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Episode 78: Frugal Green Girl | Mom, Educator and YouTube Gardening Pro | Northern Colorado
Jamie Todek who was on episode 72 recommended as her resource the Frugal Green Girl on YouTube and so I immediately reached out and today we are here with none other then YouTube Gardening and Natural Lifestyle Expert the Frugal Green Girl! With over 7,900 subscribers & 940,366 views she’s a true internet sensation! I asked her in the pre-interview if she was a science major because she really goes into detail as to the whys and specifics not just how you do things and the reasons behind it with very thorough explanations!
Tell us a little about yourself.
So I’m a wife and a mom, I have a couple of kids that I homeschool. I also have a mostly work from home job, as a rental manager. 14 years ago I spent a year at a local community college studying plant and greenhouse sciences, which is also known as horticulture which gave me a good foundation.
house on a tenth of an acre
started a little urban homestead
few years ago, I decided to start a youtube blog and it’s also been tons of fun.
I was also telling another guest this morning, that a lot of my listeners have been reaching out to me from urban gardeners so I think they will like this as well.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
I did grow up in Colorado. My very first gardening experience was a long time ago. I was in an elementary school. My mom cut open a cantaloupe and my brother and I were really curious if the seeds would grow? My brother and I got an old wooden ice cream bucket, strained out some rocks from the soil we planted the seeds in there and they actually grew! It was exciting to have something that would actually grow!
But we were renters and so I had a neighbor thru some spark plugs, and it killed it and it actually didn’t work out so bad because it really gave me a dream to be a home owner someday! I mean even at that young age. And from the beginning I’ve always really enjoyed repurposing things, and saving some things and just aspiring to be a sustainable gardener! That gave me a dream and a goal and the motivation and get what I really wanted out of life! I’m so happy to be a homeowner now! And Have a space of our own! And a space to grow a garden!
Being a home owner is just really nice isn’t it to have a place that’s your own?
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
Beyond just the regular regulations, that the stuff that you grow has to be non-GMO, and pesticide and herbicide and chemical fertizlier free. For me it’s far beyond that, it’s really about a healthy lifestyle, not just for me and my family. But just to good for the environment and helping to take care of our planet, it’s such a beautiful place to live and I feel a social responsibility I realize that the choices we make affect everybody!
that’s water everybody
I want to be more part of the solution then part of the problem. To promote a healthy lifestyle
and organically garden?
I was asking some people what category my podcast should be in on iTunes because its in games and hobbies and that just doesn’t seem right to me. So they asked me and I said it was more of a lifestyle.And Rodale’s just changed their magazine from Organic Gardening to Organic Life.
Also when I just interviewed Jennifer Hill-Hart and she talked about one of the founders of AERO who said AERO was an opportunity for people to live their values… and I think you are a great example of that.I love the way you are teaching people and sharing that on YouTube! Excellent!
Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?
That’s what first started it off
Back in ’08 I lost my grandma, my mom’s mom to breast cancer. Then in ’09 I lost my other grandmother, they linked it back to her picking it up in the hospital. That’s when it hit home, I can’t just take my health for granted, if we’re not diligent about our health and taking it into our own hands. You never know what’s gonna happen in life, so I really wanted to take myself seriously. I wanted to start doing everything I can do to stay healthy, and buy organic foods and things when I’m not able to produce my own. Like you were saying it being a lifestyle, while I do grow organically myself I also live in N Colorado where we can’t grow all year, so when I do buy I want to buy organic. So gardening is a fairly cheap hobby, I love it! So yeah, it just makes sense.
How did you learn how to garden organically?
You know when I first started gardening, I didn’t really decide it was organic. I just didn’t use any kind of chemicals, I just didn’t feel right about it, and I wasn’t sure what was in them. I didn’t want to use something, I didn’t really know what it was. I just grow that way. I don’t think it’s really even necessary to use all these pesticides and herbicides and all these things people use. The plants were a part of nature and have been a part of nature for so long, they really know how to live and survive and thrive on their own. I just started that way from the beginning. When I did have a few issues along the way, I would just look on the internet for a solution, and through trial and error I figured out what worked!
