227. The Vegetable Gardening Show | Vegetable Gardening For the Average Person & Seeds of the Month Club | Mike Podlesny | Burlington, NJ


About the Host

Mike the Gardener Enterprises was founded by Michael Podlesny, a 3rd generational home vegetable gardener and published author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person, who has been vegetable gardening himself for nearly 40 years. Mike`s vegetable gardening tips and tricks have been featured in newspapers, magazines and blogs around the world. He has also appeared on ABC and NBC talking about vegetable gardening and Mike the Gardener`s Seeds of the Month Club

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Be sure to tune in weekly to Mike`s Vegetable Gardening Podcast, where he interviews the experts in the gardening industry to bring you the best tips, tricks and techniques, so you will have your most bountiful harvest yet.

Mike Podlesny is the host of the award winning gardening program, The Vegetable Gardening Show where he interviews gardening industry experts to bring you the best gardening tips possible. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on  Twitter,  InstagramPinterest and Facebook.

Michael C. Podlesny The Vegetable Gardener Show

Vegetable Gardening For The Average Person: A Guide To Vegetable Gardening For The Rest Of Us




Tell us a little about yourself and your amazing channels and things! You have a lot of things going on!

Too much at times

Obviously gardening is my big passion I have been doing it now for 40 years

led to the website

I started the show as a podcast where it was audio only and like you you get to bring guests on and then it grew from there

about almost 2 years ago we started the youtube channel for the vegetable gardening show doing some basic tutorials, and with advancement of tech we were talking about affair made it easier to do the interview and it’s comes out as a video as well

I love it! 

We do 3 shows a week.

love talking to other people about gardening it’s a big passion of mine! 

It is amazing! That you’ve been able to do all that. For me just keeping my podcast going and doing the interviews is tough! So congratulations on putting out all that content! 3 shows a week! Wow!

I got this Podcast Workbook and it says to go to Google Trends and it says that the majority of people are googling or searching for garden beds, or raised beds, or raised garden beds! In the top 10 out of 15 searches?! That surprised me to learn this weekend.

That’s interesting – raised beds, I guess it is and it isn’t

Some people would do raised beds because someone told them to do it

other people where you are

Here in NJ

 we have clay soil

garden in the first season

  • inexpensively you can build up
  • compost
  • topsoil

things like that

overall as a trend it’s interesting to learn.

To be honestly IDK if that’s my site, I was looking at teaching later when I wasn’t logged into the organic gardener podcast and nothing came up at all for gardening so maybe it’s just my site.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

When I say 40 years the first 10 of those I was just a wee little kid. I got it from my dad

started about 5-6 years old my earliest recolection before that my dad said I would just play in the dirt, sort of that as a kid that’s a good place to start. 

I just remember growing a few things, radishes, my dad was picking them 30 days later as a kid I remember that’s a quick win

I’ve been doing it ever since then every year I would learn a little more from him

married in my own house and picked up basically half my property is a garden and the other quarter is chickens is a whole other topic

I love growing different things

Maybe you do this as well, you have a certain number of things you grow every year

learn new techniques whether it’s a new vegetable or vegetable variety. That’s what I love is that no 2 gardening seasons are the same

over the 40 years that’s my expereinces. That’s my quick recap

That’s true. My husband Mike his goal is to grow enough food that we really love to eat like potatoes and green beans and broccoli, he grew these heirloom purple radishes he never grew before and also some fava beans as a cover crop he never grew before so it’s true no two seasons are alike and I think that’s hopeful for listeners who are like you and could talk gardening all day long!

What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?

