Joel Karsten

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1313 Willow Circle Saint Paul, Minnesota 55113

Author and TEDx speaker...gardening is in my blood! My best selling book "Straw Bale Gardens" shook up the gardening world with the introduction of my revolutionary methods, with millions converted worldwide. Listed recently on TheBestTedTalkEver.com

w: The Straw Bale Garden Club is inspiring straw bale gardeners
around the world!

w: Learn To Grow A Straw Bale Garden on Facebook

w: Just listed on TheBestTedTalkEver.com so check it out!

e: view email joel@strawbalegardenclub.com

Additional Information

Straw Bale Gardening can be beautiful and bountiful


Joel's Bio:

While still a Horticulture Science undergrad at the University of Minnesota he started a small business, planting flowers for his professors and their neighbors.  Born and raised on a tree nursery and crop farm in Southwestern MN, Joel has a foundation in horticulture and an entrepreneurial spirit.  He earned a bachelor’s degree, later became a garden book author and winner of the P.J.Redoute award for practical horticulture in 2014 for his best selling book "Straw Bale Gardens" which has been translated into a number of foreign languages around the world.  His presentations are always fun, very educational, and will inspire the audience to go home, grab a shovel, and make their backyard into the envy of the neighborhood!  

In the 1990's Joel began experimenting with production of vegetables in decomposing bales of straw.  After a few years of experimentation and trial and error, he figured out what works best and wrote it all down.  He eventually transitioned completely from a traditional soil based vegetable garden to producing all but a couple of vegetable crops in straw bales.  The maintenance of his garden went to nearly nothing, and left him time to write his first book "Straw Bale Gardening" in an effort to help others skip the learning curve on using his methods.  His thousands of Straw Bale Gardening converts will attest to anyone who will listen, that "growing in bales has changed their life, and they'll never go back to their old methods."

Now an award winning author with Cool Springs Press, Karsten is working on future projects and speaking regularly around the world.  Audience feedback from his appearances attests that whether they are avid gardeners or novices they are impressed with his revolutionary new ideas, humor, inspiring stories and general knowledge of horticulture. 

If you are looking for a keynote speaker, Joel would be happy to work with your organization to customize a presentation specifically for you.  Most of his seminars are PowerPoint based with live visual aides and props.  Karsten is a professional speaker, and travels regularly, however he prefers to communicate directly with clients to coordinate dates and execute contracts without an agent.  He is very accessible via his website or email him at Joel@StrawBaleGardens.com and be assured that he will always reply quickly.


The STRAW BALE GARDENS® method has proven to hundreds of thousands of gardeners and non-gardeners around the world, that it really is a simple way to grow vegetables or flowers anywhere with only sunlight and water.  If you have been under the impression that the only place to grow healthy crops was in good soil, you must let Karsten explain why you’ve been so misinformed. He will show you how to grow a bountiful garden in decomposing bales without using herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and without weeding.  His audiences learn how to plant a wide variety of vegetables, root crops, vining crops, fruits, and even beautiful flower gardens, directly into “conditioned" straw bales.  Never again do the heavy-lifting or bending, required with traditional soil-based gardens.  If anyone is thinking of growing a vegetable garden for the first time, or if you are concerned that your days of doing the hard work in the garden may be short, then start using bales! The STRAW BALE GARDENS® method makes gardening so much easier, and so much more fun.

Karsten speaks at events and programs all over the United States and around the world.  Helping to change the standard agricultural paradigm in many parts of Asia, Karsten presents workshops and gives presentations all over the world. Recently holding workshops to educate the educators in Cambodia about this unique method of gardening. The method has now become part of a solution that is helping some of the poorest populations on earth to sustain year around food production in their climate. Truly making huge strides toward solving the problem of world hunger, by teaching people how to overcome issues with soils and climate and teaching them how to grow their own food at almost zero input cost.  Other current projects Karsten is involved in are in the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Korea, Nepal, India and every corner of the United States from tropical Florida to deserts in Arizona and the cold of Alaska.  Karsten has traveled the world to spread the word about his amazing STRAW BALE GARDENS® method, which is being embraced ever more quickly as agriculture experts around the world have begun to understand how effective and simple this method of growing truly is and how it can solve almost any problem gardener’s might face.

Karsten's book "Straw Bale Gardens" was applauded by the New York Times writer Michael Tortorello as "a transformative garden technology - for under $100!"  Generating over 1,000 media appearances and launching Karsten's books to the Best-Seller-List, it has made a big impact on the gardening world.  Now printed in many languages the book has launched a speaking career that has taken Karsten around the world speaking to frustrated gardeners looking for alternatives to difficult sites, and solutions to so many other problems that traditional gardening methods can't address.

While Karsten has four best-selling books on the STRAW BALE GARDENS® method he pioneered, he also speaks about other topics.  He has presented on a number of different topics and is open to additional suggestions that organizers would be interested in having for their audiences. 


Other topics include:

“Fueling The Engine With Innovative Ideas” – Joel shares several of his biggest innovations and most successful ideas. He shares a few of his most humorous ideas that turned out to be complete failures. Inspiring audiences to pursue the ideas that we all have. He will present his methods used to quickly evaluate each idea’s potential. He will demonstrate how to fail quickly, and making three steps forward for every two steps back, every…single…day, until reaching success island. Some practical and serious advice about pursuing patents, trademarks and copyrights, from a non-lawyer perspective. A few ideas about manufacturing, marketing and licensing new products are also offered to audiences, just in case they decide to pursue one of their own million-dollar ideas.

Building an Outdoor Room" - an overview of the trend of creating outdoor spaces that expand the living area of a home to the outdoors.  This involves planning, building, hardscapes, softscapes, fireplaces, water features and lighting.  With so many things to think about and Karsten provides a road map that anyone can easily navigate to create a stunning outdoor space that will be the envy of the whole neighborhood. 

"Composting" - a humorous and informative look at composting.  A compost bin's vital necessity in a garden, and the practical implementation of a plan to compost for a household.  Simple techniques and effective designs for composting facilities are offered. 

"Outdoor Lighting" - a revolution in outdoor lighting has taken place right under our noses in the past ten years, making lighting easier, cheaper, more practical and fun.  Everyone can improve the curb appeal, safety, and functionality of their property with a solid understanding of outdoor lighting techniques.  The audience will leave with a new understanding of an under-appreciated aspect of a well-crafted landscape.

"Container Gardening" - understanding the basics of selecting containers for a specific application, and proper planting media, techniques for planting, watering and practical uses for containers in a landscape are all covered in this presentation.  Everyone loves flower pots, but this presentation will inspire them to take their next plantings to a whole new level of beautiful.


Roseville, Minnesota 55113

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Audience Reviews

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super great

William Fleming from Mountain Home ,Ar. - 02/10/2019 11:25:10

the best speaker I have heard on straw bale gardening

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Genuine Help

Sue Cook from Wisconsin - 10/13/2017 12:41:31

Great instructions!

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regular guy with a radical method :)

Kelly Cusick from Minnesota - 10/01/2017 19:48:31

I've heard Joel Karsten speak several times and enjoyed every single presentation. He is friendly, funny, relaxed and interesting. No putting on airs; no pompous-professor-style; just great information about an amazing new method of gardening that totally works!

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