144. Honest To Goodness Farms | Audrey Coley | Elizabethtown, KY

I’m so honored to share this guest today because she’s in the Organic Gardener Podcast Facebook Community! 

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Honest To Goodness Farm and Flowers.com

Honest to Goodness Farm and Flowers is located in Elizabethtown about an hour away from Louisvilee, KY.  This is our first year growing cut flowers for sale at the market. We have

  • dahlias
  • zinnias
  • cosmos
  • sunflowers
  • growing vegetables

any extras of that 

Did you say in the pre-chat your on your family farm, and growing on 2 acres but there is 70 acres

Brian Coley Honest To Goodness Farms

My husband and I, Brian, we are actually working on 2 acres.

total of the family farm is about 70 acres.

he works full time, and farms and works when he comes home from his job. I stay home with our kids, we have 3 children, the youngest is 2, so it’s a big job.

So are you following a book or plan. 

Do you want me to talk about how we got here from Louisville and the photography?


I met, Brian, I met him in Louisville when I was in culinary school, we got married here in Elizabeth town, we moved onto the farm that we

So after my daughter was born, I wanted to take really great pictures of my kids, I learned photography, I met amazing people, I went to workshops and started a photography business, taught myself photoshop, started to do graphic design, until recently when I stopped farming to focus on my two year old! He’s a big handful!

Wow! So you met in culinary school and what’s that like? Do you pick a topic like poultry or cakes?

I was studying baking and pastry, when we moved here, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity in a small town for me to do that. Our kids came pretty quickly after we got married. That’s what led me to photography. 

How did you start that? I love taking pictures.

I just decided that was what I really wanted to do. I really could see the impact of photography what it had on people to see pictures of their kids.

What kind of pictures like school shots? 

babies and children and family sessions….

Like Christmas?


Just general sessions, family photos, when people needed pictures taken of their kids. A lot of outdoor natural light photography, natural lighting photography! It was really fun, I’m a really visual person, I love photography and now I take a lot of flowers and farm stuff I enjoy that too. nice have


I know that it’s kind of a strange transition

we have always gardened for many years, we’ve really enjoyed it. I was gonna tell you about when we first moved we lived on his grandfather’s farm! He  was a farmer not an organic gardener. And we asked for a row. He had a huge garden it was immaculate and perfect. We were gonna garden organically and he was like I DK about that. We were both working at the time and our row, it was the saddest row in the middle of his immaculate garden because we were both working full time. 

When we moved we kept it up. But we really love farming… my husband’s grandfather  was a farmer. It’s a legacy to us. My husband works full time, but we’d both like to be farming full time.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

We growing up in Louisville, we lived in the city, we almost had a mini-urban farm, my dad had chickens, and he raised rabbits for both meat and sale. And we had ducks. He had set out a garden all the time. That was like my first experience. 

I remember one year him and my grandfather had grown raspberries and they grew strawberries. That was one of my first memories of them planting the patch and us eating them. 

I have one sister. She’s an anti-veggie person… she loves bacon  and ranch. 

Does she have kids, wait till she has kids?

She has kids. And they eat healthiest food

How did you learn how to garden organically?

My dad has always gardened organically

really it was kind of a thing of what not to do. here everybody is commercial farming and they’re always spraying. We would be outside playing in the yard, they’d be commercial farming very close to us, we‘d have to tell the kids you have to come in and if we’d be eating on the patio and they’d be spraying

We knew we wanted to do it differently, we wanted to try and grow organically. And I knew I wanted my kids to be able to go out and pick a cherry tomato.

sometimes I forget that there is any other way.

something they’ve been doing for so long

he’d come over and inspect the garden and be like “I wouldn’t do it like that…” haha

when we garden we almost have to take …my husband basically … everything that he’s been taught and do it differently

that’s not the way he’s

Tell us about something that grew well last year?

Our peas did super great, that we had to shell…

I think that we had gotten them planted early enough, which is always the challenge here in Kentucky. Because  it’s always wet and raining, the weather is not cooperating enough for you to to till and prepare. we got them in the ground, it was cool enough because once the hot weather hits they sort of go.

When do you have to plant in Kentucky. The more of the first season is aspa. as soon as we can get in the town. d

the mark of when the frost is going,

first Saturday in May, April if we can, whenever we can work the ground

Honest to goodness Poppies

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

I am really interested in trying to do perennials as possible and fall planting. we have plenty of room, I would like to do a large amount of tulips as cut flowers. I’m a little rose obsessed. I know they’re challenging.

cuts hydrangea, stuff,

I think the thing is your constantly fighting disease

I’ve got some roses through a company called Heirloom

most you buy are grafted

these are on their own roots,

that’s supposed to help with the disease issue

spraying with the safer soap

trying to do whatever I can to keep them nice and healthy

pretty much

4-5 inches of compost that we got last year, from lexington where they

so its awesome compost.

