“Planet B Harvest provides fresh and healthy produce grown in beautiful northwest Montana, as well as products made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Fresh pea shoots taste like the essence of sweet green peas. They are great on their own with a little homemade dressing, or as part of a salad. I also add them to stir fries, soups, and any dish that would benefit from a pop of bright green and sweet pea flavor. Pea shoots are naturally low calorie, and loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Folic Acid. Blend them into your morning smoothie for a healthful boost of nutrients and flavor.
Sunflower greens are baby sunflower plants harvested just as the second set of leaves appear. They retain the nuttiness of raw sunflower seeds with the satisfying bite of a leafy green. A big bowl of sunflower greens tossed with raw pumpkin seeds and homemade ranch dressing is one of my favorite healthy snacks. Sunflower greens are low calorie, containing Vitamins A, B, D, and E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. They pack a nutritional powerhouse as part of your juicing recipe.”
It was fun to meet you at the Kalispell Farmer’s Markets. Everything I say is based on one season of experience. For folks, who are thinking are starting. Be in the starting phase, and might have some empathy, with those who want to jump in!
I think you’re gonna inspire some people for something they might not
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
When I was a little kid I lived about 20 minutes south of San Francisco near Half Moon bay in California, at that time and still today was a very farm land. Brassicas…
Well known for pumpkins
My mom came from Sweden, didn’t come to the US till her early 20s and she grew up near lots of farms, her bent was getting away from that and becoming a city girl. We did have a small yard. .. However we went to the local farm store.
Me too Still to this day!
Baker Heirloom has these amazing illustrations on their packets. Now, but I picked up some carrots, and probably some otters flowers, didn’t pay much attention to packets to gardening best practices and sprinkled them on the ground thinking they would grow…
As a kid you don’t have the same sense of time as an adult, and forgot about them, and then like a month later or so, I saw these fronds and pulled one up and it was a carrot! And I just thought that was so magical as a child, that you could put something in the ground. IDK if you know the area around Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, it’s Not the best for growing was really a miracle that anything grew as all
her name was Mrs. Lauder
came around selling her produce in her little VW bug, loved artichokes and got to love vegetables. After that experience, I didn’t have much to do with anything for years, I started growing micro greens at home for use… That was my first experience…
I’m totally picturing this children book with Mrs. Lauder driving mourned in her bug delivering and artichoke….
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
It’s to me, I think about, just the way I think, now I know there’s a whole discipline, looking the entire ecosystem.
what things work
how do you do the least intervention to get the best results, I don’t have the most experience, but just having the mindset that made the most sense to me and work with the environment, in the local environment and experiment and play, and figure out, you know we’re always intervening as gardeners. I’m not looking to have wild forage out there that I go and pick. Balancing that intervention, with what the garden wants to do, is my incoming mindset, then I find out that there’s a whole permaculture movement and folks doing this stuff for years…
lots of info
dip my toe into those waters
who do you actually create an environment that becomes more of a permanent culture and
I know I never heard the word permaculture, maybe I heard it and didn’t pay attention…
Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?
I think I’m just a geek and I like to work with systems… So for me, organic, I think the definition of the word has become used all over the place now for marketing purposes, it loses some of its original impact when you have major corporations doing everything organic, and I start to wonder, when you’re growing hundreds of hundreds of acres of something, it’s certainly possible.
how to use what’s out there, similar to what I said, we want to observe what’s going on and try not to intervene into the environment too much so we have to fight what’s already there. That’s my inspiration for using organics, we;ll see how it goes, when I expand my garden and get more pests!
I think it will get better, and she talked that the more beneficials you have growing the more pests will go down, over time.
How did you learn how to garden organically?
I am really at the beginning of my learning curve, one of the benefits of living in the Flathead Valley is we’re surrounded by knowledgeable that are willing to share. I’ll say, going to the internet it’s hard to absorb all the info the first day
I’ve just found meeting farmers locally, and there’s something about the face to face interaction about meeting farmers local people are just helpful if you get started.
thinking about those of you who want to get started, that aren’t sure where to start or if you are not even sure if you have the space to do it. I would say reach out and connect to people who are already doing it locally, and you can find those folks online. Even if they not, the wealth of information and based on your specific situation is a much faster way then trying to absorb all the info on your own and attending events and being able to talk to people if you can’t see them face to face, that’s another way as an advisable
The bonus to gardening theres a farmer’s market almost every week where you can talk., I mean if the line’s long obviously you’re not gonna be able to ask much but at the right time you can connect I’m sure. Are you gonna be at Robin’s seed fair?
