Cover image of GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast
Health & Fitness
Natural Sciences

GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast

Updated 2 days ago

Health & Fitness
Natural Sciences
Read more

The GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast will inspire, teach, and promote earth friendly techniques by interviewing organic gardeners who share their journeys, tips, and tricks to simplify the process of growing your own delicious healthy food. Whether you want to have a small bed in your backyard or a full grown farming operation, our guests will help you reach your gardening goals and offer you resources and solutions to everyday gardening challenges, and inspiration to dig down in the dirt and get growing!

Read more

The GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast will inspire, teach, and promote earth friendly techniques by interviewing organic gardeners who share their journeys, tips, and tricks to simplify the process of growing your own delicious healthy food. Whether you want to have a small bed in your backyard or a full grown farming operation, our guests will help you reach your gardening goals and offer you resources and solutions to everyday gardening challenges, and inspiration to dig down in the dirt and get growing!

iTunes Ratings

108 Ratings
Average Ratings

Great info

By Createtiti - Aug 10 2018
Read more
I feel so motivated to garden after listening to each episode :)

Organic Gardener Podcast

By Cap Toni - May 24 2016
Read more
I look forward to being inspired by the shows.

iTunes Ratings

108 Ratings
Average Ratings

Great info

By Createtiti - Aug 10 2018
Read more
I feel so motivated to garden after listening to each episode :)

Organic Gardener Podcast

By Cap Toni - May 24 2016
Read more
I look forward to being inspired by the shows.
Cover image of GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast

GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast

Latest release on Feb 19, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 2 days ago

Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

Rank #1: 245. No-till Gardening | a Farmden | The Ever Curious Gardener, The Weedless Gardener and The Pruning Book | Gardening Author Lee Reich | Hudson Valley, NY

Podcast cover
Read more

The Ever Curious Gardener: Using a Little Natural Science for a Much Better Garden

I grew up on Long Island, just got back from New York, but IDK if I have ever been there. I talked at a guy Aiden who is a manager at Young’s Farm and Larry Tse who runs a farm for Dig Inn which is also in the Hudson Valley. It is July 11, 2018 and I have a guest who’s books have been recommended a number of times on the show.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I did not grow up in agriculture

a long time ago I was in college and grad school in Chemistry, then i dropped out of grad school in Chemistry and I moved to Vermont for a year to figure out what I was gonna do and I got really into reading about gardening. After a year of not doing much in VT I went to grad school in Ag at the U Wisconsin. 

I dove into gardening intensively, I was learning a lot, because I didn’t know anything!

I was learning a lot about soil science especially, because that’s what I was in grad school in and after few years I got a degree in horticulture too. Still gardening crazily.

access to a good agriculture library so I would read everything I could find besides doing it. I worked for the Soil Conservation Services which is now called the Natural Resource Conservation.

Went back to school and got my Doctorate in Horticulture with a specialty in fruit crops. I worked for Cornell for a while, when that job ended I went off on my own lecturing and writing and consulting.

The whole time I did garden like a maniac, I still do, it hasn’t lost  it’s appeal. I still love it!

One other addition when I moved to NY to work for Cornell so I planted 3/4 acre

fruit trees

The Farmden

field another 2 acres south of my property. A little over 2 acres. Instead of planting 2 of each fruit tree I planted 20 so I could study them more. I renamed it a farmden, more then a garden a little less then a farm!

Tell me about your first gardening experience was that in Grad school?

When I was very very young we had a house just north of NYC

We had a house with a small vegetable garden, it was planted by the swing set. I wasn’t that into the garden, I liked eating from the garden. I remember my father giving me this shovel and said, turn over the soil here. It was taller then me, I remember trying to put the shovel in the ground, it was like a rock, it was a stiff clay soil. 

It’s tough when you have that kind of soil, Mike was just telling me the other day don’t dig there, don’t you see all those rocks. 

Weedless Gardening The Hassle-Free All-Organic System

a bold title the publisher made up, I always say it’s not Weedless, it’s Weed Less gardening, the main theme, that I practiced is 

no till

My garden soil has not been dug for many years


studying soil science

goes back to trying to shovel in the ground when I was a little kid. 

You did all this school, started writing, gardening the whole time, so I guess one big questions I have is that at school you don’t always learn the organic way, and how did you learn the No-Till thing?

Not in school, as a matter of fact, it was kind of mentioned disparagingly,  if at all…

definitely didn’t each organic

sort of learning basic soil science

basic soil science

isn’t organic or not organic, it’s just basic soil science and can be applied organically or not organically but I used it from the organic perspective

Now most of the land grant colleges have come around to noting the benefits of organic guarding learning the basics.

I like to learn from books and trying things out in the field.

I was trying things out reading a lot and gardening a lot

I feel lucky to have that opportunity to have access to all that literature and have a garden. 

classroom access to have a classroom

could not live anywhere without a garden.

I think that’s perfect for my listeners because I think a lot of my listeners are like that , there are definitely new gardeners but may are master gardeners people who’s whole backyard is a garden, and they have been doing  it a lot like you have. Do you want to tell us about something that grew well this year?

Let me say one more thing. A lot of people, I actually wrote a book that just came out this past spring.

The Ever Curious Gardener: Using a Little Natural Science for a Much Better Garden

  • relates to what I said previously
  • people don’t realized the awesomeness of the science that’s going on in the garden
  • making plants grow
  • stick a seed
  • what’s happening out there
  • get better results
  • garden
  • was quite good
  • just cause I learned what was going

If you have any tips for soil health because that is a total theme on my show.

TIPS galore on soil health

start out studying soil

before I studied horticulture

hate to even throw out anything it goes to the landfill is to me disrespect for soil

The no-till thing is

care for the soil

not a religion like you are a bad person if you till your soil. 

But if you manage a system where you don’t have to till the soil, it really does lead to healthier soil

increase soil organic matter

  • physical characteristics
  • nutritional characteristics
  • really increase soil’s organic matter.

When you till a soil

  • fungi
  • hype
  • thin threads

When you till a toil it breaks them up worms obviously won’t like a soil that’s being tilled all the time

main things

really important

building up organic matter as much as possible with 

  • compost
  • manures
  • cover crops

I’m lucky because I’ve been over 30 years in same place

  • levels are super high
  • nice and soft
  • joy to work.

Well, I know listeners are probably wondering and I know we struggle here if we are building new beds, where do you come up with soil. I mean we never have enough compost. We’re constantly expanding. Now he has this thing I call the mini-farm that’s maybe a 1/4 acre, anytime he puts in new beds, we have 260′ of fence in our old garden.

I also think it’s so true it’s disrespectful to be throwing things out. Are you just talking about organic matter or turing in beat greens when you harvest the beets. This year he grew fava beans but as a cover crop but we harvested the beans. I keep reading about cover crops and you’re supposed to kill them before they flower.

yeah, that’s good.

my suggestion is don’t even turn it into the soil, because when you mix it in you are disrupting the fungi and worms and you are actually adding oxygen while turning up the organic matter.

ways to deal with cover crops so they are winter kill.

on a home garden scale

that winter kills


plant it

really likes cool weather,  come dec, when January comes around the winter kills and then by spring the tops you can rake off and just plant

there’s a lot of research on big farm scales

crimpers that knock it down and sort of cut it up just into the surface. 

Ok, cool, because I haven’t really heard about people using it on a big scale. Good to know.

Another No-Till Tip

keep everything simple

It takes more time to complicate things, people come up with all sorts of things, it will probably alienate some readers, is compost tea

use it

some you can make

compost it rains, the compost goes into the soil. 

separate and water it on my plants

great thing

not worth using

it does have some benefits sometimes and sometimes negative.

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

I look at lot of commercial horticulture, I get these bulletins from Cornell about what pests are around and what sprays to put on things. IDK if it’s

  • just luck?
  • taking care of soil?
  • time things?

Vegetables, I generally find them easy to grow

I have very few pest problems

grow a bunch of different vegetables

something fails you have a lot of other things

very few pest problems

I think a lot of my guests have said that healthy soil is key but I know that I have got the impressions that those of us that live in northern climates the less pests we have and also the majority of my guests have agreed that healthy soil leads to less pests.

semantic thing

plants are healthier you get less pests.

less health

what a healthy plant is, one way could be to define it as no pests.

And no disease?!

Yes, here in the NE

get a lot of pests and diseases

especially on fruit plants

common plants

generally things grow well

I try to grow plums here

Plums have a lot of pest problems

I lot of years, I basically don’t get any plums. Maybe where you are you might have certain limitations for climate. 


you don’t have as many pests

dryer climate.

I am so curious to see, we had a plum tree that was covered in plums like crazy and right before harvest they died and now we have a plum tree that has finally grown an abundance o plums and I’m curious to see what happens?

Maybe you do have some of the diseases we have. I have a plum tree, one has nothing

One is loaded and sometimes as they ripen, they get a fuzzy gray coating and they rot and dry up it’s called brown rot. It is common here in the east.

That one tree was young, only like 3 years old. This one, I want to say has been in there since 2012 and this is the first year it has put out any fruit at all, and it is just covered in plums. 

tell you about one of my successes.

I have a small greenhouses,


Not that small …

Yes, I guess.

I get a lot of use out of it, minimally heat it so it doesn’t freeze

fresh salad stuff all winter

  • fresh kale
  • celery

In the spring I raise all the seedlings from my garden in the greenhouse

in the summer. This is the best part I have four fig trees planted in the ground

I planted in 2001, they have trunks about 8” across. First of all, I have to control the growth because they can get big in a greenhouse. 

A few years ago I started getting one pest

scale insects 

very hard to control, we used to try everything.

  • toothbrush with alcohol
  • spraying with oil
  • try a whole bunch of different things

I grow figs outside in pots that I have to bring into my basement. Every year the scale insects would get the better of me and it was like an actually race fruits are they  before they ripen or not. So I read about it and I find out there are some beneficial insects.

Actually they were mealy bugs

beneficial insects

bought 2 different types

one in April and another...

Sep 03 2018

1hr 13mins


Rank #2: Ending Food Injustice | Leah Penniman | Soul Fire Farm | Grafton, NY

Podcast cover
Read more

I’m super excited because my guest is as passionate about social justice as I am and she’s used her life and skills to really connect social justice and food justice together. I think you will love this interview with Leah Penniman from Soul Fire Farm  in New York!

Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system.

20 years of experience as a soil steward and food sovereignty activist.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land

Definitely, I’d be happy to!

I’ve been farming 22 years and I am the founding co-director of Soul Fire Farms

IT’s a little community farm run by Black-Indigenous Latin and located up in the mountains of Grafton NY

in love with farming my whole life, NY and really see it as a foundation for social justice and environmental stewardship. Here at Soul Fire Farms

We are committed to ending racism in the food system.

Part of that is what we grow in our food.

We grow on 5 acres and all of that gets boxed up to those who need it most in the community



people who have an incarcerated loved one

latin indigenous folks who want to farm

We have cultivated 500 new farmers over the years through our program.

How are you supporting your farm if you are donating all of this food? Where are you getting your money from do you sell some food too? Do you get donations? Where do you get your income from?

That’s a really valid question, we started out as a family farm and we started out to be a viable business. 

it would be a little strange to be training the next generation of farmers if it was a farm that relies on donations or a slush fund. 

So we use a sliding scale model

people who earn more money and have more wealth pay more



The farmer get’s market value for the produce

non-profit branch to our work we get some funds for that that helps with our education 

youth programs we do

public education

We travel all around the regions sharing information about food justice.

I love all this, this weekend was the indigenous march in Washington DC and the kids at a large interaction with the and the government shut down over immigration and here you are helping train immigrants and doing all this wonderful work. I feel like it’s such a timely topic.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

So, I did not grow up gardening

I did grow up in a rural area and was friends with the trees for sure. Our family was often one of the only brown skin families in town.

We got

  • bullied
  • taunted

So we spent quite a bit of time outside and the forest was really our first friend.

When it was time to get a summer job as a team

got a job in Boston at the food project

From the very first time I felt the satisfaction of using a strip hoe  to clean up a row of cilantro I was just completely hooked.

Not only did we grow food on 40 acres

  • urban market
  • garden in the city on vacant lots
  • soup kitchens

social justice and working with the earth directly!

Fascinating! I love the way you talk about getting hooked cleaning up a row of cilatnro? So what were the next steps how did you start a farm?

yeah! So Soul Fire farm started with just our partner

Jonah and our 2 children

newborn and 

south end of Albany my

high poverty area

food deserts

food apartheid

results in certain folks being hungry

others having

join a farm csa that was super expensive and walk over 2 miles to pick up the vegetables

Our neighbors, didn’t have that luxury and when they found out we knew how to farm

encouraging us

purchased this inexpensive and highly eroded land up in the hills no one wanted


build a house



open the farm in the beginning of 2010

So to me this must be a suburb? Rural? Of Albany?

3 1/2 hours

40 minutes


everything is through a CSA farm share

Dr. Booker Taliaferro Washington

Out of Tuskegee University

The idea is people are members. Our commitment because a lot of people don’t have transportation is to take it to their doorstep. We provide this service 

delivery service

In Albany and in Troy 25 minutes

We deliver 100 families!

You have so much going on in a small space

5-6 hours

for meat

Small demonstration flock

for meat we raise in batches of 50

learners get to learn the process of chicken harvesting

we time it so folks get that

acres of fruits and vegetables we have here on the farm.

Tell us about something that grew well this year? 

What was I excited about?

a few things winter

unconventional thing

the horseradish crops

african/american african/dispora

horseradish we grow for a jewish

holiday of passover we use horseradish in cerimony

to remind us of the bitterness of slavery


know matter what you do to it, put it in the most waterlogged, clay soil and hack it up and that reminds me of the tenacity we need in these troubleing times.

We have horseradish growing, we never eat it but it’s definitley growing in very poor soil, getting bigger over the years.

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

something we have been trying to grow


an herb that grows almost like a weed in puerto Rico


  • salsa
  • Sofrito
  • apies 

culantro doesn’t like upstate NY

north Carolina house

culturally important

  • pigeon pea
  • lemon grass
  • black peanut

I’m super excited we have the traditional herbs that our community needs

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season?

well in our region we had a really wet excessively wet


melon collapse

squash weren’t super wicked about it

that’s why we have a diverse farm and you always win some lose some so if you have a lot of different crops you’ll be ok

What are some of the tips you might have like my husband and I have about 1/3 of an acre that we planted and 2 acres sounds so big, do you have any tips for people who want to make that jump from backyard gardener to market farmer.

with 2 acres you can do a lot

really intensively

row crops

10 20 30 acres

100 different types of veggies

We probably started on a 1/3 of an acre. I was just doing it Sundays after school

expanded as capacity and time

don’t have to grow a lot of acre


commercial operation is just 

  • sauerkraut or
  • mushrooms
  • honeybees

So you just focus on one place

I just was going through an interview I did with Aidan from Young’s Farm that was transitioning from traditional to organic farming. 