In this morning’s episode 77 with Bob Quinn from Quinn Organic Farms, was talking about how profitable organic farming was and how many 100,000s of dollars he saved and he is helping converting others
Do you want to tell us about that? How organic saves you money?
It saves a lot of money you don’t have to buy all the stuff.
Most people would consider a smaller yard, definitely it saves a lot of money
in the spring I also produce seedlings, and there’s a huge market for that right now. It’s really difficult wher they grow
where they routinely
even when I was back in college they told us you have to do this or your
you’re gonna end up with infestations
When I built my own greenhouse I was on a mission
good enough at selling my seedlings
I’m always flooded with people coming to get them!
there aren’t a lot of solutions for home gardeners.
The big box stores.
I just set up a little sun shade in my driveway and post it on Craigslist and people come! Yeah it’s great!
I told my husband for years I thought that would be easier because it wouldn’t take
UYou don’t need a big greenhouse, my little one that is attached to my house 4×10
I give them away to my friends and sell hundreds more to the public
stack em a little higher, you can make small s
When do you start your starts?
I start them on a little bit of a schedule, peppers, tomatoes about ten weeks out.
I have a scheudle for when I like to transplant them, and when I add other plants.
You don’t want to start everything all at oncem, or some things will get to big! and it’s taken some trial and error to gicure out what times work good.
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
Sure, you know I had a really good this year
Lots of other Colorado gardeners struggled a little bit
I achieved a good balance in the past I’ve always grown a little to much of something
We grew what we use the most
Many things did well, I’d say bey far the best crop I’ve had is
because I use tons of tomatoes cuz I love canning them!
Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?
Something I would like to do differently next year is maybe control the spider mites better. This year, I noticed a few of them in the spring, I kind of ignored them hoping it wouldn’t be a big issue
so next year I’m gonna try to be more diligent
The main thing they attached this year would be the beans, pole and bush beans, do spread to tomatoes and eggplants and everything but mainly for me the beans!
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
The beans, wish I could have grown more. As gardeners we’re resilient!
I’ve been excited about what I’m gonna do next year since July!
Something that you find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time.
That can carry carry a lot from one climate to the next, but I think there are some things
summer squash, they’re heavy feeder, want to make sure to give them lots of compost!
lettuce, radishes, tomatoes are very good, I put out a Video earlier this spring (remember to click like when you enjoy the video ;~))
THere’s lots of stuff that you can do
what type of soil you have can determine if you want to put them in their side
extra calcium can help with blossom end rot which a lot of people have problems with.
Carrots are also really easy, kale and swiss chard, spinach, beets, peas, pumpkins
lots of herbs, chives and mint, green onions, cilantro, basil is also another good one!
As far as trees go, apples are really easy
low maintenance, they’re a versatile fruit for those who want to start
I had no idea how fast they would be produce as fast as they are producing! Someone was talking about making some sour cherry apple juice. We have a pie cherry tree and I don’t end up making very many pies with those. I’m excited to see your video, plus I’ve heard a lot of people talking about that this year and also powdery mildew. Got any secrets for that?
My favorite way to get rid of powdery mildew is to use neem oil
mix it with water and spray on your plants. Totally chemical free, and get’s rid of a lot of things
Make a spray, mix it with water. Does that get rid of mites too?
It’s a really garden cure all. Which is nice, you have a nice organic solution that will take care of a few things. Which
I wonder, I have a spider mix that you just mix peppermint extract of oil and water and it gets rid of spiders in the house.
Something you would steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate
For me, one of the hardest things, I found to grow would be corn.
There are so many expert gardeners, that grow fantastic corn here year after year. We end up planting it too early
doesn’t ripen in time. Just things like that.