Im glad you mentioned it. A little back story here, I was listening to Jackie’s podcast several weeks back, and Robin Kelson mentioned they were gonna start a seed swap fair, the first annual one here in the Flathead Valley in March. So I emailed Robin right away, and hey, I’d love to see where I can help and I am helping Robin and am coordinating volunteers. Please contact form on Planet B harvest.com
should be a fun event, the more people who will pitch in, the more … there are still few more spots… everyone else will get a chance to enjoy it!
great group of people, helping make it go smoothly. coordinating the event
Hope it does
On March 19th! If you are interested in coming
If you are not in Montana, and thinking this doesn’t apply to me, you might find out if there is one of these events already going on in your area coming up, or you might want to start one. I was telling Robin I have these awesome Earth Day Puppet Plays and Earth Day’s coming up!
It’s funny, the one thing I learned the first year of the farmer’s markets, was “Hey I see these growing under my bird feeder!”
So sunflower greens are a microgram, so mine are organic black oil sunflower seeds.
Unless you get ones that are meant for growing micro-greens… because the ones for birds can be treated.
Let’s step back for a second,w here do you get those seeds then?
I’ve tried a lot of sources
I like Johnny’s seeds the best, they seem to have a high germination rate and good quality. A number of other seed companies that sell, especially if you are looking for a small quantity.
If you want seeds, you can just do a search on google or bing, sunflower seeds for micro-greens.
My goal, I was just gonna plant the regular bird seed ones…
They’re really healthy, they’re my favorites, because the greens taste like nutty sunflowers themselves and they’re full of amino acids and I had a kind of tear sheets with a list of all the healthy ingredients
concentrated nutrient source
because they are harvested young
because they are not using those nutrients in the plant
14 days from start to harvest
someone who’s looking to start inside, you can do them really quick you can start batches every week or so if you want a continuous supply. I originally did it indoors because getting fresh produce all winter is a challenge. With a little bit of a light, incandescent light, plant them in shallow trays, some people just use little bread pans
soak them over night to get them saturated, leave that
wait till they sprout little tails
when they have a quarter inch tail
spread on top of a inch and an inch and a half, I root mine down so they root straight as a home growers they can be a little bit crooked. I like to harvest them young about 2” I think they taste better and they are nuttier,
have nice little red stems and look nice in a salad if you’re doing them at home. If you’re doing them for growing at Farmers Market, I set up a 6 x 8 grow tent to grow year round, I put up ventilation
environment stays at the to produce a superior product for a grower.
Wow! I though there was a lot less to it then that, I thought you just put them in water in a jar…
That’s a really good part
you can do them as sprouts, you can do that with sprout technique works great just for alfalfa and clover
wet them down and shake them in the jar, I’ve done that for
for sunflower greens, I don’t like that teaching as well,
I like them grown in the soil and they get the extra healthy
sometimes the hulls stick
it would be very time consuming to pick apart the shells off, if you just mist the greens and brush, the hulls fall right off, the hulls are easier to remove and it’s almost impossible, if you are looking to sprout without soil.
I do remember Sarah Harding talking about that with the micro-greens
I would do a search for sprouting seeds,
i like clover a lot for sprouting
hulls tend to sink to the bottom and they taste great!
Do you want to tell listeners about what to cook with
So, I use them in a lot of things.
of course, salad is my favorite and that’s an obvious use. and Illl eat a big bowl of sunflowers
olive oil dressing or lemon juice any kind of dressing, so that’s an obvious use
- by themselves
- fresh spring rolls
- stir frys
anywhere you would use a green vegetable, put if you are and if you are putting them in pasta or risotto
They add a nutty flavor…
I knew you would be a great guest… I’m surprised I don’t do this, it seems like I used to do this many years ago when we first got married!
just put them in at the end and they get vibrant…
Pea Shoots, similar uses as sunflower greens
you can cook them a little longer
essentially same process
What kind of peas?
I use just organic field peas, that’s what their called. I’m not a very good person for
people who don’t have internet
if you do a search for pea shoot sprout seeds
dried field peas
I use organic
tails can get a little bit longer then like the sunflower
cover them up and let them root
they are sometimes as quick as ten days
often let mine grow up to 3-4 inches, because they get these sweet little greens, so like the sunflower greens taste like pea greens, they have that sweet flavor of pea, you don’t want to let them go to long or they get that woody flavor. If you harvest between 3-4 inches they have sweet pea flavor,
- use them in stir fries
- put them in pastas
- eat them raw
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
Sunflower greens they grow really well and of course everybody’s favorite tomatoes
I should back up a little bit, for first year of the farmers market I wanted to focus on the micro-greens, something that I knew I could do a good job on and create a superior product and to get started and get my feet wet. This I’m gonna expand the garden and add a lot more vegetable. Last year I did tomatoes and chilis as well, and the tomatoes did amazing! And then the drought if you remember and then the fires came!
