SG556: Joel Karsten Helps Farmers in Cambodia and How Straw Bale Gardens Solves the Toughest Growing Challenges
Joel pioneered his now popular method of Straw Bale Gardening almost 25 years ago. The author of Straw Bale Gardens, Joel receives letters from grateful gardeners from around the globe. Cambodia’s agricultural challenges are many including yearly flooding and drought with temperatures in the summer well over 100 degrees. In April of last year, Joel was invited by the Korean Trade Partners (KOTRA) to Cambodia to teach Straw Bale Gardening using plentiful Rice Straw. By mitigating challenges and leveraging the ingenuity of the agricultural community, Joel’s method is increasing self reliance and improving food security for Cambodians.
BONUS: Check out the Still Growing podcast archive for my three part series featuring Joel in episodes SG515 Joel’s Story, SG516 How to Straw Bale Garden, and SG517 Advanced Straw Bale Garden Techniques and Q&A.
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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.
I want to get your thoughts on self-resilience and food security. Those two things are big challenges for Cambodia, aren’t they?
Time Stamp: 23:50
Please share to the listeners a little bit of an overview on how you pioneered this method of growing (straw bale gardening) and what’s involved?
Time Stamp 26:30
What is the difference between a straw bale and hay bale?
Time Stamp 31:25
You told me that straw bale gardening is more popular in other parts of the world than it is in the United States. Why is that?
Time Stamp 34:15
It seems that there were two groups that played a role in getting you over to Cambodia. How did they find you and reach out to you?
Time Stamp 49:05
It’s fascinating to me that South Korea has taken Cambodia under their wing. Do they do that for the entire region or is it just something special with Cambodia?
Time Stamp 1:03:05
Did the U.S department of Agriculture play a role in all of this?
Time Stamp 1:07:35
What kind of reaction did you receive when you were teaching this method to farmers and teachers?
Time Stamp 1:10:15
Let’s do a crash course in Cambodia and pick you brain on the country in general before we dive into some of the things you did that.
Time Stamp 1:12:35
How many days were you there for?
Time Stamp 1:16:45
So, when you first show up, what was the reaction like?
Time Stamp 1:17:55
Once you were in Cambodia, you were conducting training courses. What was that like?
Time Stamp 1:21:20
How did their questions differ from a typical presentation or conference you’ve done in the U.S.?
Time Stamp 1:26:15
I’m starting to get a picture of what it looked like to be there. Are their homes on highland if they have to deal with regular flooding? How is it all structured/placed?
Time Stamp 1:33:50
You spoke about the dry and raining seasons. What other conditions did you have to take into consideration before teaching the farmers straw bale gardening?
Time Stamp 1:36:20
Let’s talk a little bit about the organic medium you’ve been working with. You mentioned that prior to straw bale gardening, the leftover rice straw was burned instead of reused.
Time Stamp 1:38:30
Do they have pest issues that they have to face?
Time Stamp 1:44:40
Was this an all-male class or did you have some women as well?
Time Stamp 1:46:45
How do you make floating gardens with straw bale?
Time Stamp 1:48:50
Let’s take a look at some of your pictures! Go to Joel’s facebook page and check out the photos from May to follow along.
Time Stamp 1:54:15
What did going to Cambodia mean to you?
Time Stamp 2:09:25
You’ve created an organic conditioning product for straw bales that helps prepare the bale for growing. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Time Stamp 2:13:25
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Episode SG515: Straw Bale Gardening Pioneer
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Episode SG517: Straw Bale Gardening part 3
Spinning straw into food security
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What listeners are saying...
I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.
- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016
Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.
- cwaigl, May 29, 2014
Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.
- Corn bug, June 15, 2016
This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!
- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016
[…] week, Joel Karsten returned to the Still Growing Gardening Podcast in episode SG556 to tell us all about his amazing trip to help farmers in Cambodia. At the end of the episode, […]
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