It’s interesting when people hear organic, they think of this process where they are basically planting stuff and you don’t do anything and look at it and hope it grows! To me it’s sort of what everybody is doing at home anyway


most synthetic fertilizers are using natural techniques for weeding – whether your handpicking, or using from JM Fortier – the cover tarp

  • not using a lot of things to disturb the soil
  • no synthetics
  • pest control you want to
  • plant a lot of different
  • ecosystem

works in harmony with one another

that sounds impossible

I’ve talked to guests who were able to do it in one season

get that eco-system built up

grow food because you want to eat it


take to our local food pantry

We want to safe and healthy for those around us

You’ll never see me label it as organic and you really can’t because there is a  certification

comfortable when 

I love that answer, I’ve been trying to define my niche in my podcast, I just keep coming back to that building an organic oasis, building an ecosystem, caring about your environment,  it’s about more then just caring about your vegetables, I was just making an outro, if you want your neighbors to plant like you do, reach out to your local community or college radio station.

I think my listeners are gonna love what you’re saying you’re dropping tons of golden seeds! I want to hear about JM Fortier’s technique.

This was a fascinating technique

I was doing an on location show at Kranzhill Farm which is in Deleware

John Detwiler

He was giving me a tour of the farm

He runs I think it’s 3 acres

takes these big black tarps

occultation covers – that’s what he calls them 

  • They allow water to go through the tarp
  • water and air but not sunlight
  • lay this tarp out
  • water, air is allowed in so all the weed seeds germinate
  • surface of the dirt after they break down
  • no sun, they end up dying

really clean way of getting rid of

organic farm

no tilling

did some more research on it


I invited JM Fortier he is not the pioneer of this technique but he gets the most credit because he put it in his book Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming. 

It explains exactly how to use it

saw it alive

  • saw this field
  • pulled the tarp off of
  • completely clean
  • then he plants
  • more of the weed seeds
  • plants are so big
  • shadow out

It was an absolutely amazing technique!

You’re probably not gonna use it if you have a couple of 4×4 raised beds it might not make sense to put that time and effort in!

If you have a 1/4 acre or more

  • large
  • beds garden beds

its a great technique

I forget he’s out of Montreal or Toronto – one of those two cities

highly recommend it

I have read that book like 3-4 times and I still haven’t got a full grasp of it all. I was thinking of doing a study guide. I want to say he’s in between Montreal or Toronto. I interviewed him a few years ago, and he is by far the most donwloaded. 

But I think it’s like you said, he’s out there educating people and he’s just passionate about growing a lot of food in a small area and teaching people and my listeners are that kind of person who have a whole backyard garden etc.

My listeners

They have really big gardens and have been gardening for along time for the most part! Although I’m getting new listeners all the time so who knows?

Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?

It actually started with my grandfather

grandparents were origianlly from Poland. My grandfateehr was a coal miner and when thye shut it down he moved to NJ which is hwere I ‘, from. 

His technuiques when he was gardening I would just watch him, that’s how they did it wasn’t called organic

he had great tasting everything so why wouldn’t I do it that way and my dad was the same way!

  • they would do basic gardneing
  • rows and columns,
  • no fertilizers they would

my dad loved to fish!

The only fertilizer they put in their garden was the fish waste that he caught

really good soil with that!

learning more

I realized

  • it’s ok to plant a lot of flowers
  • learning
  • building on that just a lot of the things

yeah, brought me to today with a lot of things that I would do.

So fish waste, if listeners are worried about putting fish waste in the compost? Because my mom gets raccoons or rabbits, she’s over where you are on Long Island do you have any recommendations for listeners on how to not worry about pests getting into your compost etc? Did he bury it, I know someone talked about the 3 sisters thing.

What he would do is actually bury deep holes just put it all in a hole and burry it.

We’re in trenton

we had oppossoms.

a raccoon was rare

in the city

didn’t have a whole lot of that

south of trenton now

more raccoons and foxes

I like to do,


people can protect

fish waste in a t

other things I’m gonna bury trench composting thing I put a piece of fencing over the top of it

That works for me

I did it without the fence and they dug up my hole the next morning.

so I put a piece of fencing over the top

technique for about 4-5 years

Once the

  • raccoons,
  • fox
  • possums

figure out the fence I’m in trouble.

What happened at our house is the chickens and squirrels jump over the fence, but that’s different your talking about fence like netting laying on top right? That’s actually what Mike does to keep the rooster out of our regular garden. 