I was surrounded on all sides by fires
I had jalapeños
smoked chipotles on the vine
tomatoes did super well
big harvest for personal use before the fires and droughts took over, but what I’ve heard from a lot of farmers…
unless you get hit
We’re hoping were gonna get the high tunnels this year, and extend our season and then maybe
the one , Mike usually starts them in February
he’s made the little hoops covers before and he builds like these minute type of high tunnel and we’ve covered them It’s amazing how different Kila can be and even Eureka we’re 8 miles south of town, and they have 3 weeks on each end of the growing season then us…
micro climate city around here
one thing that helped
doesn’t work on a large scale farm
out of necessity
before I started my garden
wanted to do everything in raised beds and containers
So, I stumbled across the straw bale gardening.
So this Joel Karsten, he wrote a book called Straw Bale Gardens
wrote a book on straw bale gardening.
He had an academic background in agriculture. He was in college but no money, so he just started planting and said why can’t I start with straw bales, partially compost them and plant directly in there? And his work took off from that point. I have these raised beds that I want to do, but to fill with soil and these big boxes … its very expensive!
So I thought I’ll try the straw bales in there and put a little soil on top, he recommends you condition them for 14 days,
this might be useful with your tomato
fertilize and get the composition started before hand because you have heat from the composition I think you can plant earlier then you would here typically in Montana. I wold cover them at night and sometimes it would get down into the 30’s and the heat in the composition in the straw the heat they would get in the soil…
I’ll have to look into that a little more. I belong to a face book straw bale farmers… This woman last year I worked with did the whole straw bale thing… The 2 I mostly go to a re the flower farmers and there’s this Montana gardeners one I go to, mostly if I go somewhere it’s my podcasting group I have to admit…
more detail how do you, it’s one of the reasons it’s not so economical for a larger scale, if you can use them as sheet mulching as something on your garden. It’s not that reusable and he talks about
Mike’s always wanted to build a straw bale house.
well that’s ambitious…
Mike built our house … and last year with this mini-farm, and the drought, we ran out of water with 2 wells, every other day… Because down there at Mandy’s at lower valley farm, and she has like 4, maybe 8 times what he planted and I thought how will we ever water that? Didn’t we just finally raise the temp of the plane 2 full degrees this month or something …
One of my major motivations for putting my hands in the dirt… but I think as everybody might
One of my motivations for putting my hands in the dirt is …. climate change is happening, we might not know, it’s hard to predict what will the effects …won’t be business as usual… decentralizing food production … on a smaller scale, look at what works and what doesn’t work and adjust closer to real time to climate conditions then any big agribusiness will be able to …
And I think it’s time to start planting seeds, saving the sees that did well, and creating very resilient local pockets of growth where we can share what’s working in our local areas and that’s gonna change as the climate changes in my opinion … every one of us can participate with that process even if your in an urban area with a patio, or small backyard.
Every person can help figure out what’s gonna do well in the future so we can feed ourselves as the climate and have a positive impact so we can just wring our hands, this disaster is looming. I’m kind of agnostic about disasters, I just think this is how it is right now and what do we do about it. And so localizing food production is huge to help mitigate some of the effects of climate change.
I think you are not only one of those people and you’re one of those educating us today and when you make your sunflower seeds. I had no idea it made a difference if you use the same seeds it’s better then starting fresh every year with new seeds.
Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?
So, definitely doing that, I’m planning right now, some of the smaller fast growing vegetables, to start in the hot house. If I can get my contractor to speed up, get my greenhouse down before this months out. So then I’ll have more of an indoor area
- baby lettuces
- baby carrots
for market offering
started back in dec
I started some
- artichoke seedlings
have a reputation for being somewhat finicky and not doing well in Montana, but being a small gardener where I can experiment, so I had 10 artichoke seedlings and I have the one I have left if thriving! The one that goes to seed, if it survives that long… I’m all about experimenting. I want to have the options for a green house and climate control, so I have a leg up on the growing season…
be interested if you can get the types of fruits and vegetables that traditionally haven’t grown well may eventually, become adapted.