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?

I’ve tried to eliminate those as much as possible!

I really do love a lot of the tasks others don’t love

  • more rigorous
  • sweat inducing
  • challenging
  • hand digging beds

Last year we had a winter operation

our climate yesterday, it was negative 26º with the windchill

We were doing cut greens in the tunnel, I had frozen fingers and I look around and I realized that the bears and deer, owls are hibernating and here I am trying to farm.

I know that when I go to Long Island i the winter, it’s so cold. I can’t imagine cutting greens in the winter

We reserve our winters now for our community education work.

Do you want to talk about that?

did that for

it’s huge

that’s the main thing I do at this point

managing the farm

farm team


People probably don’t know but

commercial farming is the whitest profession!


latin x

good diversity of people managing farms

it isn’t by accident

discrimination by government

taking away indigenous people’s lands


state of subjugation

At Soul Fire Farms we’re engaging by trying to make as many opportunities for farmers 

people who want to be farmers from marginalized communities

education programs on the farm

trainings and mentorship

land some jobs

making sure that this next generation can make a life on land if they want

Do you have any tips for things that work good? How to set up an internship, how to find people, or mistakes you would tell people not to try. Because having people come work can be a challenge.


definitely get involved in a network



help give you best practices

don’t have anyone

That goes both ways

make sure you are set up to give them a positive experience

  • fair wage
  • adequate house
  • supporting

volunteer days

people come and make sure we have enough experienced folks set up and if we find they keep coming on an ongoing basis we hire them as staff

time to be focused

That’s something people have mentioned that really focusing on teaching and working with the volunteers are doing, make sure you are providing them with an education and a nice lunch, don’t think you are going to just get things done because the volunteers are here that day.

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?

oh, I love almost everything!

I would say the more gross motor skills. I like to

  • dig beds
  • weed
  • transplanting
  • direct seed

fine detail

  • picking bugs
  • harvesting

not so much!

I feel like I can’t loose myself as much

love farming on my own

letting my mind just run free while my body is really engaged in the work of tending the soil!

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

best advice

not in the practical

Karen Washington

rise and root


she’s the reason I’m still farming

I was ready to quit

passionate went to all the conferences

wouldn’t see anyone who looked like me

  • did I chose the wrong thing?
  • did I miss the memo about where I am supposed to be? 

few people in that space

Don’t give up, you’re part of the returning generation of black farmers

hang in there

she was really right and she continues to be a close mentor of mine

Hang in there!

Do you have any suggestions listeners can do to help with things? You seem so solution oriented

that’s the great thing about a problem that’s so big

  • hurting farm workers
  • distributing land unfairly
  • not getting food to people who need it

there’s so many points of solution

If you go to our website at Soul Fire Farms we have all these ways to get involved

action steps on our website

whole list of things communities are acting for


visiting our reparations map

tool folks who have gone through our program put things they need

whether it’s 

  • land
  • or a tractor
  • tech assistance

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be?

Hands down it would be the hoe specifically it would be 

the heavy hoes that the use in west Africa and Haiti

  • primary tillage
  • forming beds
  • cultivation
  • ton of fun to use!

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

Soup Joumou

Haitian national dish

jewel pumpkin

Tiano people in Caribbean


island of ispanola

After the independence was fought and won, the formerly enslaved people celebrated with this pumpkin

every year on new year

independence day we make the soup joumou and share it with our friends and with our community members

That’s interesting!

A favorite internet resource?

To be honest I don’t do much web surfing because 

because something came across a list serve. I’m part of 

Food Service Alliance

US Food Sovereignty Alliance

National Black Food Justice Alliance

So people are kind enough that they will post things relevant to these lists so I don’t have to scroll.

That’s a good recommendation there those listserves because who has time to watch video?! That’s why I love podcasting, cause I’m always like who has time for video? And if it’s a book I want the hard copy in my hands.

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?

I love to read!

My all time favorite

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants


Robin Wall Kimmerer

Like me she is a

  • scientist
  • gardener
  • plant-lover

Has a deep spiritual connection and she weaves all of those together in her book!

I’ve wanted to read that!

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

I think what’s so important is knowing your market

didn’t struggle with that aspect because we started a farm on community interest

stated community need

We were told we need doorstep delivery of vegetables

That’s a good first step

market research

community building

Sometimes when I’m doing the interview. IDK anyone else that I remember where a CSA actually delivers to someone’s home. I always thought I would not make a good CSA customer because I don’t want to be somewhere on a certain day? Does it give you some flexibility. Do you harvest some the day before?

Oh absolutely of course it depends on time of year

mon and tues

putting things in the cooler

Wed morning we box everything up a separate box for each customer and then we deliver between 

noon at

range of times

usually get to your neighborhood between 1-2 so make sure you are home or you leave a cooler or cool space.

I think that doorstep to doorstep is a cool tweek, I talked with Casey O’Leary about doing everything on a bike in the beginning hauling things to the farmer’s market etc.

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

it is

I’ll do my best to choose one thing

more on the environmental side of things

climate chaos

The soil itself is the biggest reservoir of carbon

If everyone in the world would use indigenous agriculture practices we could sequester all that carbon and halt climate change in...

Apr 08 2019



Rank #3: Raw Episode 236: Garden Maker | Bill Sadler | Elwood, KS

Podcast cover
Read more

At Garden Maker Naturals, we want to help gardeners grow their best possible gardens. Every garden is different – different plants, different weather, different soil. Why shouldn’t your fertilizer be just as unique? Today you can build your own burger and design your own doll, so we thought you should be able to formulate your own fertilizer, too. In March of 2017, we launched Garden Maker.

Our three core values are Natural Nutrition, Total Transparency and Complete Control. Natural Nutrition for your garden soil means we only use natural & organic ingredients. Total Transparency lets you know exactly what you’re feeding your garden, because we show you the exact formula of every fertilizer we make – every single ingredient in the bag. And Complete Control means that we make it easy to find or create a fertilizer that contains only the ingredients you want, with nothing that you don’t.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Bio-chemist who fell in love with sustainability

I’ve done a fair amount with

  • soils
  • endangered animals
  • environmental projects

predominantly from the business world because my belief was until the board rooms talk about sustainability nothing’s gonna change but I’m pleased to say a lot of boards are talking about green and what it takes.

Well my listeners are gonna love this because I call my listeners Green Future Growers, they’re

  • forward thinking
  • entrepreneruial
  • visionaries


IDK why in my life I am addicted to business podcasts because when I first went to college I wouldn’t have walked into the business building for the life of me.

Beauty and Briefcase

There’s this funny movie with Hillary Duff called the Beauty and Briefcase and she falls in love with this guy who is not a tree-hugger at all but he’s an environmentalist because it’s efficeincy and reduces waste. And Im very much like that I hate any kind of waste.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

That’s easy one for me!

I had a father who was a bit ahead of his time on the green side

I wouldn’t say he was  a hippy quite opposite

But he

  • liked farming
  • liked the earth
  • understanding what weeds did

At the age 7-8 we had a big garden and I was pretty involved with that

He decided I should sell extra produce

my brother preceded me

1950s we did a farm to market garden stand

back in the before anyone knew what those were

  • 350 -400 tomato plants


  • peppers
  • corn

We sold the excess in a roadside stand

father, he’s not with us but I have to give him full credit

a bit of understanding of what’s good on the earth

and to be involved as a

  • businessman
  • entrepreneurship

5-6 years

Other then a few years when I went away to college I have had a garden every year of my life. Some in there I hadn’t graduate school. My families garden or our own


long long time

There’s been an epiphany in our family because my daughter who lives down the hill from us on a farm is now the head of the family and I’m the assistant and I couldn’t be more thrilled that she has taken up the effort and the staff.

How big is your place?

It’s 200 plus acre farm

now in our family

garden viewed a large garden in most households

grapes and a number of other things

moved another generation looks like her 2 sons are engaging in the garden as well! All exciting for how long we’ve been in the garden industry?

That’s awesome! Do you want to talk about the environmental projects or the endangered animals? How a chemist falls in love with sustainability?

Yeah! a guy told me something I scoffed at when i heard it. The gentleman’s comments was you will gain your passion as you execute it and do it not at teh front end. 

once you see it work and see the results and you will get more excited and that was certainly true for me!

IDK when it all started

this opportunity arose to

environments and habitat

ecosystems are all about

very sucessful I made a  lot of friends

began to study the rest of the planet it all starts with plants

most part dependent on the plants dependent on the sun

Mother Nature

classic ecosystem on macro and micro basis. I began to appreciate was that mother nature in her good wisdom had developed nutritional systems for plants

similar to what animals had done

began to look true for plants as well

we deliver them different

ecosystems in the soil

Dr. Elaine Ingham’s work

soil food web

quote fertilizer and nutritional plane

all of a sudden I understood mother natures systems were more related then different

chemical fertilizers which were always foreign to what an animal eats

no animal eats a refined

no animal eats a static diet

Except a animal eating synthetic in a laboratory environment

nature and what mother nature produces


bring that technology

to people

began building fertilizers

looking at natural solutions for problems

  • personally doing them as well as 
  • building products and businesses relationships

How do you build business relationships for things like that?

how that started

Particular one wiht our garden maker website

that helps customers that buy their own

People who have larger branded names

small companies that have sustainable approaches

I find it kin of a grass roots movement a lot of companies that want to participate

still a lot of road to travel to get everyone on board.

Our new website helps people access that’s the good word

it was hard to find and access so we built a way for people to access it easily


why that all got started is because I wanted to buy 100lbs

We coudn’t get them it was hard!

could buy a semi load

44,000 lbs is a lot!

Can I ask you’re asking about dirt? 1000 lbs of dirt?



  • alfalfa meals
  • mineral sources
  • find in small pound bags but 100 lbs were hard to find!

couldn’t find where I live and I couldn’t find them around other people


access the individual ingredients in what you want

if you’re gonna feed yourself what you’re growing then you ought to know what you’re putting on the ground.

You could argue that these are all proprietary rights, but NO. People want to know

  • what they’re eating
  • feeding soil
  • what their family is going to consume

team for people


see the full formulas


literally buy a semi

  • 10
  • 5
  • 25lb amounts

very excited about that

let’s people have access

the freedom to do as they would like to do for their family!

Mike’s Mini Farm Year One

I’m trying not to say I LOVE ALL THIS! But I really do love it all. My husband’s really the gardener I like to paint in the garden and eat the vegetables maybe grow some flowers, but my husband’s the big gardener. He started this thing I call the mini farm and we are on the major search for dirt we can afford that’s high quality. 

The first year’s attempt was to be somewhat quiet, but we knew in any launch of a technology of this time there would be 

  • wrinkles 
  • bugs 
  • things

We beta tested etc so all last summer

  • We were tweaking

freight rates were not as good as they were supposed to be

  • adjusted

So for us! The real launch began in January and December

New opportunity

go online and internet

be able to buy with full transparency

customize your own

or buy individual ingredients

Do you want to talk about soil testing a bit? That has been recommended on my show a lot. Mike hasn’t gotten his soil tested, last year I actually talked him into trying it and then I dropped the ball on sending it in.

Soil Testing

Soil testing is a very valuable tool

It shouldn’t be over used and where to send things is kind of important

If anyone is listening from a University this is no slam but University 

extension services

have a tendency to make recommendations based on NPK comments lime


We look at it a different level from the University of Missouri named Albrecht


looking at how to bring

soil to life from both chemistry and biology

Part that we spend the most time thinking about is how to feed the biology

  • bacterial
  • fungal
  • insect
  • lives in the soil
  • how does that ecosystem work?

We tend to think of soil tests is do them every other year or every 3rd year because they don’t change overnight

Kind of monitor what you need to do

But we believe if you feed the soil and bring the biology back to correct balance you would be amazed how fast the soil chemistry’ begin to also align themselves

if you provide a food source in a fertilizer  a lot of the soil chemistry issues, not wane but certainly it begins to put things back in balance. I’ve watched it happen!

will begin to

guides to

we like a lab called Logan Labs in Ohio

provide comments back to customers on an organic basis

They will help you solve it looking on the numbers on an organic way if that’s the direction you want to go

soil reports are kind of consumers

I love this because a lot of people ask me that. Where do you send your soil sample.

There’s a nice search engine out there called Google.

My husband likes me to use a search engine called Ecosia that plants trees for every search, sometimes I end up going to Google, but more often for my drive.

do a nice job of helping you of understanding

Apr 09 2018

1hr 12mins


Rank #4: Replay Episode 57: Composting in the Suburbs | Long Island, NY |Peter Ramos

Podcast cover
Read more

Peter Ramos has been gardening on Long Island’s temperate climate for almost 20 years, and has learned many methods for being effective and efficient with a busy family life. He’ll share successful strategies for creating healthy compost, planting perennial beds that look beautiful and enhancing the landscape and some trials and tribulations of growing trees.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Live in the suburbs about 30 miles, a little over an hour from New York City on Long Island, kind of the opposite of the Peter you talked to yesterday who lives further out on the island, so your classic suburb, part of a sort of development area, we’ve lived here almost 20 years.  So I live here with my wife and 2 daughters. And you could reference the interview you did with our mom on episode 10 and you could get two perspective growing up on Long Islands. I like you were very influenced by our parents, both my wife and I love gardening alot.

I could talk about how they influenced me to doing a compost pile. Growing up we did that, and when of the first things we did when we first moved in, I’m not gonna say I did it right away, but after a couple of years, we were lucky enough to have a little area behind the garage which was out of site, cause it’s one of those things where everyone has to make those decisions.

If they’re doing a compost pile, like where am I gonna put it?

Cause it’s not the super most attractive thing, so where am I gonna put it, do I have to worry about smell, or anything and animals. And I was able to find this area, I put it behind the garage by the fence. The first one I bought this border type fence, and I put that in the ground, and I carved out between a 4’x8′ area. It’s like 2’ or 3’ wood slats, the kind of thing you put around the garden, like a white picket fence, rolled up. I don’t know how else to describe it, but a border fence. That was the first go around. That lasted many years, then we remodeled the house, it got neglected, there was like debris on top of it, and it sort of got away from us. So then last year, I was finally able to get it going again, basically the second round, I was able to find some 2x4s and cut those up and put those into the ground and use some chicken wire up. So these are different ways of attacking it.