OK, well well be looking in the Facebook group. When you were talking about peas were those edible peas or sweet peas? Those picks yesterday were edible peas right?

Honest To Goodness Farms Sweet Peas

These are edibles, sweet pea flowers

tiny little stems,

I direct seeded them, I did transplanted them,….

it’s so iffy with our weather…it gets really hot here. our soil is

it goes into what happened last year….

renegotiated the least

able to take back the

we wanted to grow food,

compost brought in

got everything planted

we didn’t

it was pretty much a total fail

stunted cucumbers

it did not work out very well

did plant a huge row of Johnny’s butterfly mix and beneficial mix

I was able to make bouquets for friends family

it was just the bright spot

not having everything go like we had planned.

What was it that stunted the cucumbers.

we had had a ton of rain…so that was not something we considered

where we planted, had poor drainage

idk if it has anything to do with the fact that it’s been farmed commercially and sprayed.

IDK if it had anything to do with that. The soil’s not the best, it’s kind of clay, we did try to amend it.

It was kind of strange

we’ve grown in a plot up closer to our house but when we got to the commercially farmed land it was totally different story


So we had to make some changes at the end of the season

  • we did some cover cropping
  • we added more compost

normally we would do ….

  • thatch to cover

flowers are now on that piece of land. 

growing really well

it really taught us a lot, idk why it did that? We just had to move stuff around a little bit

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

I really do not like weeding… I know most people say that, but for me especiallyI do not like to be still, Im constantly moving, the mental fortitude that it takes to weed doesn’t work for me. 

we’re using


come by

a huge load of raw wood chips and we’re using them. I’m sure we’re gonna come across some pest issues, maybe slugs and I’ve heard there are something called ear wigs really don’t have, but I think we might those especially around the dahlias

w’er using natural ways to try to keep the weeds away, 

I think one of the big themes of my show has been soil health and I think you guys sound like your trying so hard to improve your environments. I think they say it takes 3 years officially to turn a place that has had chemicals and pesticides, and if this is your second year, one more year before you get there. I think the wood chips will help and it will certainly keep the weeding down. I just went out and took pics of my weeds that are growing. Its really been amazing!

Honest To Goodness Ladybug

We’d never seen lady bugs before and in hat patch that we had planted last year it has come back and there is beautiful yellow coreopsis and even the new stuff I planted this year is covered in lady bugs os it’s just amazing to see this stuff out there and it works, its’ really been helpful for us

changing for us

part of the process

it’s not always easy but it’s worth it!

Clover Field at Honest To Goodness Farms

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?

I love photographing things… that’s been really fun, I want to share what we’re doing and how things are going. Every morning I walk out with my coffee and take  a look and check and see what’s changed and what’s blooming and I also I really enjoy harvesting too!

What is the best gardening advice you have  ever received?

This was a hard question for me, we’ve been getting a lot of advice. And most of it is not what what we want to do. Most of it is from 

especially not what we want to do

extended family

you need to bush hog that, or you need to do this or you need to  spray with this. But we get research from our books etc and we’re just trying to keep and do organic practices

not what is typically done around here, and typically done in the extended family and we’re just turing to do our own thing!

I think that’s great and you gonna find. One of my very first guests Ladonna Kinnick said she was in a very commercial area and the farmers were tellling her this is not gonna work and that’s not gonna work and then they were like how come you don’t have any mosquitos and how come your stuff is coming out so nice? And the commercial farmers that were laughing at her in the beginning. And it’s hard.  And L:Iz Carlisle’s wrote this book called the Lentil Underground but she asked why do we if we know that this produces the best crops and crop rotations is important and mixing green cover crops are the best practices why aren’t we doing it and she was surprised to see home much an affect social pressure was having… if you on’t spray near the wate. It didn’t have anything to do without the science. the were worried but.

I agree it’s really fear based

sued to doing food a certain way, when you livelihood is on the line it’s a really touchy thing.

it’s really fear based

they are so used to doing things a certain way

there’s fear there that its not gonna go

especially when your lively

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?


I really like the stirrup hoe and my husband likes the wheel hoe

We also have this tool it loops and edges and we use it all the time

I also get what

The basic garden tool… made in the USA can get it on amazon… we use it all the time!

I’m 5”1’

I get really well made wood and solid metal kids garden tools and those are really helpful to me. I probably sound silly

when your short

all of this stuff is taller then me and hard to use!

I’ve been thinking lately why doesn’t Apple make a different phone for women and men, and to expect me and my husband to use the same size phone is crazy. I am adapting to my new phone.

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

What we always make every year, when the tomatoes come in , is just

  • sliced tomato
  • fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

I think that is the most recommended recipe on my show. I grew up in NY and my mom gets the fresh mozzarella balls from the Italian cheese store mmm…

the simple things ….

A favorite internet resource?

The flower farmer Facebook group.

really helpful people to answer your questions and that’s been really good.

