Posted on May 31, 2013 @ 04:22:00 AM by Paul Meagher
My book order for Straw Bale Gardens (Joel Karsten, 2013, Cool Springs Press, Minnisota) came in this week.
If you are into gardening or farming, then I'd recommend it as eye-opening exploration of the possibilities of straw bale gardening.
Straw is hay without the seeds so requires a threshing stage before you bale it. The drawback to planting in hay bales is that they have hay seed that can germinate in the hay and compete with the plant you want to grow. I grew potatoes fine in haybales last year so I would have liked to have seen more exploration of hay bale gardening in the book as they are a cheaper and significantly easier to produce bale than a straw bale. Other than that quibble, it is an enjoyable book to leaf trough to see his gardening/farming methods illustrated with abundant photo-based descriptions and explanations.
I made a note of his "glove of death" technique for dealing with unwanted sprouting seeds in hay bales. It involves dipping a dishwashing glove in vinegar and selectively touching the plants you don't want. Vinegar is non-selective in what it kills so you have to be careful you don't apply it to the plant you want to grow.
This is the time of year when alot of people are thinking about gardening with plans to garden this weekend if the weather is good. If you don't go overboard on planting expenses you can potentially grow some of your own food cheaply. A few hay bales, a few bags of earth/compost for the top, and you can be in business with a small but potentially productive home garden.