Add lime

I guess you can use some lime if you get smell, but we never had smell. Because we have a dog, we have a fenced in yard, which probably also helps. People think – the suburb we live in, we get raccoons, and possums, you get squirrels & rabbits, etc, because we have a cat and a dog, we never have too many problems with pests or occasionally we get a squirrel who I guess attacks certain things.

So in the decision you have to think about where am I gonna put it and how am I gonna contain it? So there are things I always talk to people about. Do you want to put it behind some shrubs, where is a good spot maybe that is gonna be tucked away? It’s not the most attractive thing for people to look at. We’ve been lucky that way. And also, in terms of building it, I was lucky to have some found things around it was really easy to do, and now we’re very excited about it again!

Do you want to share what you put in it?

Pretty basic. All of our vegetable scraps from our food prep, we do a lot of cooking. Through spring, summer, into fall, go dormant for the winter.  We add egg shells, coffee grinds, tea, tea bags, then of course we try to do as much, grass clippings, obviously the grass that’s cut we put in there. Then we do that throughout that period, then we reach that point, where we get in the fall, and just cover it with leaves, let it sit through the winter, then come the spring you turn it over and you’ve got it to use. And that’s basically it and it works out pretty well.

The things we do the most any more is planters on the deck, my wife uses it that way, that it’s been really successful. We’ve had some really nice flower parts that way.

By then, the following year, it’s become dirt. It really breaks down we’ve discovered, some things take longer to break down, like avacado skins, especially also corn, corn husks, take longer. Most of it breaks down pretty quickly.

Do you cut up the corn husks etc to make it easier?

No, not really but I do smash up things like pumpkins, watermelon rinds. Break it down and create like a mush, you want things to break down sooner then later.

It is one of these things that, I don’t want to claim I’m any kind of expert, I’m just saying it does work, from experience. You have to tend to it, you do have to do it regularly, turn it every couple of days otherwise it clumps up.

But turning it takes what 2 minutes?

Mmmm. It takes a little bit more. You definitely have to do it at least once or twice a week. If you want it to break down sooner then later? If you want the grass clippings to break down, you have to do a couple of inches deep at least. I use a cultivator, it’s a four pronged, garden tool that has like those prongs, 4 sharp pointy, but it’s got that curve, it’s like a hoe, but its got these prongs.

I don’t use a pitch fork, I did that for year, and then I realized that this cultivator really breaks up the grass, and breaks up the dirt and moves it well, even if your just moving it back and forth. It’s one of those things you kind of have to do like semi-regularly.  If you want to get the most out of it, it does need to break down.

Add Water

It needs water. It needs moisture to break down, if you let it dry out again, it’s kind of wasting,  it will just become dirt, dirt, If you want it to be really nutrient rich, keep the bugs in there, I love as the year goes on, you see more and more earthworms. As I go out there now I see that there are more and more earth worms, but they need the moisture. It’s the kind of thing, when your’ e going out to put your food in there. When I take the food scraps out, I take some time tome the dirt around. It kind of accomplishes it that way. It all depends on how big your pile is. Mine’s about 32 sq feet, so there’s a bit there. You can divide it up and do more at some points, or do 1/2 one day, or another, or 1/2 one week, or another.

The great thing is then you get this great amount of dirt, it’s just a little bit of work to get some great dirt! The philosophy is it’s one more thing you’re not throwing out, and its also adding to your garden and you’ve got this great dirt!!

Go back to what herbs you go.

Our strategies, we’ve worked over the years to be a little bit more of a  “lower maintenance garden”, but it’s proved at times unmanageable, so we say alright, we’re gonna cut back a little. So when it comes to herbs we’ve really got it down to mint and basil. And we’ve got some ornamental oregano growing. We do different types of mint. but like I said over the years I’ve done almost everything. Those are the ones I’ve found that we really enjoy.  Basil for us is just a staple which we love using it throughout the summer for the different things. Mint, is such a great thing to have to put in drinks.

There’s just generic mint.  There is peppermint you can get peppermint and there’s speramint, we have this Chocolate mint, there’s a generic mint. What was one of those other mints, you go to the nursery you can find all these different types of mint. It’s pretty hardy, if anything it can be hard to control, it starts growing, like into the grass and whatnot, it’s like anything else, you need to pay attention to it. It’s worth having.

What’s your favorite drink?

Different, it’s good with rum, lemonade, ice tea. It’s good to have, it’s refreshing, and again it’s good to cook with. There’s lots of good recipes, Middle Eastern things, you can grind it up and use it as a marinade.

Let’s get back to …

You can still have a great garden. We’ve gotten away from the vegetables. We used to do the vegetable gardens, we just found – A at the end of the summer, we didn’t want to go out and weed it, and a lot of times it would just fall into disrepair. So now we’ve just worked on…

We just try to focus on different things, have a lot of variety, have a lot of color, and different things, make it so it’s a little less maintenance. Because we love to garden, it’s one of those things, with our busy lives.

Very event orientated to, it’s a State Park, they wanted to create a CSA, so they are leasing it out to this non-profit, so she found it a fascinating idea, my wife she is excited to be participating in it, another part of the park we’re contributing to, and we get these fresh vegetables,

If you’re into planting a big garden, if you live in the suburbs, and you want some fresher organic vegetables.


Perennials are just great, one of the perennials, I particularly love, is an iris bed, and they produce flowers, they’re seemingly pretty hardy.

We’ve done lots of hosta’s. Come in different colors, some have big leaves,

Like irises you can split them, and they spread like crazy, they’re another one of these really hardy plants. Some produce a leaf that’s really like quite large, big. There might be a flower, big sort of a low plant. They’re great.

My wife does a lot of other different cone flowers, not really wildflowers, whatever they’re called – snowballs? Hydrangeas? The other one, I’m forgetting the name of it. So we’ve moved towards a lot of that stuff. The pots that we grow on the front of the house, she will put annuals in. The kids will have school sales, flats of annuals so her way of supporting the PTA and other organizations etc, is buy the annuals from them, which gives the deck other colors. We do some grasses, ornamental herbs, day lilies all sorts of things that add color and variety to the garden that make it a little more manageable.

Do you put wood chips around or any of that stuff?

I find a lot of people will buy mulch, or do wood chips, thinking it’s gonna prevent weeds, and mulching because you still have to weed your beds as some point. If you fill it up with some of these plants, hopefully it gives less chance for weeds to grow. Im not a big fan of that stuff because it’s like putting a bandaid on, and it’s not gonna eliminate the weeds.

Did you want to talk about trees at all?

I love trees, I think it’s really important to have trees on the property, over the years, for every tree that we’ve taken down, we’ve managed to put one in.

It’s been important to me to try a variety fo trees, I love to have them around. It’s always disappointing when a tree doesn’t make it, we’ve had some different ones, fruit trees, or non-fruit trees, but for what ever reason they don’t make it.  They’ll be scarred, or they didn’t last through a winter.

Do you want to tell listeners what winter’s are like?

Classic NE winter’s and last decade we’ve had a lot of wet winters with a lot of snow. so every winter you always have wonder what’s gonna make it, what’s not gonna make it? The harshness of it can do some damage so I think that adds to what’s gonna survive and what’s not. So we try to put a lot of trees in.  We’ve had to take out some big trees, but sometimes that’s part of the fun, trying different types.

One that we’ve most been most proud of is growing some shrubs and then shape them into a trees. You have to really prune it, so lots of shorts appear.

One’s a dogwood shrub that we’ve shaped like a dogwood tree, you sort of pick one stem, and it just grows and grows and cut those that grow around it, and you just keep cutting the others back, and all the other shoots. One sort of exciting, it’s been classified as an invasive plant, but it’s such  great tree.

It’s an Autumn Olive, it produces and absolutely gorgeous flower in the spring and the bees, it gives the bees a ton of nectar, and its again important listeners to your show probably know the importance of bees, one way we’re making sure in our neck of the woods to make sure they are getting pollen.

We feed the birds in the winter time, we don’t feed them in the spring and the summer time, we have  a deck, we want to keep it cleaner, it might be a bit of a thing for them.

What do you feed your birds?

Generic feed that we get at the hardware store.

What kind of birds do you get?

Mostly sparrows and chickadees, fun to see what interesting juncos, finches, it’s fun to see the occasional passing by the ones that migrate, like warblers…

Everyone can have even if they feel like they don’t have the time, if you just put a little bit of effort, you can have a great variety of things, you always have to put some work into it, you shape it the way you buy and the things you put in,

if you want to spend your time, you can have a really nice garden with flowers and trees and work it so you can still enjoy it and not have to spend a lot of time doing ti.

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

I wish more communities I m not the most vocal about it, but I wish more communities would the trees that they are replacing, I guess again.

In my opinion it would be great to see communities that they’re replacing that they’re cutting down, if a tree dies of old age, if there is a storm, or when in our neighborhood, when they put their sewer in, the oak trees, maple trees, classic big , the ones that convert CO2 into oxygen, they’re now into the 60’s and 70’s being cut down for different reasons,

other communities make sure they replace them with the same types of trees, it’s great that they are being replaced with something, t’s important they provide the shade, and all the benefits you get with older bigger trees.

I wish we would have bought a community trees,

There’s a road near us that they cut down because of the sidewalks, they cut down these big trees, and out of fear these big trees down,

the effect

Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

For those that haven’t done it, I think you’ll ifnd how great it feels just to get your nands dirty, once you do it watching it grow through the whole season  it’s such an awesome feeling and to see the process, I’ve always found it to be so inspirational!

If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here:

If you have any comments, questions, guests you’d like to see, or topics you’d like us to cover please send us any feedback positive or negative. We’re here to serve our audience and we can only improve with your help!!! Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden changing the world one garden at a time.

Apr 20 2017



Rank #5: Win a Copy of the The Family Garden Plan: Grow a Year’s Worth of Sustainable and Healthy Food!

Podcast cover
Read more

What's your preference?

Do you like long show notes that transcribe the full episode or do you like shorter versions? I made 2 copies of Golden Seeds From Melissa K. Norris. One I actually took notes by hand, 13 pages worth and then I typed them off. The other I just transcribed while listening. Which is your preference or do you just like to read it on the website? Would you like a printed copy delivered to your home each month?

Golden Seeds from Melissa Norris Short

Golden Seeds from Melissa Norris Long - Full Transcript 

I'd love to know which you like better if you cold just hit reply and say long, short or website I'd really appreciate it!

Don't forget to sign up to Win a copy of Melisa’s New Book Here and leave her a 5-star review when you're done reading it!

 Happy New Year!

Jan 01 2020

1hr 17mins


Rank #6: The GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast December 2019

Podcast cover
Read more

Are you wondering why we are rebranding ourselves as the GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast?

Listen here to learn what's new!

Get ready for our first episode as the Green Organic Gardener Podcast where Jeff Lowenfels author of Teaming with Microbes, Teaming With Nutrients and Teaming With Fungi and his new book on DIY Cannabis, from Anchorage Alaska prepare to be dazzled! Afterall what would Greta think?

Love all of you green future growers out there!

Do you have your climate story ready?

And don't forget to enter to win a copy of Melissa K. Norris' new book The Family Garden Plan sign up here

Dec 14 2019



Rank #7: Replay of 34: Mike Lewis | Growing Warriors and the Kentucky Hemp Project | Rockcastle County, Kentucky

Podcast cover
Read more

I thought I would replay this episode for Memorial Day!

The Growing Warriors Project

The Growing Warriors Project is a program to train, assist, and equip veteran families with the skills, tools, and supplies needed to grow high quality naturally grown produce for their families, their communities, and their country.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Grew up in Maine, Avon Valley on a sustenance farm with grandfather with Uncles and family. Back in School at St. Catherine’s College at the Berry Farming and Ecological Agrarianism Program

Wendell Berry was the forefather of 1975 and wrote the Unsettling of America

Earning a Community leadership and Agrarian Farming degree from the Department of Earth Studies at  St. Catherine’s College in St. Catherine, KY.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Lived on a small farm with family til he was 9 and then moved to the city. ABout 10 years ago started farming, working with lots of veterans who have very cool stories about why

Looked at little organic farm wanted to impress the woman who would soon become his wife and said what do you think of this summer internship and she said “I think it’s sexy,” and so he signed right up.

What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?

We have this system that doesn’t even classify the damages of this system we have now on the earth.

Have to as a species need to understand the confines of the system. We live in a world where everything is connected, and we have to where the consequences of our choices, we have very special gifts we have been given.  It’s having respect for everything and its value … by not doing it we are giving a discredit to future generations.

Not put here to leave this place worse off then we got here.

“So for me organic gardening or earth friendly gardening means me doing my best to leave this place better then when I got here, I guess I’m paying rent …  stewardship.”

Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?

Had always before we had children or I met my wife, had always purchased organic foods.

Grew up on land. And that first internship was on an organic farm.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

When you think about what a pesticide is, it’s designed to kill. Doesn’t make sense to do it any other way. There’s a new potato bug killer that you put on the roots, that you’re gonna eat? It’s just the right thing to do. We have decimated our soil over again, and again.

Tell us about something that grew well this year.


We’re in the best climate for it, Kentucky has historically produced about 90% of the hemp this country has ever used.  Climate and soil is situated to it.

For example you get a seed pack, and it says tomatoes will take 65 days for this variety to harvest. For all intensive purposes the seed pack for hemp said 110 days. But ended up harvesting 6-8’ plants at 52 days. Blessed with one of the best hemp crops in the country last year.


So what is hemp?

Hemp is a member of the cannabis sativa family, is related to marijuana, but definitely different. Grown for it’s fiber.

The federal limit for THC is .3 of a percent of the THC can be in a hemp plant for it not to be classified as marijuana. Yes, that’s .3% THC.

(Jackie interrupts here with a point about a recent interview with President Obama on the show Vice where he talks to millennials about why they should be more concerned with climate change and the economy among other important issues then marijuana decriminalization. Here is the link to the interview and a few other important blog posts on this issue. This interview from the weedblog has some good connections to how decriminalization can help the economy and climate change. The full interview also plays at the bottom of this blog post here from the Atlantic. )

Up until the Marijuana tax act of 1937 which classified hemp as marijuana 75% of our paper was made from hemp, which is just one example. 1 acre of 1 years growth same as four acre of trees which take about 15 years or maybe 50-60 years to grow.

Hemp Exposition

At hemp exposition last week, got a briefcase out of plastics, drove a BMW that was made of parts made with hemp plastic.

Worked with Ford people on a test that had a car made of hemp plastic that had greater fuel efficiency and higher impact rating.