Tell us about something that grew well this year.

This year! I’ll tell you what ~ It’s been phenomenal!

Strawberries are amazing I’m picking maybe a pint of strawberries

4×4 bed of strawberries

I just have been getting a ton

The interesting thing is the birds are snacking on them too

strawberries amazing this year!

only thing

asparagus is just ok, not phenomenal


kale I always do well with every year – this year I’m doing no different with the kale

kohlrabi from Mike

The great crop ~ kohlrabi

part of the cabbage family

Looks sort of like a small cabbage

looking in amazement I don’t think I’ve ever grown a crop so nice

eventually half to do it! I need to take pictures of it for a week

8 of those and they are within 2 – 3 days before I can really pick them. 

kind of what’s right now


  • will be tomatoes
  • peppers stills small
  • haven’t had a lot heat, once the heat kicks in. 
  • The cucumbers have started up the trellises so soon.

My mom has had a lot of rain… have you had a lot of rain?

rain is the bad 4 letter word

raining over the weekends

You work all week and then the weekend is to get everything done

Yesterday was nice, it’s pouring outside

On the flip side she said then it gets really hot, I’m a little nervous cause I’m headed to NY on Tuesday, what the weather’s gonna be like. 


I just did a blog post on kohlrabi, I was writing up looking at a Martha Stewart post you can do almost anything with that because someone was asking how the heck do you cook that? Soups, and putting in stews, raw, on salads. 

Yeah! One of the ways I was gonna consume – one is put it in a stew I like to make

eat it raw chopped up in a salad with the kale I’m growing

If I went online and typed in kohlrabi recipes I’m sure i’d get exotic recipes etc. 



I wanted to ask you, but what kind of kale are you growing, because IDK where I picked it up but Kale has like 10 times the nutrients of spinach?!  Maybe not 10 but it is so much more nutritious. I found I like Lucinto Kale in the store better and we also had kale come back from last year, it seemed like that was a big tip for me to come up in the spring?!


I have 2 kinds going

red Russian

curly leaves you mentioned but has a reddish tint to it

not really red but that’s the best way to describe

went to the store and bought kale they would probably hate it.

The kale home grown and tasted

  • better flavor
  • anything else to it
  • better when you grow it at home

To cook recipes

  • raw
  • sauté a lot of it
  • eggs
  • chickens that we get

Talking about planting in the fall, harvesting in the spring

left over red Russian kale seeds

Put in

  • sept
  • oct

coming up

let them go through the winter

not touch anything see what happens

You had contact with long island and know it was really cold this winter

We got a ton of snow

I was getting nervous

that season passed

WINTER Surviver

  • all just popped right back up
  • tasted amazing!
  • I thought thought that winter
  • take your advice
  • get some gardening done
  • season like ours
  • spring
  • plant some kale

I was so surprised I was like why is everyone so into kale because I don’t really like the taste of it, but this spring it was so good! Mike keeps laughing at me because I keep putting the flowers in bouquets I feel like they make the irises pop!

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

this year,


Burpee seeds sent me a couple of different hybrid seeds to try out

Atlas Beefsteak Tomato

2lb tomato

just amazing

This particular hybrid is to be grown is to be grown specifically in a container on a patio

I thought I’ll take that challenge, I have 3 of them growing.

very healthy right now

good month away

see if we can get the 2lbs they said it could grow


confetti peppers

around a little while

smaller peppers

but they are gonna be all different kinds of colors at the same time

Looking forward to growing them!

never grown either

new to me!

  • 5 of those pepper plants
  • 12 inches tall
  • hasn’t been hot enough to take off

Usually mid July they double in size every day so I am not concerned about them

I love tomatoes and peppers!!!

You could probably make a whole pizza or tomato sauce, jar of salsa from one tomato! I guess, I just keep thinking boy it’s gonna be heavy!