Bare Mountain Farms Website

Bare Mountain Farms their blog has been really great

they’re doing a no-till practice which is what we are trying to transition

they’re doing flowers that way it’s interesting to read their posts. 

They were my New Years guests Tony and Denise Gaetz in Episode 110!

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

I really love YouTube.

Floret Flower Farm

I like Florets blog too. I really like Youtube because I’m visual person if I can see a video instead of reading a book.

The Market Gardener Jean-Martin FortierWe just got JM Fortier, the Market Gardeners Toolkit

it’s a documentary

live action version of the book

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 have had not much to sell, my farther is selling starts,

I haven’t had much in yet,

it’s our first year…

we’ve had some luck selling to people directly on Facebook…

Honest to Goodness Farms and Flowers

Honest to Goodness Farm and Flowers on Facebook

people would come and pick it up kind of like a farm stand sort of thing, we’ve been selling that way.

That might be a good idea for people, I guess Jacqueline Freeman from Washington said something similar. 

I have really big hopes for this year, everything looks good, ti’s hard to talk about this 

I’m just trying to do this, we are working with poor soil, farming and gardening is no an instant gratification thing. I have really big hope for this year, everything looks good fingers crossed.

i think you’ve been very inspirational today, and you talk about family members who don’t really know what your doing and your kids. it’s kind of like podcasting it’s a marathon not a sprint, 

you mentioned some great resources Denise and Tony from Bare Mountain Farms and Floret and they’re great resources for growing flowers. I like the way your focusing 

You know Mandy Gerth was like my Gardening CrossFit Hall of Famer, she said she moved her from Ohio or Indian and she said people in Montana don’t realize how having that cooler weather keeps a lot of those pests at bay. Sorry, I’be been working like crazy haven’t gotten much sleep today!


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?

Well, I really thought about this, I want to tell people, be the change you want to see,

support local business and local farms

even if it’s just pots on the patio,

you don’t have to go out and get miracle grow, don’t have to do the stuff that’s being told to you, you can be the change that you want to see by voting with your wallet and growing your own organic food. I know it’s expensive to buy but if you grow it there’s so much satisfaction by planting a seed and having that create something

it’s really great for your kids! It’s so important to know where you food comes from, when our kids could run out in the field and shell a pea, to see them eat it out in the fields…

and the kids love to be in the garden, sometimes….

Right as long as they’re not being asked to weed;)

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

The fear, the thing there’s some fear, move past it and give it a try! Be prepared to fail, because its all part of the process, but we are not giving up and you shouldn’t  give up either! Even if it’s starting small and make it manageable and do what you can, raised beds are super easy to do, pots on your patio, herbs for your cooking and it’s fun and it’s simple to do and it’s rewarding!

How do we connect with you?

We do, we’re at honesttogoodnessfarms.com and we’re on intersect at honest to goodness farms! 

Do you have any photographer for people. 

when you put them in a clean environment.  use my phone a ton and sometimes I use my real camera. Usually the camera that you have with you is the best. IF you can put it in a clear background. If you can really focus in and get close. That will help the eye. Sometimes they’re just an old piece of plywood. It’s really all about texture. Having that flower with textured background helps a lot it makes for a pretty presentation. 

Have you heard of the rule of 1/3s?


So if you think of a tick tack board, where it’s gonna cross, those are the points of visual interest

Instagram already has you in a square. 

not in the center

everything needs to be off centered…

tick-tac-toe board across there, where the lines intersect… that’s where you want to place the focal point of what’s dead center. Does that make sense. 

Like on a tick tack toe board….

Let me see if I can draw it out. Think about drawing a tick tack toe grid, think of the Instagram square, where the lines connect, that is where you want to put the focal point of your photo, maybe place the flower in the bottom left corner.

Oh, I get it now. 

That is what is more pleasing to your eye. They didn’t center us at all, they took our picture and didn’t center us. But centering doesn’t look visual pleasing to the eye

There might be a setting, you might be able to turn on the grid

you can see it when they line up, normally if it’s a person right between their eyes is where lines are intersecting. 

IDK, it seems like they intersect in the middle but there are those 4 points maybe where they do intersect. 

Honest To Goodness Farm Blog

I want to encourage everyone to go to her blog, and there are nice pictures up there!

Honest To Goodness Farm and Flowers.com

Honest to Goodness Farm and Flowers 

We have some weeds, but I’ll continue to take pics anyway.

I think the iPhone 6 helps me post pictures. My big problem is the files are HUGE!!!

I still have the old phone but my husband has the iPhone 6 and it’s the video for him. He takes a minute a half and it stops, part of the problem.

they’re high quality, amazing photos, 

Another tip, take your pictures early morning or an hour before sunset, that’s refered to as the golden hour, that’s best time to take photos, you wouldn’t want the shadows of mid day. The light is really great … you don’t want direct shadows … morning right before sunset … cloudy day, will will work like a soft box…. So those are great days too!

Tahnks for sharing with us today!

Well, I had fun!


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