales. We have had a wet season, and my bales are starting to disintegrate in mid-July. When all is said and done, I will have a nice heap of compost in the location where I should have built new raised beds in the first place. Will do next season.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Kathy S on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cannot wait to try this, but the snow is still here. Good directions and pictures to follow. I am a visual person so this helps a lot. Layout of the garden samples are great, so I can decide what I want to plan for if spring ever comes.
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