Waste money on road infrastructure. If we have to build something? Let’s build some infrastructure that’s gonna get farmers growing, gonna get people off this dependency culture with our political and economic system.

There is no infrastructure it has to be built … so let’s do it! When communities build something they own it. Communities have an opportunity.

Hemp seed protein.

Blue zone – there are 8 in the world. longest age expectancy, in China 80% of diet, very agrarian culture – connected to the land, very spiritual, and they eat a super food that is a hemp seed protein which is the bulk of their diet. A huge food source and it produces more then a lot of other grain crops.

Then carries over to textiles. Working with Fibershed and Patagonia

Nylon, not necessarily bad, but the process is polluting, and you can’t recycle clothing … when hemp or cotton clothing is bad it can be recycled into plastics,

When you can bring options to farms and communities, exciting things happen. Exciting that there are so many options …

Working in small rural farm communities, local people manufacturing equipment to harvest crops.

Spent ten years trying to get people to grow local tomatoes, and using it to transform other farmers to convert to organic practices.

Contrariness of Mad Farmer

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

Ironic, just gave a talk about this. Started thought I was just gonna be a farmer,  no idea what I was gonna be a farmer, an entrepreneur, an innovator, an inventor, a marketer, a social media campaigner, a blogger, and what it takes to be a successful farmer in this economy requires you to constantly be learning something new.

Transitioning to using hemp crop for a feed stock, given it’s drought resistence, disease resistence and thrives in almost any climate,  … high protein hemp seeds … Excited to see how chickens and hogs respond to a diet of high protein hemp seeds and hand processing of fibers for artisan spinners.

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

Trying to work with a lot more farmers then we did. Communication was a big issue, hard to get strong minded independent people working together. So constantly retooling our approach and methods to create support networks for knowledge and production.

Sweet potatoes. Lost a lot of time on vegetable production, responding to media requests about hemp crop.

Feel like the great dream smasher, getting emails every day that people say “I decided I’m gonna buy a farm and grow hemp” and just want to make sure the expectations and make sure you understand the struggles, about how much research,

The processing equipment is not there… the entire industry is built for one specific crop, and this needs to be improved before Patagonia can make clothing etc from it.

Jackie and Mike discuss legality of growing industrial hemp in US.

Here are links to President Obama signing the Farm Act of 2014 allowing hemp production.

Something that you find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time.

Grain Sorghum for feeding animals. Tobacco. Tomatoes.

Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate.

Collard Greens invites the pests especially cabbage bores.

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.

Adopt principal that everything has a purpose and a place and everything needs as much attention and care.

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.

I like to hoe a row. Scuffle hoe. It’s one of my meditative jobs.

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

Instructions for the Cook

Comes from Dogen:

“This is the attitude called nurturing mind. Instead of putting ourselves first on every occasion, we aim to cultivate a true heart toward people and things and put ourselves in the other’s place at every encounter.”

Ties back to stewardship concept, how does everything fit in… being aware of everything in it’s place is one of the biggest things I’ve been advised in the last few years.

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

Scuffle hoe. Has a triangle blade and sits flat on the ground, and all three points are sharpened so you hold it a sort of 45 degree angle and it cuts off heads of weeds.

Eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time? 

Succession planting made a big difference for CSA. Instead of putting out 500 broccoli plants, put ten in every 5 days. Planting

Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last? 

Good wife who knew how to do it.

Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?

Bok Choi – pretties thing you might ever grow – a Chinese cabbage used for stir fry, or salads.

Delivering some of nicest organic salad mix for CSA, donated a couple of shares to a local church, and a couple said I’m just gonna put it in a hot skillet and pour some hot bacon grease on it and melt it down … wilted greens in bacon grease …

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

Radicchio – bitter bright, red, beautiful bitter lettuce.  with some balsamic vinegar toss in some garlic and maybe some bok choi, fresh garlic salad.

A favorite internet resource?

ATTRA  – division of the natural center for appropriate tech transferred to rural america. They have field reps across the country and understand sustainable ag

A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can 

Unsettling of America by Wendell Barry

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

Cultivating relationships with people and they understand why am I different and why they buy from me …

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

Food Security is the biggest issue we have. I’m fortunate to be part of a non-profit – Growing Warriors that teaches people to grow and care for themselves is empowering, replaces a sense

2012 started the Growing Warriors Project.

Doing economic development work in Eastern Kentucky and Appalacian Moutains and was preparing a talk for some councilmen and economic developers and came across a statistic that over a million veterans are on food stamps, being a veteran and coming from a family of vets, the protectors of all the freedoms and rights that we have are now relying on a hand out.

We started with a community garden and we trained 10 families to grow own food. Some of those people have gone on to start food security projects in other communities … has turned into an empowerment project for veterans taking charge of food security in their community and needs are addressed in their own perspective.

Tranquility abound at one of our community gardens in #Lexington. Growing and eating bridges gaps and mends fences

In Louisville going to be building some raised garden beds at a homeless shelter for veterans this weekend and about teaching homeless veterans how to grow, preserve and create food products. We’re basically about teaching people how to grow food and grow community through that process.

Minimum of 22 vets a day commit suicide a day. Roughly 35-40% aren’t in system who are getting assistance.

Direct correlation – there are 2 groups: Farmers and veterans who we wave the flags for but then we don’t truly support them because we don’t know how to act on it.

Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

Dogen quote

“An oven does not discriminate between fancy firewood and thorns. It accepts everything without preference and transforms it into thermal energy to cook rice or to heat bathwater.”

(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI’S (道元禅師)

“Make the best of what you have, if you’re doing your job right. We have everything we need”

To connect with Mike:  go to Growing Warriors Project or find him on twitter @growingwarrior.

Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden. If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here:

If you have any comments, questions, guests you’d like to see, or topics you’d like us to cover please send us any feedback positive or negative. We’re here to serve our audience and we can only improve with your help!!! Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden changing the world one garden at a time.

May 28 2018



Rank #8: 233. Chef Bai | Personal Chef | San Diego, CA

Podcast cover
Read more

Tell us a little about yourself. 

No problem, I’m originally from Boulder, CO, I have been cooking since I was a little kid. I learned from my grandmother.

  • cooking videos and stuff
  • I moved to San Francisco,
  • big city
  • fresh out of high school
  • ended up getting my degree at the Cordon Bleu
  • private cheffing
  • living that lifestyle

Eventually I ended up moving back to Colorado and going back to school for nutrition which kind of led me to living in San Diego

The biggest thing I love about San Diego is there’s a farmer’s market every single day of the week!

So many questions there, how did you end up going from the Cordon Bleu to nutrition school. 

So I actually personally suffer from some health issues

degenerative disc disorder

chronic pain couldn’t manage it living in San Francisco which was very humbling to go from the big city owning own business back to mom and dad saying help me. I ended up going to a Dr. who wanted to take one of my discs out and he  gave me a 75% chance of walking again

I basically laughed at him and say you’re not going to decide my future so I decided to opt out of my surgery. It made me decide to go to school for nutrition. My life was so built around food and I knew if I tried hard enough I could help heal myself and heal my pain.

I went to a couple of nutrition schools to try one to find one that I liked.

Studied the psychology of why we eat what we eat

fresh foods

  • golden nugget of
  • I didn’t know in detail

So I healed myself through eating

  • healed my back pain
  • recently had another surgery for my endrometriosis

Nutrition has basically saved my life

  • I’m super grateful all of those experiences
  • To be able to open my own eyes and then teach other people how to heal themselves through eating healthy!

I also bought the domain name, life happens 4 you this week too because my motto for 2018 is life happens for you not to you. Sounds like life maybe happened to you since your teaching so many people! Maybe someone’s gonna direct them to hear this today and share it with someone that needs to hear it. When listeners go to your website and see how vibrant you are and how healthy you look!

Tell me about your first gardening experience was it with your grandmother did you say? 

That was my first cooking experience but my mother is such a kick ass gardener!

I grew up in Colorado maybe 20 minutes east of Boulder. Grew up on a couple of acres. 

My mom would every single year her garden would get more amazing! 

She could only garden in the summer time

She would bring ones in plants in pots in the house in the winter time so there were potted plants everywhere!

We would do little interviews on our video camera walking around I would talk about all the herbs, tomatoes and squash!

My mom would spend time out there for hours

  • replanting things
  • planting new things
  • she would get my dad on new projects
  • build new beds

Even to this day still the whole summer is filled with more gardening!

Maybe she will be a guest and talk to me about gardening!

It’s her biggest love

She owns a super successful business but I think if she could she would just quit and garden all day.

My mom cooks a few things really really well. She wasn’t the real chef, I would say I was always the chef, I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid! I would kind of teach myself. 

My mom was super big on organic! To the point where now if she sees someone spraying she will go up to people and tell them to stop!

Because the dogs graze on the grass and we want to keep

  • the bees happy
  • the birds

The more chemicals that are sprayed the more it messes up the whole ecosystem. She’s really concerned about super keeping everything environmentally friendly.

I’m teaching 4th grade and it sounds like you were doing what they are doing now. I keep telling my kids so much they are gonna be on the computer when they get older, making you tube videos etc. 

What do you want to talk about next your business or your healing process or where do you want to go?

We can talk about my business and healing process becaus I feel like they are one and the same.

You teach best what you most need to learn. For me personally, I am constantly on a path to healing

I had surgery 2 months ago now for my endometriosis and it has been this whole new process now of learning now what does my body need to feel different to feel better?

It’s different then it was 2 months ago. I have to open my eyes up to this different kind of lifestyle in a sense!

My business is I teach others how to cook healthy food straight to the source

You kind of let ingredients speak for themselves, which is perfect when you talk about organic gardening, you don’t want to alter ingredients very much because they taste the best when they are straight out of the ground or best when they haven’t traveled so far

Chef Bai cooking classes

  • long distance coaching
  • teaching cooking on a retreat
  • all the same vibe of how to heal yourself through food

We all have things to heal from. I don’t think anyone is exempt from that, I think it is part of the human condition

So I’m going through this crazy thing I went through menopause, I just turned 50 this year, and my dr gave me hormones to combat hat flashes and I have gained 12 lbs already in just a month or so! I was like omgosh this is so not cool! 

I have had some crazy experiences with hormones myself. 

pushed me pushed me

  • detoxed
  • got rid of the hormones
  • I have terrible acne when I’m on them. 

I’m crazy when I’m on these hormones and I actually detox myself because they just don’t work. I know taking hormones is kind of big business – pharmeceuticals….

The other thing is I quit drinking at the same time, and I started taking the progesterone hormonal yam cream which has the warning on it, this product is known to produce cancer, but the company said no it’s natural progesterone…

You don’t know till you try

It’s all trial and error

taking  synthetic hormones

There are a lot of other ways you can go about it, especially just doing it for menopause

  • acupuncture
  • doing it regularly
  • watching what you eat
  • stay away from dairy is super important

There are a lot of hormones in dairy so it can completely alter your body chemistry

If you cleanse from eating dairy you feel like a different person

Also eating meat is something I found something not eating meat my hormones are so much more leveled out ~ I am in a totally different phase of life then you are. Talking hormones you want to get rid of anything that has added hormones. Even the meat that we eat even if it’s organic it always has hormones in it. 

I wanted to ask you. There’s a local girl who sells fresh cows milk, I thought it might be a good choice, IDK if I can go without dairy. But I thought if I got milk from this girl. It just kind of ties into cruelty free living, and making our own cheese, IDK it seems like it would take a lot of butter. 

My friend said I should buy organic butter and I can’t even afford regular butter. Mike bakes with a lot of butter.

its still dairy, nothing is forever

Especially when I talk to clients about stop consuming  something they really like

I love cheese so I would have to change my diet to give myself a break!

I would offer doing some sort of elimination diet.

For two weeks

stopped eating

  • meat
  • dairy
  • all added sugar

For two weeks you go on a vegan no sugar diet

Do a food diary, track how your feeling every single day

On the third week add in meat.

  • See how your feeling
  • hormonally
  • how your’e sleeping

next week

the fourth week you add in dairy

You can see by just by doing a little experiment

no real blood test, there’s no test from the take from a dr if you are having a reaction.

The only way to know is to do a test on yourself.

That sounds doable to only have to give it up for 2 weeks. I found a NoMeat Athlete podcast. I’m trying to run a half marathon in July. My official training date is April first to go into the plan. I’m trying to just do something every couple of days. Daylight savings is trying to throw me off.

No meat, no dairy


There’s tons of resources out there

Minimalist Baker she has an amazing website packed full of vegan recipes that take 10 ingredients or less! 

best resources

take out oh she glows

You’ll find that after those two weeks, you find you don’t crave those other things. I guarantee you will feel different. I just have to ask have you heard of that Oh She Glows Site? Another friend of mine mentioned her website.

My website it more of a place to find me, it’s not a place of like a thousand recipes

few of my favorites

Im gonna make after we talk

chocolate zucchini muffin

no flour


  • bananas
  • zucchini
  • almond butter
  • eggs
  • honey is the sweetener
  • black seed meal
  • baking soda
  • raw cacao ~ is basically the raw form of chocolate with no sugar added

I make them for my clients kids

boyfriend likes

not vegan muffins

a vegan egg replacer for a  muffin is flax seed meal

one heaping tablespoon flax seed meal with 3 tablespoons of water, mix that up, and set it on your counter for an hour and it replace one egg.

That would be awesome I have a whole bag of flax seed too!

It’s super simple way to replace an egg

You’ll spend a lot less money on food

If you are on a budget, committing to a couple of days of vegan or vegetarian is a lot less expensive. 

not necessarily

if I buy meat I always buy local organic meat

it’s expensive, so you find if you are not spending that extra $10 and just eating 

  • healthy grains
  • fats

You’re in San Diego where produce is a lot cheaper, I walked through the grocery store yesterday and I was like I can’t afford that or that or anything but splurged on some brocolli.

  • I do forget that super spoiled that we have a farmer’s market 365 days of year, it’s an actual law in the county of San Diego that we have a farmer’s market every day.

always summer here

  • live more inlands
  • eat it during the winter
  • cheaper
  • all those things

warmer months eating vegetarian is gonna get easier. 

I think I’m a pescatarian, I don’t actually eat much meat just fish and dairy. And most of my listeners are actually in California so they probably have access to farmer’s markets and produce. 

What else do you want to tell us?

I just started my own, I live in an apartment. I live by the beach so I don’t have a yard but I have a deck. I just started my own herb garden. But I had a question for you. 

There is some sort of animal eating specific herbs

  • dill
  • edible flowers
  • It will pick off succulents out of the dirt
  • eat edible flowers
  • likes to graze on the chives

I have no idea, my mom is stumped!

eats all of my edible!