Especially in a small backyard setting I don’t think corn is a good choice.
As far as trees go, peaches,
there are so many things that can attack them, between the bores and aphids, and a variety of fungal diseases they can get, and it’s just difficult to grow them organically
even the ones I see at my farmers market
Takes a fair amount of time and work
Not to be discouraging.
If you have the time
It’s been one of the most difficult fruit trees.
I’m in zone 5B
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.
I hate weeds. I know a lot of gardeners
when they’re growing everywhere else
feels like its a never ending battle
I’m putting together a spray that uses vinegar, soap, and salt, that helps keep any weeds that growing. I almost have it perfected!
And it’s Natural so there’s nothing that’s gonna pollute! So it’s not like spraying roundup anywhere.
See you are a natural scinetist! I’m inveniting a natural
By far the thing I have taken home from this podcast the most is how toxic lawns are! That people are putting their kids and even their pets on their lawns and how dangerous those weed kilelers are!
other countries have proven that it is carcinogenic.
we seem to turn a blind eye to it.
Why we don’t recognize the other research
I don’t understand
GMO’s also, other countries have banned or at least require labeling
aren’t proving safe.
I’ve had a lot of guests, if you can probe they are definitely not dangerous We’re not gonna wait and find out! You need to prove
assume they’re not and not find out later
when you are talking about people’s health!
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden.
Harvest! Love the harvest that’s what it’s all about! I love letting my kids out and having their fill out there!!
It’s all about the harvest! Getting out and harvesting it all, turning it into something for dinner!
bringing it and
What’s your kids favorites?
probably the tomatoes always plant the
mini peppers and the raspberries!
My grandkids love to eat the carrots I think they think it’s the neatest thing in the world to pull it out of the ground and eat it right there!
Tell us about the best crop you ever grew.
In the spin got 2005,
We bought our house here 11 years ago, in the spring of 05 I planted a bunch of trees, I babied them and in 2010 they started producing some fruit
2012 we were just drowning in fruit!
I didn’t know semi-dwarves could produce so much fruit! It’s really a good problem to have! IT was swonderful I just loved it!
eat, can dehydrate!
They don’t take a lot of maintenance, as compared to carrots, or beets you have to plant every year. If you don’t have a lot of time for gardening, and their fun to climb!
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
I would say growing your own food is like printing your own money!
I’m not sure where I heard it first, but it really clicked.
You have to go tot he grocery store
when you plant food and your eating it instead, it’s almost like growing your own money because now you don’t have to pay that money at the grocery, and you can use that money for something else!
And especilaly with the high cost of food you can use that for a lot of other things.
Have you ever entered a fair? How’d that go?
I have not.
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what could you not live without?
I can’t remember how long ago, many years ago before I was even a homeowner, I found a little spade shovel wiht a rounded tip , I couldn’t find the owner,. It was the first garden tool I ever had I use it for everything. It’s not like a traditional
It’s skinnnier and longer
I planted trees, I use it in the garden, i use it for post holes, it’s like my gardening best friend.
Goes up to about my waist.
Do you have any suggestions for eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time?
One of my things I do, is try to preserve it as soon as I can, like if I know you have a bunch of cucumbers you can make em into pickles. Of course, my kids are like eating machines
The problem we had and the dill wasn’t ready. And our dill wasn’t ready already? I think he canned like 30 quarts of pickles. But he planted like a mini-farm this year, we’re trying to figure out what it would take to do a CSA but this is our first year.
Have you tried selling them.
IDK I haven’t had that much time, to go to the Farmer’s Market. Last Wednesday he was like you should go to the Farmer’s Market today. What get’s scheduled gets done maybe I need to put it on my calendar.
Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last?
You know everything is a little bit different, some is best for freezing, some is best for drying or canning,
one of my favorite ways, would be dehydrating because it doesn’t require any electricity like freezing does.
when you use a solar dehydrator
solar box, another video for a solar dehydrator–
uses a little solar fan
stores without any electricty
off season greenhouse, can get really hot, so it’s like a giant
dry it again without electricity so it;s good for the environment.