I had concerns with having too much contact with myself with somebody at Burpee

too much assistance

I want to do it on my own see if I can do it

doesn’t have the man power

I want to be able to do it and tell people you really don’t need assistance because it’s gonna work this way!

stake and already propping them up, I imagine if you don’t do something it’s gonna damage the plant.

I think this is awesome, a lot of my listeners are interested in Urban gardening so something they can grow in a container or on their apartment what’s that thing called? (duh! Balcony?~)

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

I thought it under control the rabbits got me again this year. 

I planted some swiss chard

  • 9 beautiful plants started from seed
  • fenced in

2 baby rabbits made it in! They had a field day with what used to be my swiss chard

low ligt

too many setbacks

I used to have a dog that would keep the rabbits in check as far as he was fierce towards little rodents as far as those that came in the zone.

he would protect my garden! 

I have another dog and he is the friendly, happiest dog so he probably plays with them!


thought I had it, because I thought I found the hole and every year I put fencing up around my beds

  • really good job with my beds
  • found their way in
  • get into the smallest crevices
  • swiss chard plants

we had


Critters is a huge problem, last year Mike planted me these beautiful giant massive brocolli plants, and these squirrels just pooped all over it. Idk, I didn’t eat any of it, because I was afraid, I think I ate too many things about manure too soon and I thought I can’t eat this just popped on but couldn’t I have boiled it. 


Last year, Mike planted this mini-farm and put straw down and we got voles, so we got 3 cats last summer! 


  • IDK where these cats came from
  • we had these stray cats
  • cat had a littler
  • dropped this
  • appeared out of nowhere
  • cats
  • 4-5 cats
  • roaming around
  • mole problem
  • moles everywhere
  • kept in check
  • rabbit problem
  • hawks come in
  • different predators
  • rodents
  • cats were picked up
  • moved to the shelter
  • hawks didn’t
  • more then I’ve seen
  • bad as it was 7-8 years ago
  • every other year its weird
  • ground hog move in
  • appear out of nowhere
  • lives under the shed
  • 20 miles away drop off in the forest
  • only one way to get rid of them
  • trap them
  • take them away
  • every 2 years
  • ground hog probably the worst problem but it’s not a huge problem

We’ve had a skunk problem, it might have been a badger, that got his cat and one of our ducks. Mike managed to get rid of it by boxing it in and then finally let it out and closed it up and it never came back.

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

free organic garden course.com


Good Seed Company Seeds

The Good Seed Company

Now Let’s Get to the Root of Things!

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

I would say,

one of the tasks I personally dislike

pre-garden season clean up

grow to the end

don’t move anything

looks unsightly

leave it in there

reason behind that

don’t want to leave beds with erosion

weed seeds

following year

have to clean all that up

lot of work

sizable area

once I get that cleaned up

gardening season kicks in

excitement comes back

spacing time out

I think

it’s tough to do

rain and bad weather

flip side of that

space out what I needed to get done

way it worked out

ten minutes today pouring

got it all done in the time frame


more going forward

a couple hours this day

do a half hour

morning before heading off to the office

good an bad with that



birds come-strawberries

if you can get strawberries to grow

animals do love them

great in my garden

this year

Im getting a lot

growing a lot in general

birds taking their share

dirty dozen

get the most spray

pests and insects


love strawberries

attempt to grow

blackberry bushes

doing pretty good

hundreds and thousands

so many on bushes this year

notice if they take any

a lot can happen

30 days

What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?



favorite activity

after everything is in

sort of self sustaining

not doing a whole lot

looking at the garden

seeing the work

looking at it is all worth it

like when you can harvest

prize at the end

step back lush and green


way you had mapped it out

did more planning this year in years past

growing different things

better then I had on the paper I planned

take a walk around feed the chickens



I live on a half acre


Burlington NJ

fruit trees half the property

chickens and shed

garden tools

not large like you have

intensive gardening

square foot gardening to grow a lot

yield on the size of things

if I was up


play in the yard

I would recommend if you want to get chickens

don’t over think it

versatile creatures

good housing



town ordinances

chicken craze sweeping


not allow you to have rooster

2-3 love it!