If anyone knows or has any ideas email Bailey at

Jul 09 2018



Rank #9: 2020 Garden Goals Challenge Day 1

Podcast cover
Read more

Do you want to save time in your garden?

Do you want to grow a garden full of healthy vegetables but feel you don’t have time? Do you struggle to get all the weeds pulled and watering done in the heat of summer when your friends are all headed to the lake? Are you tired of paying the high cost of organic vegetables in the store but struggle to grow your own?

Well, our 2020 Garden Goals Challenge will help you find success in your garden journey!


Day One - Brainstorm - No Dream is Too Big

Day Two - Make A Plan

Day Three - Create a SMART Goal

Day Four - Research Time

Day Five - Get Organized

Day Six - Photo Time - the Before shot

Day Seven - Reflect

Day Eight - Visualize

Imagine anything is possible!

This is a great place to promote our blank garden journal!

My Garden Journal

Garden Journal and Data Keeper

Make a list of all your garden dreams! Don't leave anything out! 

  • Do you want a pond with a water fountain in the middle?
  • An orchard full of fruit trees?
  • A root cellar to store your produce come winter?
  • A green house to help extend your season?
  • A place to market your extra produce?
  • A fence to keep the deer out?
  • A chicken tractor?
  • Growing sweet potatoes?
  • Ordering some heirloom seeds?
  • Pollinator plants to attract bees and butterflies?
  • Beehives full of honey?
  • Deep beds full of healthy nutritious broccoli, tomatoes and fresh lettuce?
  • An earth friendly landscape your puppy can run around on without a worry?

Today I want you to start your list of gardening dreams!

The Organic Oasis Master Class Starts Friday, January 24th and ends Friday, February 21st! Get in first and you'll have your workbook and journals before the first class! This $97 course can be had for $75.00 if you order before the 24th!

Join today!

Jan 13 2020



Rank #10: Replay of 262. School Gardens Grants Available | An Edible Education | Whole Kids Foundation | Nona Evans

Podcast cover
Read more

I thought I should replay this episode from last winter because the applications for School Gardens opens in 2 weeks on September 1st and I thought educators and people who want to help get a garden in their school would be interested. Applications are due by October 15th.

I’m just thrilled to be back behind the mic it’s January 7th. I have a great guest that was recommended by Lem Tingley from Growing Spaces in episode 256 and here from the Whole Kids Foundation is Nona Evans!

Whole Kids Foundation Facebook Page

It’s always so much fun to see how seeds that you sprinkled about germinate. It’s so fun to know how we connected!

Thank you so much! I reached out to you and you said you checked out the podcast and thought it’d be a perfect fit. Tell listeners about the Whole Kids Foundation  because I had never heard of it!

We are on the order of things, a pretty moderate size non-profit organization. We are Whole Kids Foundation  and our mission to improve kids nutrition because we know when kids are well nourished they learn better have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

we found 3 ways we are capable of reaching children.

1. salad bar equipment for schools

Because the moment you put a salad bar in kids have the power of choice and kids get to choose the vegetables they want.

2. support school gardens

which is how I connected with you.

we have the honor and pleasure with supporting 

5,000 school gardens in 

USA, UK and canada

we know when kids are connected to the roots of their food they make better school choices. 

it’s not just kids

The secret is:

It’s not just kids it’s us adults too

when we start understanding what the magic we all make good choices.

Personally I’m a foodie

I’ve worked in the food business my whole life but I didn’t meet vegetables until I was well into my 20s. Kids need to know food needs to come.

Are you a rockstar millennial? Born between 80-95.

I was not

I’m much older then that. I spent 

  • 15 years working in conventional grocery stores
  • last 19 years at Whole Foods Markets
  • closer to retirement if anything

You sure sound young! Is it related to Whole Foods or is it separate?

I worked at Whole Foods Markets

Back in 2011, the companyWhole Foods Markets start a new foundation which is something they do. So we were founded by  Whole Foods Markets.

We are independent organization we are not connected now. 

Their ongoing gift to us which is amazing they provide the funs for the admin budget!

every dollar we raise goes to schools and programming

So it’s a wonderful thing they have done. We have work in every market, where there is a Whole Foods Markets

100s of other stores.

So I have a question? What is salad bar equipment? Is that like knives and forks? or the salad bar itself? The fruit and salad bar was a huge hit at the schools I was at.

You bet!

we have learned over the 10 yeas we’ve been supporting salad bars there is 

one particular model that works really really well in 

  • high school
  • elementary schools
  • middle schools

Is a plastic model

  • really durable
  • chill pads to keep food cold and safe
  • super flexible

Generally you find the salad bar in the cafeteria which later becomes the gym and the theater

So they fold up and roll out of the way when we need to.

We provide the equipment

  • unit
  • knives for cutting up fresh vegetables
  • tongs
  • training

Probably more important than anything we provide is the training

if anyone is interested

It’s a website that has an amazing array of free tools that any school can use to improve their school lunch program!

I come from the grocery store and I always tell people if you can imagine I work in the

  • supplement area
  • bath and body products

If I had to leave the prepared foods department tomorrow and all the delicious scrumptious food and learn what to do to start. 

A school that has never cooked and prepped any food

That’s done with the cooks right? Not the students. 

generally work with school service

same cafeteria staff that serves school lunch today can supply and support and serve the salad bar

There are an amazing number of schools that are using another tool kit

to grow food at their school afters school and then use it in the cafeteria!

favorite projects to talk about is to 


Encinitas Union School District It’s the largest organic school farm in the nation

They are on about 9 acres, growing crops growing food in their High school kitchen! And then turned into recipes for their High School Food program!

It’s just thrilling!

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

I think that’s a great question! You know I’m certain that I had some early garden experiences but the one that was really important to where I am now is I married a lovely fellow who’s family were German farmers. He always tells the story of how in middle school he bought the copy of the 

All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

and he put a paper bag cover on it so no one would figure out he was reading it about gardening. He inspired me one of our favorite activities was the day after election day we would go pick up all of the election signs on their wooden stakes and use those for our tomatoes. We were crafty back then!

That is crafty and I’ll be they were glad they didn’t have to pick them up themselves that you were recycling for them.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

I think because I’ve always loved food, the nature of organics was always second nature so in my garden, I never wanted to use pesticides but there’s so much more to organic gardening

time and travel

Because I travel extensively,

  • I get to see other people’s practices
  • tuning into this podcast!
  • then just trial and error have taught me most of what I know well

mother nature that can work

Two of my favorites

because we get to garden at whole kids with people all over the country and sometimes we bring them to Texas! 

I didn’t realize that not everywhere has fire ants!

Now any time we do a volunteer project I’m always sure to tell people watch for fire ants! They are really challenging!

I didn’t know that cayenne pepper can relocate them very effectively! So I always keep a big carafe of cayenne pepper in my garden.

I battled snails for a long time. I tried to do it humanely and someone told me about a beer trap that was a good organic solution!

I want to hear about the fire ants because some of my guests have talked about the struggle with fire ants. Especially Jenny Jackson down in Georgia, they’re like a family farm, I know they have a new baby.

They don’t like it. I’m not sure it could work on the scale of a farm but for my backyard that’s 200 square feet it will locate them. 

Grocery Girl

I’ll see them crop up in the corner of my basil bed so I sprinkle a little application of cayenne and they’ll usually go somewhere else and I can usually get them out of the garden beds. That has been my experience! And I’m a grocery girl, so it’s pretty good return on your investment! Low cost.

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

It’s so funny! I think as a multi year gardeners, just because it grew well this year doesn’t mean anything!

this year it was kale

I actually planted from seed in 2017m in Texas we had that hurricane Harvey that blew through. All of my beautiful kale plants were literally laying on the soil!,all I could do

The kale just regrew! I had the same kale for us for 2 years!

so well, I let it go to seed, I decided I was going to let it save the seed

if you have never saved kale seed for about 2 acres!

it is a commitment! They are teeny teeny and wow is it time intense!

I let it go to seed in its own spot. I loved the pretty yellow flowers. 

I will relish any time I get to pay $3-4 for a packet of kale seeds now. Did you it’s a delicacy! The kale flowers.

Restaurants are selling them at a premium! 

They roast the seeds themselves?

not the seeds the kale flowers!

I kind of fell in love with kale last year. I didn’t really like it but I fell in love with that lacinto kale last year. Now the curly kale that came back in the spring I have to say was so tender and delicious I mean I never tasted anything so sweet. It was like adding maple syrup to my stir fry!

I will send you some great recipes!

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

There’s 2 things

For a couple of years now I have always wanted to grow amaranth I just think it is so amazingly beautiful and talk about health value. I’m not sure it would make it to the table but I  enjoy it in the bouquets

IDK if you have met the folks at Row 7 seeds

Chef Dan Barber

stone barns


because we have cultivated crops for their ship ability and longevity

Row 7 seeds

just about flavor!

they might look funny

might not ship across the country really well but they have amazing flavor!

beets and peppers

I would like to talk to as many chefs as I can.

I have a question about amaranth, because it’s a great cover crop right even if it doesn’t get harvested at least it’s good for the soil right? I struggle to grow it too. 

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

I think what I have learned over more seasons then I care to admit

I always end up planting something for the benefit for the garden friends

Sometimes it’s the dill that I plant that I don’t eat but it’s just for the monarch butterflies

Last year it was chard

I do so well with my chard

last years chard was just for the snails.

That could be tough. I love chard! I had so much between the chard and the kale I don’t think I bought a salad from August till November. What I love about rainbow chard is I will eat it instead of celery those big stems!

that was the thing that I was like OK! you guys have the chard and stay off everything else and we’re good! It’s a symbiosis! 

I love your attitude about it too! Like it wasn’t such a giant loss you felt compelled you had to get rid of the snails. You just sacrificed it to the snails!

We can grow something for mother nature.

Let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors and affiliate links

Aug 16 2019



Rank #11: Jesse Frost ~ host of the No Till Market Garden Podcast and one half of Rough Draft Farmstead | Interview 286

Podcast cover
Read more

I’m so excited! It’s Monday March

My guest has been here before but he’s started his own podcast the No-Till Market Gardener Podcast and from Kentucky he’s here to tell us about their 

garden journey and a rockstar millennial right? There’s Jesse Frost to tell us about his podcast and farmstead!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am one half of the farm team, my wife Hannah Crabtree is the other half, arguably the better half.

We’re in Central Kentucky

about 25 min

hour from Louisville

nw of lexington.

Kind of in the middle of the state it’s a pretty hopping spot as far

as Kentucky goes.

We have 3/4 of an acre

mixed vegetables

Our 4 year old has 10 chickens!

Mostly we have vegetables.

Our entire farm is 100% no tillage

I’m happy to talk about that

The podcast is geared towards that

No-Till Market Gardener Podcast

growers like ourselves who are small production but trying to make a living off our vegetables.

farm ecologically



various people

all over the country

all over the world

And talk about their methods and it seems that everyone does it a bit differently.

Growing for Market Magazine

market gardening stuff

Andrew said

publishing articles

since way back

cutting edge trend setter

Rest of show notes coming ASAP!

Make sure you listen to the No-Till Market Gardener Podcast and give it a great review on iTunes!

Aug 25 2019

1hr 24mins


Rank #12: Learn How To Unlock The Secrets To Nutrient Rich Soil | 5 Principles | The Soil Health Summit

Podcast cover
Read more

I am so excited to tell you about this awesome Soil Health Summit that my past guest from episode 253 Steve Szudera put together with over 25 Expert Farmers and Gardeners talking about how to care for our soil!

Soil Health Summit

We’ve spent the last 3 months interviewing top experts  all over the country!

Experts talking about

  • Seeds adapted to area
  • microbes –  within both our soil and our bodies
  • edile landscapes

A lot of people coming together and sharing their experience not just for soil health but a lot of things that they have done around the country that all ties back to the soil!

It all starts with the soil!

They talk about how they maintained and restore soil health and keep their projects going!

Awesome! Well let’s give listeners some specifics! Because quite a few of the people that are going to be there have been guests on the show like Lee Reich and the Kombucha Mamma and Jacqueline Freeman the treatment free beekeeper and John Montgomery and his wife Anne Bikle!

Productive agriculture

Probably one of the highlights, I’m connected to productive agriculture

4 guys traveling the U.S. on a pretty massive scale! These guys have been 20-30 years of soil health on their farming and ranching operations. But in addition to that they do gardening on a massive scale!

Dave Brandt Soil Health Consultants A True No Till Pioneer

14 acres market gardening at one time! That’s massive. Him and his wife did that, he talks about how they put that all together.

 Ray Archuleta  a soil extension person.

Dr. Allen Williams has a ranch in South Georgia integrating livestock in with that which will help with people who are


as well who can take that and use that. he talks about the systems he does.

There’s two-three calls with homesteaders, including one that talks about a couple that came out 30 years ago out from Chicago!

It was pretty rough when starting out, 30 years of mistakes, they share those mistakes so people can avoid them in case people can do it or are dreaming about it.

Dreaming about it


Jerome Osentowski

is actually at 7200 feet, sounds like it was a steep rocky mountainside. He’s been up there for 30 years he used to market garden as well.

He moved to Colorado moved steep rocky mountains and built this climate geenhouse thing

high tunnels

put together a climate battery system

Kalispell in a school up there.

Huh, I wonder if they did it at Olney Bisell, I’ll have to look into that?

He talks about that in his call as well, he actually grows Bananas at 7200 feet and lots of other trees and plants he grows all year round! It gets pretty cold there. It’s pretty amazing what he does! We have some things on  seeds too!

Brims in Waco Texas

familiar with Bill as well. Both these people work in this heritage seed thing, bringing seeds to people!

more Bill McDorman talks about adapting seeds to area is so crucial! Looking for that seed!

You might be looking for as well. With your short growing season and you shared some things with me about growing in your shaded areas.

It might not seem so intuitive but it’s all about the seed! I certainly get that. This is adapting seed just by growing it.

Bill told me I think he did a workshop somewhere around Pheonix before our call, and he sold loads and loads of seed at that workshop because he’s such an expert in that area and he knows what does best in what areas.

If you go on their website which is on the call, you can actually look at those areas that he has on that map and you can figure out where your at and what seed is reproducing  in that area.

Yeah! He was a fantastic guest and he did a workshop up here and we’ve grown lots of things from his seeds we couldn’t normally. Mike get’s some short season corn adapted to the Rocky Mountains and also he grew a watermelon and cantaloupe from seeds I got from them.

You didn’t mention me!