Can I ask how big is your place? It’s small by homestead standards, it’s 10 acres, most of that is wooded, not heavily heavily wooded… potentially growing in the woods. I need to close that loop so I have manure. Some of the heavily wooded area will be good for livestock. My growing area is relatively small
see how much I can grow in a small area
kind of lazy about getting the garden chores done
where the yard used to be is where the garden is
do my meals and my weeding right close by. My vision is not a giant operation,not a big farm
keep it close to the house,
easy access to irrigation
weeding, good light
Have you read The Market Farmer by Jean Martin Fortier…
What’s your idea of small space, because you’re like it’s small and then your like 10 acres?!
It’s proably 1/8
Oh, yeah and being close by! I’m big on convenience I come home from work, and salad seems to be an afterthought sometimes, dinner’s ready… our garden’s down at the bottom of the hill … I think convenience, ease… I always say my favorite anniversary present was year 14 a compost bin outside my kitchen door…
When I was just in Paris, I just had the most delicious arugula salad, and I trie this thing Mache, that I had never tried and I just loved both of those, the arugula was sooooo good, but they would have these tiny little baby, small
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
I wanted to I love little sweet pea flowers, I tried several times to start the sweet peas seeds, different batches, and they say nick the hulls, put them in the fridge. I think I tried 4 batches and I could not get a single one to even germinate.. I asked, I know local grower I asked, and they said I’m doing all the right things…
I don’t know what the trick is
there is certainly a lot of information when you go down that rabbit hole
you get into these very particular
you have to keep it at this temp for this long at this period of it’s growth cycle…
I was gonna say, I’ve had success, I put them in the ground, direct seed etehm, just wait till the ground’s warm enough, they are peas, and they like cooler better then warm…
You’re talking about peas for eating, but I’m talking about the flowers….
Yeah, I know. the same. I’m pretty sure, I’ll look in my records.
Yeah! Sweet peas are nice!
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?
Since I’m growing on a small scale, I don’ have a least favorite, we’ll see when I expand the scale.. I like all of it.
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.
I particularly like pruning, weeding, but like I said, I’ve had a small area and then of course growing in straw bales, you get almost no weeds
I don’t have a good answer for that because it’s all so new!
another advantage for that method….
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
I decided that the best advice was “Feed the animals first…” from my dad… maybe because its my dad’s birthday but I was thinking this the other day… my parents always sat down to breakfast, and all meals with each other, placemats, etc. and he always fed the birds and then the cats and the dogs… and then eat breakfast.
Most important piece of advice I have to keep remind myself. There are no negative outcomes, only learnings.
Is there 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?
IDK that this technically falls into the category of a tool, but I love my grow tent. If you want a place to grow all year long, it’s just 4×8, relatively inexpensive to buy on amazon… put the shelves in there, I put the t5 lights in there, I put a couple of vent fans in there and I have the vent fans plugged into the thermostat so it shuts off and it just gives you a super controlled environment all year long… it does take up a good deal of space, it’s such a good investment it’s well worth the investment
great way maybe not for the home gardener who doesn’t have the space
it’s not that relevant
controlled environment that you can grow all year long! I have tomatoes in there right now, and they are like the size of marbles but that is exciting in March.It’s one of those tools that you can if you have the space for it, will give you a big leg up on success.
easy to maintain you don’t have worry about bugs or anything like that. so that’s my favorite.
Sure it counts as a tool. I do have to ask do you have a tool for cutting the sunflower or pea greens?
Scissors – long thin lads, you’ll see them in garden shops, it makes quick work of those….
Do you have any tips for eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time?
That was my big learning last year. Is don’t plant every thing at once. This year I took great pains to do a spreadsheet to have things and staggered planting timers, and when to plant the next succession so that does not happen.
if you are going to have a huge garden your going to have a lot of stuff. I love to cook and preserve things.
I bought a nice dehydrator which was another good investment. I dry vegetables and fruits from my friends orchard, that’s a great preserving technique. As far aseating or harvesting them. Just plan your plantings, look at your time to maturity… I think it is worth it to take the time to actually map it out,
maybe be a little tedious but we’ll see if this year it pans out…
Megan Cain has some great tools for doing things like that like a garden planner, and
I’m the worst. I barely looked at a catalog yesterday for the first time…I do have quite a few seeds I bought at the end of the year last year. And I do want to try to get sweet potatoes and listen to Amelia Shcmitez.