So doesn’t it get moist in there it stays dry enough to dry the food?
I don’t have a fan in there, you can if you wanted
Crack the windows,
maybe one, close it up.
Once the sun comes out and beating down on it, it gets really not, there’s natural convection in there. so it will keep it moving?
What’s your favorite food to dry something super easy convenient no-fail?
everybody likes apple snacks
put some cinnamon apple snacks
chop em really finely and then put them in our oatmeal
Proflici! so lots of to do with anyway so why not do it so we can eat them when there’s snow on the ground in the cold!
Cinnamon Apple Snacks
do brown a little, if you don’t like that take a bowl, a cup or so of water, tsp or two of lemon juice in that, dip em, put a tsp or 2 of honey or put the cinnamon in that water,
- a cup or so of water
- tsp or two of lemon juice
throw em on the racks
Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?
I don’t really have any specific techniques
some sort of thing I haven’t used in the past. You can actually put in a specific ingredient, and it comes with recipes that use that ingredient
roasted beets, over and over and everyone getting sick of it, just lots of different ways to
get a bumper crop of something we didn’t
A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
I have lots of favorite recipes, but if I had to choose one that I like the best it would have to be my pickle recipe
A lot of recipes, call for a certain amount of fruit in order to make a certain batch of pickles.
you need 5-10lbs
you have 20 lbs
per jar. If you have one jar you want to make, you can make one, or you can make 5-20 jars
You can make a small batch or a huge batch, then you don’t have to let some of them go bad while waiting for full swing of season. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on that (over 85,000 views!). Not just the people in my life, family, but also people who have watched the dill pickle video and tried it and said oh these are so tasty and good! (and offered to buy them!!) That would be my favorite recipe!
A favorite internet resource?
For new gardeners I would highly recommend, another you tube channel the groworganic by Peaceful Valley. They have a lot of how to videos
specific for a crop.
how to grow pole beans
here’s how you plant them
here’s how you know how to harvest crops
They have a video out on how to grow it, start to finish
how or when to plant
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 just put it out there, because I felt like I had a lot of things to share.
I really wanted to, I had learned a lot from other people.
I wanted to contribute to
people who also were challenged
give solutions that were practical
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?
So I think a lot of the chemicals we are using is the biggest problem today
Since we can’t really enact change overnight, and it feels overwhelming
vote with our dollars, and just start buying the foods that are grown organically and don’t use chemicals
the conventional way of growing things, is not the type of products that we want.
we want things that are grown sustainable manner, using resources wisely, that we don’t want
by changing our habits we can send a very clear message to them, this is what we want and those things that we don’t want are rejected basically. Moretaking our health into our own hands, and helping them to know what we really want out of life for for ourselve for our planet, for our life, and for our families.
Angie Shcnieder talked about how people need to support their farmers more and put out more money sometimes. Sometimes you have to do what you can. And sometimes the organic option is cheaper, I find organic lemons are cheaper then regular lemons and the bananas are always comparable to the regular bananas so it
As more people are choosing those options it will help price down
when more people are choosing those, more and more people are going to produce them, and they will become more of the mainstream. If we stick with it it really will get better!
Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
Yeah! I’ll give you a quote I was always told by my late grandfatehr. He always told me
nothing ventured, nothing gained
even a failure is a success in a way it’s finding out what doesn’t work! TI just really getting out there and find you will gain something. You will gain experience Yeah!
That is so true and I always I taught kindergarten for a few years, and I thought when they took the blocks out of kindergarten, overtime when the blocks fall down the kids get smarter, I think more often then not maybe one thing didn’t work but your getting lots of other things that did work. It’s hard to imagine that someone’s whole garden wouldn’t succeed!
How do we connect with you?
search for Frugal Green Girl on youtube
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