You were the first call kind of cutting our teeth

first into the podcast

you and I have connected a lot since and just what you do in NW Montana with your husband Mike then spreading the word about organic side.

The path to

A lot of these soil experts start to focus on nutrient density and just growing good food through the summit a on a path about nutrient density of food

Dr. Allen Williams in Chico, CA Chico campfire and they were right in the middle of the episode with the campfire out there, and he said you just can’t imagine!

They had to postponed days of their workshop. But the big thing is more about where they landed down there, they were on their drive to the workshop didn’t see a bit of cover crops on a 2-21/2 hour drive didn’t see a bit of ground cover!

There’s a lot of market farming and produce grown there that is shipped all over the country for market farmers. They are talking a lot about and Allen has this farm in Georgia, it’s a ranch but the  main focus is the frost health nutrient density. People need to understand

We need to feed the soil!

First is to keep that Armor Layer there!

no till 

Gabe Brown

Soil health Acadmey

5 principles

No matter where they travel around the US or globe

If we feed the soil feeds us it feeds our our plants that natural nutrient density back do that through soil health. That’s kind of the main topic that came out of the soil health summit, we need that food to get that nutrient density back

You shared on our call how you and your husband are doing cover crops and different things, just establishing cover crops like you do and leaving them stand or breaking them off so we have that armored layer on top of the soil!

Armored layer of soil

Whatever we can do to leave those living roots through growing cycle all the way in the spring all the way up until freeze up in south living roots

I get really excited with people doing that because that is so

key to live a healthy lives

and there’s a great source of abundance to living we can have!

I’m so glad you said that, and I just feel like its cause of my great guests like you that I have learned all this since I started my podcast. I mean I knew some things, certainly like I said, Mike’s been gardening here for 25 years now but not anywhere what I do now about soil health and nutrient density.

A lot of my listeners are going to know a lot of this, but what they might have learned is how much easier it is to do! I know a lot of my listeners are going to love this summit!

Tell them the details! They’re audio files that listeners can download, there’s the website soil health summit at tabletop farmer and they register and then they can go to the website next week and download the files or how is that all going to work?

Soil health summit

First off if they go to

  • We will be releasing starting on December 12th, 2-3 speakers a day all until 21st 
  • Then on the 21st all speakers will be up on page

You register there at

And then you will be sent a link to access

mix a variety a lot of fermenting

Anne Bikle

Her husband David Montgomery who was in episode 186

has a geologist

human microbes and how we need to take about those.

Along with the

The process that we are going to mix these up a bit so we don’t have all one type of person on one day.

It’s a great groups of speakers Maybe I’ll do some replays of episodes of some of the people that are going to be there! You were just on November 11, 2018 episode 253  you can listen to my interview with Steve Szudera!

I’m excited to listen because we did that a long time ago and I want to remember what we talked about.

It’s a relaxed call and there’s loads and loads of information here.

And it’s all free!

You can go to that website now and see the speakers and talkers! It’s so important I’m so excited you put this all together! People are more interested I feel like people have been asking me more to answer questions and do interviews! I’m so excited people are learning about it and getting interested! I’m starting to get more comfortable talking! I’m glad people are applying these best practices. 

That’s so sad that in California they had all that land that was barren, I think that’s why Liz Carlisle wrote her book the Lentil Underground questioning if we know these are best practices why don’t we follow them? I think we might have talked about this on my call!

Traditional Farming Practices

A lot of it is just traditional farming practices shadowing what we do. Unfortunately big box home improvement stores have taken the garden industry and they have made a huge business out of it. And they are not so concerned as what’s best for...

Dec 08 2018



Rank #13: 5 Principles of Soil Health Online Webinar | Steve Szudera

Podcast cover
Read more

So, Steve Szudera who was my guest in episode 253 talked about nutrient rich soil is going to teach a much more in depth class on building your soil health.  He’s going to give a webinar on the

5 Principles of Soil Health

By the time he’s finished you’ll not just know the difference between dirt and soil but how to make your garden feel like an enjoyable place not a second job!

Many of my listeners have shared with me that time is the number one barrier they have to living in their ideal organic oasis. 

Steve has secrets that you can learn to do in your garden that will reduce the amount of labor and energy you have to spend because he reduces the need to till the soil and do a lot of that back breaking labor that makes gardening difficult.

He also helps you reduce the weeds in your garden which was another question I get a lot so I wanted to make sure if you want to learn more about soil health you knew about his webinar.

Mike and I got a little preview yesterday and we were able to really see what he is talking about with the slides and photos he includes.

He’s giving a live webinar on Tuesday February 12th morning at 12pm EST, 10am MST,  9am PST. So if you want to join us that would be great.

You can ask questions and see his slides.

Register here!

I know we’re gonna do a couple of these, including another one the following Saturday morning because he’s got a  lot of info to share and the more people that learn these soil health techniques the happier mother earth will be.

You can register for the webinar. I know he’s going to offer some bonuses just for my audience so let me know if we can do anything else!

And let’s get growing!

ps. if you haven’t seen my pics of my herb experiments I’ve been doing this winter trying to get some herbs growing in my windowsill, you can see those on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll try to get a blog post out about them.

Feb 09 2019



Rank #14: Native Landscape Design | Prairie Nursery | Interview 288 with Neil Diboll | Westfield WI

Podcast cover
Read more


The Golden Seeds aren’t perfect but it’s a start. I like to read them in PDF format better what about you?

Neil Diboll, President of Prairie Nursery, Inc.

On the Web:

1-800-476-9453 (1-800-GRO-WILD)

We would love to help you with anything and even help you find some seeds or plants that would grow!

Gardens are  focused on needs desires of humans only life gardening for all farms plants

  • animals
  • critters
  • bugs

sustainable ecosystem on people’s properties native plants. The real importance of native plants is that they

have co-evolved with other linked to one

brought to another

long periods f coevolution support very few of other invertebrates adaptation foundation of the food change limited value ecology

what resource was important


bringing nature home

more valuable

the other thing to get the chemicals out of the environment

native plants are great because 1 you don’t have to fertilize

and you don’t have all the maintenance associated with it and opposed to a lawn you don’t have all the petrol chemicals and

gasoline building it or running  the equipment.

steal plastic

most important

if I don’t see holes in the leaves of my plants. I’m a failure as a gardener

encourage my plants to be eaten

insects are eating them and insects are eating the birds so I have an ecosystem in my yard.

I mean birds eating the insects.

You are creating a food chain, creating a food web, in your garden. So we are no longer just gardening for human interests and human returns gardening for all forms of life sharing

revolutionary concept for gardening.

Tell us about your very first gardening experience?

I started out  in first grade with my first garden. Our class was raising money for some endeavor by selling garden seeds for ten cents a packet, door to door to neighbors.  I decided that if I was going to sell people a product, I should at least try it myself.  The garden was a miserable failure due to terrible soil conditions, and I suspended my gardening efforts for ten years.

I learned to garden organically at age 16 when I decided to try vegetable gardening again in the same backyard.  This time I double dug the future garden two spade lengths deep in the fall, and filled the hole with the leaves we raked up in our yard.  The hole consumed all the leaves without hardly denting the chasm.  I then collected leaves from the gutters on my block, and filled the hole with one foot of leaves, covered by an inch or two of clay, until I had a three foot tall “mass grave,” as my extremely skeptical parents referred to it. A giant mound in the backyard. By spring, it had settled down to about 18 inches in height, and I planted my garden. 

It was a spectacular success, producing an abundance of vegetables and greens, and I was suddenly a genius gardener!

Used that garden for years ~ even after I went to college my parents used it for years.

I love that! It’s like you built your own deep beds right there. Like what people talk about today building deep beds no till style. Tell us about your amazing CV that talks about all these things.

I went into business in 1982! Why did I go into business? Well, for a number of different reasons.

I worked for the US. Forest Service  in Colorado and the University of Wi where I live now. But there was limited employment for 6 months. and I just wasn’t a public sector person, there was a lot of bureaucracy. Then when the recession of 1981-82 hit.

When you can’t find a job, what do you do? You create your own

I created a backyard garden

retiring at age 68

old farmhouse

outside of greenery

ok if we use that land if we rent the house

can I buy your plants and move your nursery

why don’t you just come down and run it

where the hell is Westfield

bought a cheap  old trailer.

2  neighbors building  garden in their backyard.

We were the talk of the town

little did they know we had girlfriends

but we let them talk. It was a barebones existence because in 1982 native plants were still weeds. We couldn’t give it away! My friends said hey, plant

day lilies


I was like this is the future! I’m not giving this up! The problem was the future hadn’t caught up. We kept at it.

I was like I went to college for this?

first color catalog

sales doubled

interesting journey

tough rows to hoe

ahead of the curb

things came

There’s very good reasons why native plants make sense. It’s the four Es I call them.


first trees and shrubs

flowers grasses and shrubs

use the environment

don’t need all these chemicals

don’t have to use all these pesticides fungicides or gasoline for growing lawns!

You have deep rooted plants that increase water infiltration into the ground. Instead of that running off you have amuch more closed loop system

also have strips if you do have areas where fertilizers are  applied native grasses with deep roots you have fertilized water running into them it can filter out that chemicals

3 energy

use a lot less energy then a lawn

nice beautiful prairie

burn it every other year

not spending a lot of time and energy

4th e is economics

It can save you a lot of money on time and maintenance.

The 5th E is an emotional connection to the

planting prairie


So Neil do you want to give us some tips if you want to go this. I find the biggest barrier is where to start, find information, like that day lillie and irises are not native plants.

The first thing to do if you are just getting started with native plants is to avail yourself of all this resources on the internet

Most states have a native plant societies you will meet people who are into native plants but if you don’t want to be involve

Illinois wildflowers also have trees and shrubs

Another called the prairie ecologist which is an individual who puts out phenomenal information on prairies

You can get your own wildflower book

nature preserves

learn the plants on your own way! I took a botany in college where you get the basics but the best is to spend the time out in nature where you see them in action. With pollinators and  butterflies on them.

On our website there is tons of info. We have lots of woodland parts that are midwestern but people who live in different part of the country they have completely different plants from us

you wouldn’t want to use our stuff in AZ


grow in the high mountains

so the rest

find what the best plants are start with the university

I was gonna say your website because you share tons of information.

Do you want to talk about pollinators?

Of course, pollinators are extremely important!

33% of the food we eat as human beings require pollination so we have a vested interest in supporting habitat for pollinoators.

largest producer of cranberries

drain marshes

plant cranberries in them

good pollinator populations

weeks of

strips of prairies that will be available

vested intersted

The whole food chain is dependent upon insects!

We have had a long standing relationships co-evolution

native flora and native fauna


most plants use chemical warfare to ward off insects that would eat their leaves. So pants have adapted to


overcome toxins we use

classic example the monarch butterfly that eats the toxic weeds of the milkweed family


native insects

native plants

nonnative plants

Very rarely do you have the depths of the relationships of the other critters that utilize

It’s not there.

Nonnative plants do not supply food or sustenance

do not support

native plants are so important!

relationship and native plants and between native plants and pollinators.

The best books you can read is called:

bringing nature home


university of nature

close relationships between native plants and

really explaining why native plants is so important!

I always tell listeners always leave a 5star review for that book so everyone can read it and I just read from AJ that he planted a pollinator border and when I went to the Brooklyn Grange one of the best parts was the pollinator border. IT’s so pretty it goes around their farm and full of snap dragons, and zinnias and cosmos and tons of herbs and lavender etc!

You know it’s interesting the organic gardener can take this to the next level!



pollination vegetables

you also have bio control mechanisms

supported by native plants

There’s a plant called the rattlesnake master

yuca-folium but it’s actually a carrot humble and this plant is pollinated primarily by wasps. A lot of people would say don’t plant, but theses are a very high percentage are parasitic wasps

what do they do? very small


There is a parasitic wasp that attacks just about every other:

  • insect
  • spider
  • tic
  • mite

creator that flies around in the air

parasitic wasp


I think the people are one of the few plants around here that grow outside our deer fence that I think attract a wasp.

But here’s what’s so cool, I had a customer who 

tomato horn worms every year on his

1/4 pound

had rattlesnake master and it takes 3 years for the perennial seeds to mature and begin blooming. He called me and said I have no tomato horn worms what’s going on.

I said do you have rattlesnake master? Is it blooming? He said, yeah’ it’s doing great!

Well rattle snake master attacks the tomato horn worm from the inside out. It burrows in and eat it from the inside out and kill.

He say’s my prairie is my insecticide

maintaining the balance

That’s what they are doing with the rooftop garden For years people have  known all about this but it’s a new concept for people that you can use non chemical.

Well lots of people ask about this on my show or in my Facebook group. I have had people talk about this, but not in such specific detail about attacking tomato hornworms, I do think people will say where do I get Rattlesnake master?

you don’t want to focus on one plant

core on our landscaping is biodiversity What we are trying to do is spread the diversity of our native plants

diverse area of different flowers




you are now setting stage t make space to support all these different creatures that make life

native shrubs

more native grasses

more beneficial

you will have a wide away of critters nature that allows you to maintain a balance naturally

Everyone knows when you spray you are killing good guys and bad guys

I tell customers get rid of that stuff right away, take them to a disposable site. We know they kill the good guys!

Here’s the revolutionary part.

in my native garden

if I don’t see holes in the leaves of my plants


people only

our own benefit and enjoyment



creating habitat

creating sanctuary for all sorts of life

if I am not feeding the insects in the

complete failure as an ecological gardener. I want to see the holes

plants because I know then if I am feeding  my neighborhood.

That’s interesting because last year I...

Nov 03 2019

1hr 21mins


Rank #15: 235. Seed Saving – Seed Libraries | Small House Farm | Ben Cohen | Central Michigan

Podcast cover
Read more

So one of my listeners Alan Denko said you gotta interview this guy Ben, he just moved to where you are, and I sent you an email and here we are talking already! I’m a big hemp seed girl! 

Are you thinking of you starting a podcast?

No, I’m too busy. Do you know where your listener heard me speak?

At a seed library event in Michigan.

Small House Farm

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m in Central Michigan, my wife and two children we call Small House Farm an effort in sustainable living

attempt to grow the majority of our won food

keep our pigs etc

we do a lot of growing our own food

seed crops here

my 9-5 cold press seed and nut oil


herbal wellness products

Across from 1100 acres of forest

Do a lot of education


there’s a heave focus on heriloom seed saving

Michigan seed saving

45 seed saving libraries

I was just taking pictures of birds on our bird feeder. My listeners know I’m interested in growing enough seeds for my bird feeders.

our farm

total property is about 3.5 acres

don’t grow our hemp seeds here

Hemp production is not something that is happening here in Michigan yet

organic farm in Canada

15-1800 pounds a month, hemp seed

It’s Canadian grown.

