Q&A Interview with Joel Karsten!

Feb 7, 2024, 18:05 PM


Meet Joel Karsten, a farm boy who grew up tending a soil garden like other gardeners have for centuries, shook up the gardening world with his first book describing his breakthrough Straw Bale Gardening concept. Joel is appearing on stage Friday and Saturday where he will share his expert advice!


The New York Times called Straw Bale Gardening “a revolutionary gardening method” and his ideas have been enthusiastically embraced globally, making his books best-sellers in many languages. He is renowned for his social media presence, blog and on-line impressions.  Karsten has inspired tens of thousands of first-time gardeners and a legion of “seasoned” growers who found a new and better way to pursue their passion. He has inspired many “retired” gardeners to begin gardening again once they learn how his method eliminates the physical challenges found in traditional soil gardening.



man wearing a black sweater standing in front of buildings


What home gadget or tool should every homeowner own? Every home owner should have a handheld pruner to cut back tree limbs or shrubbery that gets out of hand.


Best home purchase for under $100? LED light fixtures in both garage and entryway. No more ladders to change bulbs every year!


What is one project you tell people to NOT do as DIY? Never ever try to lay carpeting yourself. It is simply not a DIY project and never looks as good as a pro job.


What’s one outdoor tip for big impact in landscaping or curb appeal? Always allow a minimum of ½ the height of the house for the width of the planting beds. So a 12’ height of wall means a minimum of 6’ wide planting beds. It seems too wide but planning for plant growth is key to not looking crowded in just a couple of years.



man wearing a red shirt planting a plant in a garden


What do you recommend as a rule of thumb for mixing patters or materials in design and décor projects? Avoid planting shrubs in alternate patterns. A green then a red then a green then a red bush, this is fatal to design. Groupings are always preferred.


What home trends are you loving? What styles do you think will emerge in the future? The use of stone is trendy but also eternally stylish. Natural materials are also going to emerge for the future as well. It is something about balancing the sterile design of modern tech with nature that requires natural materials to balance out all of the straight white lines in most modern designs.


What’s in your bag or purse? Mostly charging cables, battery packs, and maybe a few extra copies of Straw Bale Gardens Complete, just in case I meet someone who needs some reading material to get them excited for spring.


In your opinion what’s the most underrated tool in your toolbox? My continuity tester. More than once I used it to quickly realize that wire I was about to touch wasn’t actually shut off as I presumed, and avoided a shocking result.


Learn more about Joel and read more of his tips at www.StrawBaleGardenClub.com


Joel will be on our Garden Stage on Friday at 2pm & 4pm, Saturday at 11am & 3pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 3pm! Buy tickets today at https://kcremodelandgarden.mpetickets.com/.