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
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, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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.
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!
- it’s ok to plant a lot of flowers
- 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
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!
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!
asparagus is just ok, not phenomenal
kale I always do well with every year – this year I’m doing no different with the kale
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
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
- sauté a lot of it
- chickens that we get
Talking about planting in the fall, harvesting in the spring
left over red Russian kale seeds
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
- all just popped right back up
- tasted amazing!
- I thought thought that winter
- take your advice
- get some gardening done
- season like ours
- 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?
Burpee seeds sent me a couple of different hybrid seeds to try out
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
around a little while
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
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
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
- 4-5 cats
- roaming around
- mole problem
- moles everywhere
- kept in check
- rabbit problem
- hawks come in
- different predators
- 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.
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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
leave it in there
reason behind that
don’t want to leave beds with erosion
have to clean all that up
lot of work
once I get that cleaned up
gardening season kicks in
excitement comes back
spacing time out
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
if you can get strawberries to grow
animals do love them
great in my garden
Im getting a lot
growing a lot in general
birds taking their share
get the most spray
pests and insects
attempt to grow
doing pretty good
hundreds and thousands
so many on bushes this year
notice if they take any
a lot can happen
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?
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
fruit trees half the property
chickens and shed
not large like you have
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
chicken craze sweeping
not allow you to have rooster
2-3 love it!
lot of fun!
don’t over think it
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
Man! Great questions!
don’t over think gardening
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
never get super hot like in
pretty fortunate in that sense
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
someone who took JM Fortier
if you listen to his story
scaling down right now
he will garden on his own property and on other people’s property
stuff off and sell it
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?
mother earth news
look at magazine
mother earth news
lot of different things
nervous to get into
should I eat this
good info in there
I just read a good book by Chris Mc
sense it kind of does
get home gardeners to grow more native flowers
different variety of flowers
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
what you want to sell
community based thing
connect growers of food
based out of Canada
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
set up a stand
young millennial has so much energy
talking to him
how excited to him
both those guys
they took a concept
after you hear it
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
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
donated it to your local food pantry
amount of hunger you would stamp out
go to the food pantry
tremendous amount of giving
not the most healthiest 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
take what they learn
measure between spacing
learn that type of stuff
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?
if you’ve never gardened
grow something you know you will eat
if you don’t like
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
audience members who want to start a garden
keep it in site
How do we connect with you?
best way to get a hold of me
average person gardeing.com/podcast
fb veggie gardening
get a hold
Seeds of the month club
we run a seeds of the month
4 packs of seeds
based where you grow
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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