Are you close to Canada. We’re about 15 miles from the border.

We’re right on the border here in Michigan


I wouldn’t say they’re super expensive

we bring in the seeds

Cold press the oil on site

mill the seed cake into a hemp powder

People use that as a

  • supplement
  • gluten free baking
  • I feed the animals

That’s why I get so frustrated, everyone always says put hemp protein in your smoothie or use hemp seed oil and Mike can’t grow it and its sooooo expensive. You’re importing them. What’s your cold press like, is it a commercial machine?

I got a hand turned oil press, anyone can do it at home. 

I got a Piteba hand turned oil press.

 It’s got a little kerosene lamp  for heat

It’s hand turned, I joked it’s Ben powered

very first round

I pressed 6-8 bottles of sun flower oil and took them to the farmer’s market just to test the water with it, it went really well!

people really responded well

  • local
  • freshness of the oil
  • pressed that week

You can’t get it at the grocery store!

our sunflowers are grown here in michigan

dont have the space to

source locally

Michigan pumpkin seeds

proven to be the best option to bring it in from Canada

working out those details

relatively new thing here in America

The regulations aren’t in place to allow commerce from state to state that we’re looking for.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

That’s a good question. I’m from Michigan. I was born and raised within 50 miles of where I live right now. 

When I was a kid we lived in an apartment. I’d have a flower pot type of thing out  on the balcony that I grew radishes in I was always planting seeds even when I was little. I didn’t grow up on farm. 

transitional phase

definitely a change in my life. Having kids, made that more significant to raise a family and be responsible for other lives. I live right close to where I grew up.

For me, the story I like to tell is not really my first gardening experience but my first time I ever saved seeds. That’s the story I like to share.

Well let’s here that! My listeners are really interested in saving seeds.

We all should be.

I was in Midland in the Chippewa Nature Center, is a wonderful place! 

  • 1200 acre nature preserve
  • beautfiul place
  • they have an old homestead farm – it’s a Re-enactment of what life was like in the 1800s
  • old school house
  • sugar shack
  • heirloom and things


introduction talking to the garden manager there

One day he  reaches into a bean pole and says Ben, take these seeds home and share in your friends! That moment in time changed my life! Sometimes you don’t realize how significant things are but that had such an impact on me. 

I spend most of my time talking to people about the importance of seeds.

Bill McDorman came on and talked about how the people who save our seeds are having the biggest impact on climate change and saving our planet. How essential it is.

It’s essential, without seeds  we would have no food.

Heirloom seeds right?

something we talk a lot about helping people understand the difference between

  • open pollinated
  • and say a high bred

vegetables we get at the grocery store, they have great improvements

When it comes to saving seeds

those seeds wont come true

you oddest really know what your gonna get second season

  • open pollinated has been the focus of the movement
  • old heirloom varieties
  • part of history
  • so many reasons to saving your seeds

How did you learn how to garden organically, was that from the guy at the Heritage Farm?

I didn’t learn any specific gardening skills from him, he kind of lit the fire in me to learn more about saving seeds is what impact Rod Maxwell had. 

I think you should think about starting a podcast… just to plant a seed, the seed starting podcast.

Through that its had on some many

gardening organically

to me it’s obvious there is no other option

is this the way

  • is this the choice that I want to make
  • there is no other option
  • for my family
  • community
  • no second choice
  • the way we always have done it

has always

I’m always asking people wanna be on my show? I just always assume everyone’s organic because I just can’t imagine any other way.

consumer point of view

make sure that the food that I purchase is locally grown

I can get my food locally grown, grown with organic methods

I know the actual practice on the farm is that they are following the standards I want to

meet the farmer

see how their growing the food in the field

with then the label or certification

I’m surprised that people I know say that’s just a fancy price tag people are putting in the stores. Surely I can’t afford to buy organic all the time or even most of the time, I have to buy conventional groceries it would be nice to shop from the farmer’s market more. I’m always surprised that people don’t realize that the food today is grown different then when we were growing up

the more people that I speak with that I think is commonly accepted knowledge I’m surprised that it’s new.

do find that a lot people don’t know, when I go share my ideas I take for granted people know, who are people are interested in gardening

  • a lot of education
  • share ideas
  • in a constant state of growth
  • can never make assumptions
  • we just have to all learn together

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

Here’s a fun story about something that grew well

last year i was in Midland county

historic flooding in mid June

majoirty of gardens well planted along the way

peppers already out there

Robert’s Royalty beans

purple potted bush bean

  • 100 ‘ row
  • well established
  • historic flood

pretty much we lost everything

standing water, up to my knees in places

pump out of field! So much water. A few days go by, we get the water pumped out

Out of the 100’ row of beans, these beans were submerged.

15’ section bounced back! They produced handfuls of arm loads of beans! Just that section. The rest of row died!

As a seedsaver! 

  • things that can adapt
  • valuable seeds
  • challenges that I had
  • opportunities to collect very great seed collected

maybe somethings in there is gonna help out we need to be prepared for that.

That’s a huge thing we talk about is resiliency, a woman wrote a book about it that I saw at the AERO conference. Joyce Pinson who I interviewed a few years ago down in Appallacia, they also got totally flooded out last year, their pictures were so sad. Taht’s alot of loss you had still 15 feet out of a 100 feet.

  • pattern that’s
  • well you know if I was a market farmer that would have been a devastating loss
  • to only have 15%
  • point of view of growing the seeds
  • adversity involved
  • definitely

Joyce Pinson is a friend of mine, I know her quite well

I’m headed down to a seed swap

They organize down in Pikes Ville

incredible seeds swaps in the nation

I sent her some squash seed so they could do some replanting. That’s a great example of all of us getting together, it was great that we could send her some squash to replant.

Do you want to talk about saving seed, that business model.

we certainly could

talking about gardeners


listen to we should talk about if they’re not already incorporating seed saving into their routine

economic benefits where you don’t have to purchase

adaptability – climate issues, pest issues you will definitely have more resilient crops from the

historical preservaion


When I met Joyce down in Kentucky

saving seeds passing them down

hundreds of years

We always have grandmas heirlooms, knick knacks and photos, but when you get the tomatoes that’s just such a  special thing

every organic

offer some seeds online on our website

selection of unique seeds that we grow here on our homestead. I’m not gonna pay my mortgage growing seeds.

share interesting seeds with folks

seed sales at events

  • really work
  • community seed sharing programs
  • give away so much seed
  • donate in programs
  • libraries
  • here in Michigan
  • 45 seed libraries
  • only 500 in the whole country to have this many right in Michigan

Jul 23 2018



Rank #16: 195: Children’s Garden at Woodend Sanctuary Audubon Naturalist Society of the Mid-Atlantic States | Jennifer Brown | Silver Spring, Maryland

Podcast cover
Read more

I’m so excited to introduce my guest because it’s someone I met from the Organic Gardener Podcast Facebook group. I asked one of the awesome members if she wanted to do an interview and she recommended Jennifer Brown from the Children’s Garden at Woodend Sanctuary Audubon Naturalist Society of the Mid-Atlantic States in Silver Spring Maryland, a mile north Washington DC.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I work with children. I remember of course working with my mom and my grandmother. Every summer we would go to upstate NY and visit her and my mothers relatives. They had an extensive raspberry patch. Look at the asparagus flowers and herbs. The foundation got laid early on as it does for most people and of course I ignored it for many years.

Until my 20s 30s, I started to take it on as a hobby. The first thing I grew was tulips … they came out and were beautiful. 

About my late 20s I was living in a group house, it had a patch of ground in front and a yard in the back. I decided to grow things. They came up in the spring. I decided to cut a whole bunch to take to a friend. She was so impressed. 

Always Learning

I thought that more would grow! I was shocked! I thought I knew something about gardening!

Which has been the theme of my life in gardening is there is always so much more to learn! 

I plant with students and kids of all ages, I am constantly learning!

We grew amaranth this year, and I hope this week we will be able to cook it, so we are alway learning! I teach them that old people like me are always learning. That’s sort of the theme of my gardening journey.

I love all of that!!!

Now, it’s the Audubon where? What’s the Woodland Sanctuary?

Children’s Garden at Woodend Sanctuary Audubon Naturalist Society of the Mid Atlantic States, Teddy Roosevelt belonged to it. It had no home in Washington DC. I woman who had built a mansion donated it. 

It’s a beautiful site, they have many weddings take place there is one way they raise money and their mission is environmental education!

I went to work there in 2008, not trained in that specifically. With a small group wanting to work with school to bring more green education. I decided I wanted to know more of gardening native plants and vegetables. I took that on as a way to grow into the job and to learn more. 

Historic Greenhouse

There are 2 raised beds in the site. Right near in the historic greenhouse. The base is there and the water supply. I had everything I needed. Since then it has tripled in size.

So my question is how do the kids get there? Do they come in buses? Do you go to schools? Local neighborhoods? Who are the kids?

The kids are

3 different groups

Busloads of kids who come throughout the school year to visit Audubon and get some activities about the environment. There’s a stream on site and they will go down and see macro invertebrates and learn that’s a way to assess the health of the water in the area.

So far they don’t make official visits to a vegetable garden. 

Who’s coming now?

Audubon Summer Program

Very active for a summer program. Parents sign up during the week or several weeks. 

School day out camp, so they are holidays from school where parents need to do something with kids for the day. That’s great in the fall to continue harvesting or they can quickly sow a lettuce row. 

I get an enormous amount done over spring break if you come back for summer!

I bet there’s a ton of listeners who’s brains are spinning gears are turning. In the spring we don’t have much for holidays in my school. 

Nature Preschool at Audubon

We also have on site we have a nature preschool for 3-5 year olds. Different classes. 

One that happened this last year

Forest Oaks and they’re little 5-year olds not ready for kindergarten who basically roam the estate and learn all kind of things in nature and come to the garden regularly. That teacher is fabulous for having them plant peas very early and explore the garden. She feels very comfortable using the garden.

Summer Training

I met these amazing girls. I went to this training this summer. The last session was using a garden in early childhood education. She taught us all about things you could do with children, it was geared towards pre-k although mostly it was elementary and high school. You could use them across the grades. The college I was at had the oldest pre-school in the state dating back to 1912 or something. I love to hear that they were doing more gardening with preschoolers.

Now we have on staff a woman on staff who was a Phd on mushrooms, so I’m excited to learn more about mushrooms.

I love that to always be learning. And no matter how much you know about gardening, the climate is changing as what you’ve learned about growing peas 20 years ago might be different now and also we’re always expanding 

all leaving

Tell us about something that grew well this year.


It did grow well, but I have been warned it was aggressive, so I’ll find there whether it will I find it popping up everywhere

I garden there in raised beds

I picked

Hopi Red Dye Amaranth, one of the camps we have is called ethnobotany.

Summer Camps

The kids learn how humans interact with plants and how they c

Native Americans which we love to emphasize learning from them. As far as I know it’s the flower which is a deep red color. I’m excited to be picking some of that flower. 

Hopi Indian Tribe

The Hopi Indian lesson plans

We’ll see if it makes a nice dye! The Hopi actually made red or pink bread

Here’s a great pink tortilla recipe

Why not?

We’ll find out next week.

only use of the amaranth

sautee the leaves. I tried tasting them raw but they are not too appealing. We’ll see if they taste good cooked up.

Well a lot of things are like that don’t taste as good raw as cooked. So what made you pick amaranth? I have a feeling someone gave me some or I bought some aramanth seeds this year. I don’t think they actually got into the garden. I think there was  a reason, do they bring in pollinators or is it a companion plant?

(I actually think Jes Pearce from Bountiful Gardens told me about them.


It’s about 4 feet tall now, care free, I didn’t have to do a thing! I have it interplanted with calendula! Trying to have something for this ethnobotany camp. These students are a little bit older, so I wanted more challenges for me and for them!

We have some bamboo 40 acres is a lot to manage

some bamboo. One of the leaders is trying to make me some trellises and have the kids learn to make trellis.

Seed Fair 2016 Kalispell, MT

I always like what makes a garden is those handmade things in between. I was looking at some pictures and its the little personal things that make a garden come to life I think! Like any little wooden thing that somebody makes or a sign or a decoration. It puts more of a caring feel to it.

Better then store bought stuff.

Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?

I’m ready to plunge into grapes, I think! Very scary because I have seen how fast they grow.

We have a big volunteer body of people who we also train. We are a site  for training master naturalists. They then have an ongoing commitment to service or community. A

They are always looking for projects and we also have eagle scouts looking to earn their badge? Status? We make suggestions to them.

We have one eagle scout make Mason Beehives!

Patti Armbrister brought these from her school garden in Hinsdale, MT

We haven’t seen any bees around our house this summer so I was just thinking about that as I attended a mason bee workshop at the seed fair this spring.

Mason bees

when I first became a master garden, they knew I was interested in working with children gave me a grant to go to

fantastic children’s garden and part of it was one of these mason bee structures! So I took a picture and I handed it to the eagle scout and he figured it out! It’s just a tall structure and the mason bees like small tubes to climb into, just a quarter to half inch depth. You could just drill holes in a log.

The ones I saw they took a coffee can and filled it with rolled up newspaper!

Back to next year.

What I think I might be ready for is an eagle scout to build me a structure for muscatine grapes. 

native to south eastern us

having enough room

excited… to learn.

Mike has been trying to grow some grapes. They’re growing but they need to have a strong structure for sure!

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.

Can I first tell you about something that grew well? I did the 3 sisters garden. Another Native American theme?

Oh yes!

Harvest 3 ears of eating corn

beans growing

really excited about 3 things

spring break camp

made the mounds

I went and got 3 fish heads! The kids loved that! 

Some thing to remember if you are thinking to try but don’t forget the fish heads!

I think that’s awesome! Mike did the 3 sisters thing this year with the beans and the corn and the squash but I don’t think he did the fish head thing, we will have to remember that next year!

Then I thought how fun for the fall days out camp because the corn will be done and we will see if we find the sculls of the dead fish.

I’ll try and call you and see if you found them. I actually teach on reservation during the school year. I know it’s bastille day today July 14th! I feel like vacation just started but that should about when this airs. I think they will be decomposed and you won’t find the skulls. IDK maybe they would be there.

They were cat fish!

I chopped in half one whole one and 2 halves! 

Did you take pictures before while you were burying them? 

Do what didn’t work well?

One of the other things.

I’m a total scavenger. I have these bits of fencing and old poles. 

I tried to put the cucumbers in a new area, I had the kids at spring break build these things you could crawl in. 