lot of fun!

don’t over think it

tough creatures

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

Man! Great questions!

don’t over think gardening


I had

spoke with Joe Lamp’l

I spoke with him on my show as well

great tips he gave me

if you go to a forest

no one is maintaining the forest

you can do a lot of work to make it look nice

if you just let it go

it will just go

try not to over think it

it will be successful


a lot of times

I will do my gardening

get that right

plants are probably gonna grow


great climate

garden state

research that


never get super hot like in

bitter coldness

pretty fortunate in that sense

joe Lamp’l

it’s gonna grow

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 have a

my favorite tool to use is the garden tiller

chicken pen to loosen up the soil

compost it out

pick one tool


used by my grandfather who gave it to my dad

keep it in my shed

keep it sharp

turing over my compost pile

turning over ra garden bed

let it rest for a year

heirloom and sentimental value

A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?

another great one

a lot you could do

not even cooking

look forward to

taking that first beefsteak

cutting nice slice

tomato cheese and mayo sandwich and a little bit of salt

every year with the first b

not a chef


A favorite internet resource?

you have a great show

if you’re looking

savvy gardening always have great info

raised beds

growing flowers

pest control




JM Fortier

good source

someone who took JM Fortier


Curtis Stone

if you listen to his story

scaling down right now

he will garden on his own property and on other people’s property

market gardening

stuff off and sell it


joe lamp

growing a greener world

Funny about him

beginnings of him getting started


got laid off from his job

started doing this

deliver the vegetables on his bike

go to his youtube


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

a magazine

mother earth news

really weird

look at magazine

mother earth news

lot of different things



nervous to get into

preserving food

should I eat this

good info in there

good book

I just read a good book by Chris Mc

Heirloom flowers

sense it kind of does

get home gardeners to grow more native flowers

fantastic book


different variety of flowers


really good

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?

If you’re looking to sell your produce

new services out there

fortunate to interview one


Veggie Vinder


Selling produce

what you want to sell

buyers to

community based thing

veggie vinder


Seed Voyager

connect growers of food

based out of Canada

new apps

for everything

in my area


markets to sell


look for those in your area

set up your own stand if your town allows it


California is big on that

stands of everything

seed voyager

veggie vinder

set up a stand

Sam Lillie

young millennial has so much energy

exactly reactions

talking to him

how excited to him

both those guys

they took a concept

after you hear it

why didn’t 

plug their services

believe what they

cost of lettuce

see that here with the herbs

small pack of basil

ten years then you ever need

take the time

herbs in pots


neighbor and not even

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?

If I had the power to make that kind of change

piggy back on what we were talking about

48 million people gardening right now in the US alone

exponential take it globally

everybody grew just one extra row of food

doesn’t matter

donated it to your local food pantry


collects food

amount of hunger you would stamp out

better nutrition

would get

go to the food pantry

canned food


tremendous amount of giving

not the most healthiest food

homegrown food

go along way

better health for

people who need it


two small kids

gardening in schools

don’t want it taught in schools for a wide range

community come together

to implement a school garden


k-2 area

school garden

take what they learn



measure between spacing

learn that type of stuff

kids now

future when they get older

add to more gardening

as you know

my one passion

is trying to get as many people growing their own food as possible

long way in

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


3 tips

if you’ve never gardened

start small

grow something you know you will eat

if you don’t like

one tip

nobody ever really thought of

keep your garden in site

kitchen is the room

see your small garden

it goes a long way

keeps it top of mind

see it I am more likely to attend to it

3 tips

audience members who want to start a garden

keep it in site


get started

love it!

How do we connect with you?

best way to get a hold of me

average person gardeing.com/podcast



fb veggie gardening

any means

get a hold

Seeds of the month club


we run a seeds of the month

4 packs of seeds

based where you grow

sign up

8 packs first month

every month there after

don’t know what you’re gonna get

based on customers

allows us to buy the seeds in bulk

something you can grow


people like that

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