Minnesota gardener shares a new way to garden

With the straw bale method and a 6-week greenhouse, Joel Karsten shares ways to have a smarter, more efficient garden

Posted: Feb 29, 2020 2:26 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Spring is not that far away, and it will soon be time to get growing in your garden.

The 29th annual North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show is underway this weekend at the North Iowa Events Center. Vendors ranging from tile and woodwork, to roofing, siding and windows, to plants and gardening will be on hand providing fresh ideas for projects.

Joel Karsten is a Minnesota-based author and gardener who first popularized the straw bale garden method, which doesn't require much maintenance, or the use of a lot of tools. He says there are many advantages to it as compared to traditional gardening.

"It's raised off the ground so you don't have to bend over as far. There are no weeds - if you ever have any disease or insect problems that are soil borne, like tomato blight, this is a great solution for that. If you have black walnut trees and you can't plant in the soil, this is a great solution."

In addition, he's also sharing his work on a '6-week greenhouse', which is made out of cattle panels, plastic and 2' x 4's, with straw bales inside. It's aimed at getting plants started well before spring planting, and can fit for any gardener, younger or older, first timers or well experienced.

"As soon as you add nitrogen and water, the bales warm up to 130-140 degrees, so that will keep the greenhouse warm. You can put seed trays on top of these warm bales, and it keeps those seed trays nice and warm from the bottom, but yet they get cool air temperature on top. You get the nicest little vegetable starts out of that greenhouse. When the summer comes, tear the cover off in the middle of May, and plant the bales. Now your tomatoes and cucumbuers crawl over the top of the challice and form a tunnel."

Karsten will be among a few experts hosting seminars throughout this weekend. If you're interested in hearing from them, and checking out the rest of the show, the show runs from 10-7 on Saturday and 11-4 Sunday. Admission is $5, with kids 12 and under free.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 483790

Reported Deaths: 6543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1003791583
Ramsey42945800
Dakota36091387
Anoka33200384
Washington21986254
Stearns18703200
St. Louis14746262
Scott13209107
Wright12489115
Olmsted1176188
Sherburne869772
Carver765240
Clay688887
Rice667191
Blue Earth591035
Kandiyohi578474
Crow Wing518381
Chisago496844
Otter Tail481370
Benton444890
Winona416649
Mower402731
Douglas392268
Nobles386547
Goodhue384468
Polk342262
McLeod338349
Beltrami336751
Morrison323547
Lyon312444
Itasca311646
Becker309941
Isanti305354
Carlton299848
Steele299211
Pine281916
Freeborn279823
Nicollet256041
Todd246330
Brown243537
Le Sueur233920
Mille Lacs226747
Cass219124
Waseca208617
Meeker206934
Martin188228
Wabasha18613
Roseau179617
Hubbard160640
Houston157114
Dodge15154
Renville149040
Redwood146527
Fillmore13708
Chippewa135935
Cottonwood134520
Pennington131816
Wadena130220
Faribault122716
Aitkin118733
Sibley117110
Watonwan11708
Rock115614
Kanabec107319
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93310
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77615
Stevens7398
Lake73518
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66910
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5052
Grant4908
Norman4768
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3025
Lake of the Woods2161
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361499

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58007549
Linn20606312
Scott18279207
Black Hawk16223290
Woodbury14924211
Johnson1380473
Dubuque13522194
Dallas1132690
Pottawattamie10762143
Story1018945
Warren553474
Clinton542484
Cerro Gordo532781
Webster517687
Marshall495572
Sioux493469
Buena Vista472736
Des Moines457061
Muscatine450691
Wapello4314108
Jasper416266
Plymouth394277
Lee374752
Marion358469
Jones294354
Henry293037
Carroll285348
Bremer279154
Crawford273435
Boone259130
Washington253747
Benton252054
Mahaska223846
Jackson221138
Dickinson217238
Tama212965
Kossuth208154
Clay193125
Hamilton191942
Delaware188639
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan184629
Fayette184335
Page182619
Hardin180839
Wright179531
Harrison179469
Cedar177023
Clayton168053
Butler165831
Mills162820
Floyd162740
Madison154018
Poweshiek153630
Cherokee153535
Hancock146729
Lyon145941
Allamakee144946
Iowa144223
Grundy138830
Appanoose138647
Jefferson138232
Winnebago137730
Calhoun133311
Cass133351
Mitchell130640
Louisa128341
Union126331
Chickasaw124813
Sac124218
Emmet120940
Shelby120433
Franklin118419
Humboldt117225
Guthrie116228
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard102821
Clarke100320
Unassigned9850
Keokuk97829
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida90832
Pocahontas85219
Davis82523
Monona81527
Greene76910
Lucas73221
Osceola70314
Worth6947
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5749
Van Buren56018
Ringgold51820
Wayne48721
Audubon4869
Adams3264
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Tracking a cool start to the work week then a big warm-up!
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