That’s a super great experiment… Sweet potatoes.
yeah, she said you get these little slips, they look like the weirdest thing…when you pull them out of the box, although I still love the story of Sarah Harding going down to the post office and they called because the little ducklings are done…We might get a duck this year after talking to Sarah and Amelia said she had the cutest little duck… and also I guess the Market Farmer talks about ducks. So we might get a baby duck….
Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last?
I have the other thing… a lot of people I hear say “how do you preserve eggplant?”
the best way to preserve eggplant in my opinion is to cube it up into 1 inch cubes preferably with a coarse salt
thick grain salt
let the liquid drain out overnight, so you just put it in a colinder with a dish, overnight
then freeze it flat
once you dry it off with a paper towel
freeze it in a single layer in your freezer and once it’s frozen you can bag it up, the great thing about that is it takes out the bitterness of the skin, then it’s the most amazing substitute for meat if you have vegetarians
great thing to keep in quart bags freezer
toss it in a little olive oil put it in the oven and roast it till it’s soft, like 40 min or so
then you can put it in vegetarian chili or ratatouille, I often think eggplant is a magic plant
as long as water content out of there, it’s like the perfect meat substitute.
I feel like I should pay you $10 just for that recipe… no matter how hard I tried I I still ended up with eggplants in a crate
They prepare their eggplant that way for their vegetable
the course salt with dry out the liquid, then it drains out, gets rid of that bitterness
A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
To me there’s nothing better then fresh slice of ripe tomatoes and sunflower greens and some home made crusty bread with some salt and olive oil. Its not really a recipe, its shut when you can get vegetables out of the garden
as a recipe as a good way to eat
really like the roasted eggplant
A favorite internet resource?
hip modern farming advice and stories! I really love their writing and often they have great resources and to me the stories are really inspiring….
an internet resource… I stumbled across the archives of the Mother Earth News, bundle that they send you all their articles back to 1970, in electronic form.
search all the archives for any keywords
entertaining and nostalgic
another off the side road resource…
starting with bees this year
research all these articles on beekeeping…
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?
The Modern Farmer Magazine is fun
so many whatever is drawing my interest….
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, getting your feet wet, if your not ready to get into the Farmer’s Market the first year. I’m gonna do the same thing your doing. I felt a little bit intimidated, I would say everyone was so helpful, I don’t think it was anything I should have b
great advantage of
in worried about at all. A f your thinking about this is a potential business
hear directly from customers what they want and have the basis for the business started. But if you just want to get started
grow anything that grows well. I definitley recommend micro greens are quick and you’ll feel gratified by instant success. I you’re not ready, I would suggest reach out to people
have a conversation with them and see what their doing and pick what resonates with you most.
that’s a good babysit.
I knew you would be a great guest.. a lot of people would be intimidated. that you know a lot of what we newbies feel… I was just telling Mike this morning, that driving 45 miles to your market isn’t that much… theres the Eureka market too… My struggle with it has been the Eureka market is at night… I guess the Whitefish market…
I’m just a morning girl… I complain about daylight savings for the whole time… I’ll be complaining about daylight savings.. if you have to be at work at 8oclock in the morning is gone …whatever…
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?
Well, I think we touched on this, my big motivation is all about taking advantage of decentralization of food production so we can be responsive to climate change. WE can each do our part, even if you have a NYC rooftop, or a suburban yard or living in a cul de sac, few containers in a window sill
tiny portion of it,
learning what works is a great way to make that contribution and then share that info with other people in your local area, it’s a great process to connecting to new folks of people who have the climate in mind
brings people together, regardless of where you land politically or where you land socio-economically, it’s a way of depolarizing the discussion because we all need to eat! Can help bring communities together and help with long-term viability!
Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
I wold recommend starting small. Im not sure that’s a quote… Start small, if your not ready to start year, connect with folks doing what you might consider and connect to see if you resonate with that….
How do we connect with you?
My homestead site is planetbgarden.com and you can go to the latest post page for whatever your thinking about at the moment…
go to the
market website fi you are in the area and what to see is planetbharvest.com
if you would like to go to the Free The Seeds Event…. especially if you would like volunteer for the free the seeds event…
Do you want to say what jobs you’re looking to fill.
We have the heavy lifting stuff covered, what we really need help with the moment is to help with the flow, if somebody looks lost, just direct them with ….your workshop is over there, the one you’re looking ofr. since it’s the first annual event surveys, we want the second one to be better…
that kind of thing… It doesn’t have to be a big commitment, not a big time commitment… even if you have …. 1/2 hour or an hour
it’s a totally free community supported event
All the help people give makes the workload a little lighter…. for the other folk who are participating etc….!
Sign up give me a ring!!! Send me a note!
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