I was thinking the cucumbers would. I forgot we were still contending with deer. They never bothered cucumbers before because they are spiny

Deer Trouble

they had been munching on them. The cover of the hut that I vegetable didn’t work.

I keep telling mike it’s a blessing, Mike’s still upset but I think it was better it happened then in a good way because everything’s growing back, there’s a chance when the brocolli comes back it might bolt it will be hot, but I feel like it’s made us more vigilante if the deer got in there now it would be so much worse. Deer mistakes it’s all part of the problem!

if they do munch it...

Oct 09 2017



Rank #17: replay of 26: fruit tree pruning | Simply Trees | Russ Metge | Salt Lake City, UT

Podcast cover
Read more

This was my first interview with the awesome Russ Metge who is always so generous with his knowledge of fruit tree care and pruning back on Mar 25, 2015.

Proper fruit tree pruning

Russ Metge from Simply Trees is here to share his journey as a business owner where he does’t just prune trees but also educates his clients on the importance of proper  fruit tree pruning in Salt Lake City, UT.

Russ Metge is a professional Horticulturist with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Brigham Young U-Idaho. He is a husband and father of three, with a fourth child on the way. He owns and operates Simply Trees, a pruning business in Salt Lake City that specializes in fruit tree pruning and horticultural pruning of other specialty trees, vines, and shrubs like Japanese Maples, grapes, roses, raspberries etc. He loves working outdoors, and the only thing he likes more than pruning fruit trees is teaching others how to prune fruit trees with his on-site, one-on-one fruit tree pruning workshops where clients learn how to prune fruit trees with there very own trees as examples. When Russ is not pruning trees he enjoys connecting with like minded gardeners online via Twitter, Facebook and his blog which can be found at

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

Mom always had a garden, came from gardening family… grandmother.

What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?

Gardening is organic, putting seeds in the ground the whole process is organic so instead of using lots of chemical pesticides and fertilizers your making a more sustainable way of growing plants.

Pesticides are kinda like drugs for your garden, and then your garden becomes dependent on them to get the same results. Organic is working with nature and more sustainable.

Link to Rodale Farm Trial

Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?

Not how Russ grew up. When in school, getting horticulture degree.

Don’t necessarily dive in deep on any one subject, get a general idea on how plants grow, landscaped design, floral design etc.

“Integrative pest management” – uses a combination of methods to keep pests under control in your garden.

Tree pruning for organic gardening

Important to prune fruit trees every year.

By pruning trees it minimizes the need for pest control.

A tree that hasn’t been pruned in years, will have broken branches, fire blight and other diseases, and they are so thick of branches which make a great hiding place for pests. Birds can’t get into eat as many insects in an overgrown tree. Lots of fungus that attack fruit trees like powdery mildew and other fungus in the garden is to ensure that the leaves stay dry.It also helps cut out dead and dying diseased branches that stimulate new growth for future years.

Prune in winter or early spring before leaves

Check out his 8-step method on his blog as well as biology and why the tree reacts to what your doing what your doing.

Start Now. It’s an investment that’s gonna take some time and take a while to get them established.

Fruit cocktail trees have more then one fruit on them, multiple apples or peach, plum, apricot etc.

Most fruit trees can be grown in a pot.

Espalier fruit trees where you grow it up against a wall or a fence.

Columnar apple tree that grows straight up which are very prolific.

Do recommend buying fruit trees with bare roots. Lots of problems can come from being in the pot.

A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.

Pruning saw – has a curved blade with teeth that can cut through large branches.

Love hand pruners, could use the saw if I had to.

Big loppers two handed shears, can’t climb a tree or carry on a ladder.

Climbing a tree is much safer, then using a ladder because you eventually start reaching and you are more likely to fall.

Pole pruner – extendable pole that goes about 15 feet – with a rope that has a bypass cutting blade that will reach out to taller branches.

Occasionally use a chain saw.

Want to keep tree small enough that you can reach fruit from a 6 foot ladder.

Eating or harvesting fruit on time? 

When it’s time to harvest its time to harvest. If you wait a little longer fruit can be sweeter but then you can be competing with other animals like birds, suggest that you pick it a bit green and then let it ripen in the house.

Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last? 

Grew up eating bottled fruit with grilled cheese sandwiches. Bottled peaches, pears, plums, apple sauce.

A favorite internet resource?

Twitter – attend chats hashtag #treechat or #plantchat and meet friends who are like-minded

Follow Russ here @RussMetge  or @simplytreesut and Jackie @OrganicGPodcast

 A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can 

The Vegetable Gardeners Bible  by Edward C. Smith

If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?

Could contact Russ directly and he would help mentor them and visit blog.

Get started and be patient, be prepared to start small. Don’t mortgage the home to start a business, keep it simple, small and it will grow organically and as long as you have a good product and service and in the right niche it will grow.

Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the earth either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

Writing a book on how fruit tree pruning can ultimately save the world. Problems we have in the world today is linked to sustainable agriculture and how growing an orchard in your backyard is much more sustainable and also the problem with the bees.

(note about deer interruption – Russ suggested I leave it in so I did… the deer just happened to sneak into our yard while I was recording and I had to yell for Mike to run them off:)

Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

More is better, less is more, therefore less is better. Keep it simple.

Reach out to Russ at

You can find him on twitter @RussMetge  or @simplytreesut

The Organic Gardener Podcast is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here:

If you have any comments, questions, guests you’d like to see, or topics you’d like us to cover please send us any feedback positive or negative. We’re here to serve our audience and we can only improve with your help!!! Thanks for visiting Mike’s Green Garden changing the world one garden at a time.

Apr 08 2018

1hr 4mins


Rank #18: 2020 GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast Challenge in Full Days 1-8

Podcast cover
Read more

Check out the video version of the 2020 GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast Challenge here:

Want to learn more join us for the Organic Oasis Master Class

Feb 01 2020



Rank #19: 186. Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life | “Where good Stewardship meets economic gain” | David Montgomery | Seattle, WA

Podcast cover
Read more

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life | “Where good Stewardship meets economic gain” pg 24. David Montgomery | Seattle, WA

2 brown thumbs;) to understand that joke and hear the pre-chat listen to the podcast itself on iTunes.

The Messengers DVD on Indiegogo

David R. Montgomery was born in 1961 Stanford, California, and studied geology at Stanford University before earning his Ph.D. in geomorphology at UC Berkeley. He teaches at the University of Washington where he studies the evolution of topography and how geological processes shape landscapes and influence ecological systems. He loved maps as a kid and now writes about the relationship of people to their environment and other things that interest him. In 2008 he was named a MacArthur Fellow. He lives with his wife Anne in Seattle, Washington.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a geologist by trying

major hobby and passion

she’s a biologist

looking at plants and the role of microbes

I’ve gotten into gardening by looking over her shoulder and enjoying the fruits of what is happening! Watching how she transformed it from the lawn to nice garden

The New Book looks at translate the principals of we learned by watching our yard come back to life here in North Seattle where we live. How to translate that to larger scale farms and the way how ag can embrace and apply these same practices and principles that worked so well in our yard to revolutionize and transform agriculture adn take it  from an environmental problem and all the major problems that are associated with agrochemical intense agriculture and transform agriculture in ways that are practical can maintain yeilds have a much lower environmental footprint

The book really chronicals my journey visiting farmers around the world who are applying these and principals b

bringing their soil back to life the way Anne did to our yard.

iI knew as soon as I saw your book on amazon my listeners I call them green future growers becasue they are growing us a greener future and this is what it could be.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

my primary love of garden come from helping Anne in the garden and absorb her passion


I forget to water them I’m not the best plant parent


But Anne’s a plant whisperer

renting an apartment

transformed the whole place

came to an appreciation of the power of that experience

not only for an individual for the gardener and their love and joy of doing it, but the way their experience can rub off on others

experience what a good gardener can create.

It’s almost like the book the secret garden and how the garden can transform another life. When the kids play in the bucket of worms in my classroom I can’t hardly keep them out of them.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

We’re hardwired to like nature

dealt out of that

little bits of nature

can connect us with our deep roots

evolutionary roots

vision and senses all come together in terms of experiencing nature

I like to view our garden now as a little bit of that whichconnects us with the broader world. I ca’t believe how much time I spend in the non rainy season, in the spring or summer. We have really moved outside 3-6 months in our outdoor living room.

I can tell you about all that

fun book to research

observations I made as a geologist

I worekd all over the world that

studies soil erosion


geomorphologist someone who studies the surface forms of the earth

topography and how it forms

if you do that enough and look at erosion like I have

sculpts terrain and topography you start recognizing patterns

looked at the soil erosion shaping the longevity of human civilizations how 

farming practices had destroyed the soil after

follow human history and region after region

affects our history

little of that is taught,

none of it’s learned in school

personal observations

looking at the archeology

final chapter was kind of depressing … chronologically of societies unable to feed themselves. Had to rewrite the end 3 times and then I sort of put the subject aside

started seeing the and we talk about in

The Hidden Half of Nature

She was able to restore the soil in our yard

Turn it from essentially dead dirt into thriving rich soil.

Over the course of a decade she changed our soil.

So counter to what I had seen about the destruction of soils, so I started to pay attention and perk up and go wait a minute!

We can rebuild soil fertility sort of fast here

Microbial life feeds plants

Importance for human health all played out in the book that we wrote together

The Hidden Half of Nature

What if we applied these principles to?

  • farming
  • gardens at large
  • gardens that feed us all
  • different kind of gardening

There’s definitely a big difference from  a garden feeding a family of four to a farm feeding 150 CSAs to large scale farming.

In Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

I wanted to ask the question:

Could the things that Anne had done to our yard that were so transformative  could that be done at scale on big farms? On:

  • big industrial farms that we have in North America
  • family farms
  • small subsistence farms in Africa

I wanted to know how applicable the things we were looking at were. So I started traveling around the world to visit farmers who had literally transformed their soil. Had brought their farms back to life. Taken land was degraded

Something like 1/3 of all farmland in the world has seriously degraded soil!

How do we keep feeding an 8, 9 billion, 10,000,000,000  person planet

Having soil that was degraded was not the way to do it!

So I wondered

  • can we reverse that?
  • does it make economic sense?

  • Knew it made environmental sense to do it. But could it be done practically and economically?

It seems like the answer is yes!


From one’s own garden all the way up  to very large farms, that aren’t  necessarily organic in nature but that I like to call “organic-ish” because the farmers,  many of the conventional Farmers who had adopted these principles and used them for the years.

They had kind of  weaned themselves off of most agro-chemicals.

They were getting more organic in nature but that was not their intent they were just finding that they

  • didn’t need all the chemical in their own soil which
  • all the fertilizer
  • the herbicide
  • insecticide

they didn’t need them if they adopted these practices and tailor their own environmental technology level to their own soil… There’s a lot of variables

But the principles are what I organized the book around my trip to see famers who were doing it well who were having success in improving their soil and returning the profitability to their farm. And radically lowering their environmental footprint

Some were completely organic but most were intentionally not completely organic or not organic started as conventional farmers but by the time they had restored their soil the difference was getting pretty narrow. It was really interesting.

I know listeners are probably dying to hear what can they do to restore their healthy soil, if they are trying or haven’t even gotten started yet. Where are some of the places you’ve been.

I went to:

  • Latin America,
  • Costa Rica
  • Africa to Ghana 
  • South Africa
  • American Midwest
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Saskatchewan, CA

A wide range of farmers who had a wide range of crops some who had

  • crops
  • livestock
  • commodity crop producers.

It was interesting and informative set of farmers. I intentionally selected a biased set. I wasn’t trying to visit the average north american or average African farmer.

I was trying to visit people who had really restored their soil and figure out how they did it.

some of the farms went to in Africa were no bigger then our urban lot in Seattle. People were feeding themselves. They had really no access to capital but they had their own labor.

So the idea that you could bring fertilizer intense green revolution of agriculture to these farmers wasn’t gonna work because they didn’t have the money for fertilizer and patented seeds.

They needed a style of agriculture that they could implement themselves. 

Kofi Boa

Center for No-till Agriculture

Kumasi Ghana

Masters degree in Nebraska looking at no-till farming. and then came back and adapted to practices in Ghana

What he’s done is taken his farm and turned it into a teaching farm

show them how he was doing things and how much it had 

  • reduced erosion off of his fields
  • improved the quality of his soil
  • doubled crop yields

going from traditional practices essentially slash and burn

clear burn, plant, go away for 10-20 years farm another piece of land while nature rebuilt the fertility etc. That works great if you have a low pop density but if you have a lot of people you run out of land…. can’t keep doing that practice

part it relied on

jungle growing plants up and rotting and  returning nutrients to...

May 15 2017

1hr 15mins


Rank #20: JMB Rant – Green Future Growers Club on Patreon

Podcast cover
Read more

Hey Green Future Growers! It’s April 2, 2018 but I start this rant February 23rd right after I talked to Joe Lamp’l from Growing a Greener World. We talk about everything from healthy soil and deep beds and he is just a delightful guest I know you are going to love.

Patreon – Green Future Growers Club Idea

But my friend Dacia and my Brother Peter have always talked about Patreon and how I should have a page there and I was thinking I should have a Green Future Grower’s Club there? It could be a place where we could talk about green ideas whether you have a green business or run a community garden it seems that a lot of my listeners have jobs related to the environment and it could kind of be a place we could join forces to help each other. Maybe I could put out a short weekly or monthly challenge or idea we could discuss? I mean it could be a Facebook Group too. If you have suggestions or ideas about what it would look like.

Awesome Science Action Club – BirdScouts Lessons

This morning I posted my first Awesome Science Action Club lessons that are for kids who want to learn about science and birds and other things.

I feel like there is a definite theme amongst my listeners that they all have jobs or businesses in the green fields or run community gardens.

Rockstar Millennials Foundation Idea

I have been thinking we should have an event this summer where we could meet up? Anastasia Plakias from the Brooklyn Grange said she would show me around the farm wouldn’t it be fun to meet up? Im gonna be in NYC for my niece graduation at the end of June. Or possibly at Young’s Farm on Long Island I just did an interview with them.

Speaking of other projects what do you think about a Rockstar Millennial Foundation that was a 501c3 that gave scholarships to rockstar millennials for projects that grow a greener future modeled after the Red Ants Pants Foundation

I’m even dreaming about a concert at Jones Beach someday…

What’s New With Mike’s Green Garden

I thought of something I should give you an update on what Mike’s doing. He just plasticed in the porch and has mini brocolli and pepper starts. He’s been raking and aerating the soil.

So that’s my Sunday Morning Rant!

Let’s Get Growing

Apr 01 2018