Joel Karsten Unleashed!

joel karsten straw bale gardening

Joel Karsten of straw bale gardening fame just stopped by to leave me a few choice words on this post:

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I responded:


“Hi Joel.

I don’t have any money tied up in the straw bale gardening concept. You shouldn’t have attacked me like a rabid dog over at The Grow Network – that’s not the way to win people over. Heck, I would have been happy to interview you and learn more. I’ve learned from plenty of people in the past.

I also notice you have no problem plugging your book with The Grow Network even after you slammed them as clickbait, etc.

You owe me an apology. I originally wrote this article based on my own experience and that of other gardeners. You somehow took it as an attack on you, and slammed me. I won’t stop until you apologize – and any time someone looks up straw bale gardening or Joel Karsten, they’ll see in your own words just what a spiteful person you are.”


As for the “copyright protected images,” he’s talking about a screencap I took from a Google Image Search, not any pics I stole from his site. I took that jpg down and replaced it with his comment instead as its much more entertaining.

I don’t understand this guy. If he’d not attacked me, I would have happily followed my original article by interviewing him. We all have plenty we can learn.

However, it’s become obvious that he’d rather fling mud in the comments section of my posts.

It’s also become apparent that he’s a terrible writer. He’s slamming me for not having any background in this, that and the other thing – yet it’s obvious he’s lacking solid background in the English language.

If that didn’t stop him from writing a book, what’s to stop me from observing the fact that hay or straw can sometimes destroy gardens?

He’d do better to quit trashing his critics and instead settle down with a glass of lemonade and a copy of Dale Carnegie.

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  • Me doth think Sir Joel doth protest too much.
    I have an idea that something else might be a foot with his web rage. It might be something completely unrelated to you. Some problems we do not know about…. behind every time some one acts like a jerk… that includes you and I…. there is usually a reason…….I’ve got to stop watching reruns of Fraser on Netflik!

  • On the up side, Joel stopping by did give me an entertaining post for the day.

  • The upside is the thing to focus on.

    I can see how being known for one thing, then having that threatened at an existential level, could set someone off. Still a very poor way to handle things.

    It bummed me out when I read this way back when, because this was something I really wanted to try.

  • If you used a single image in the context of a discussion, it probably is “fair use” aka “fair dealing” under copyright laws. Given the hyper reaction, replacing it with his comment is probably the optimal action here.

    Karsten’s reply that it is off-label use, hence illegal is an incredibly weak defense. It is not the case that everyone reads labels and follows the directions. Also, a law that codifies label advice of herbicide or pesticide manufacturers is an example of the “administrative state” run amuck. Laws are written and passed by legislators, not chemical companies.

    • Yeah, I don’t want to bother with crazy people, so it makes sense to switch it. It’s funnier, too.

      You’re right about the off-label thing as well. It’s silly, since a lot of farmers use what they use without sitting down and reading through it all. Being “illegal” does not make something not happen. By that metric, the Parkland shooting could never have happened. It was a gun-free zone!

  • Weeellll… How come using the same manure/hay/straw mix I always used with great results for 30+ years on my veges and fruits now (and for past 4-5 years)makes my plants look all misshapen and weird???? I am to scared now to use it on most food plants now and spread it back over the pasture… Doesnt sound like this guy is in touch with reality enough to know whats really happening… And talk like that is just asinine…

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