Benjamin Page from the Pastos Verdes Farm in Argentina
Jackie Marie Beyer (8m 17s):
Welcome to the Green Organic Gardener Podcast. Today is Friday, July 10, 2020.
And I have an awesome guest on the mic who’s written a fantastic book called Playing in the dirt. He’s a chiropractor. He’s got an awesome Instagram channel and just, I know we’re going to learn a ton today. So here to share all sorts of golden seeds with us is Benjamin Page. So welcome to the show. Ben Ben, right?
Ben Page (8m 46s):
Yeah. It’s been yep. Most people call me Ben, Benjamin is my real name, but Ben is what most people call me. I think there’s three people in the world that call me Benny and two of passed away. So it’s down just one, but yeah, most people call me then. Yeah. So it’s great to be on the show. It’s great to be with you.
Jackie Marie Beyer (9m 1s):
Well, thanks. Well, I’m so excited. Oh yeah. And you also have a podcast, the wellness farmer podcast. So listeners like I’ve been like jonesing for some good podcasts. Listen to this winner like at that kind of has changed lately.
Cause I think I’ve been to over a thousand podcasts websites in the last month working for this new podcast or I’m just doing research, trying to find podcasts where she would be a good fit as a guest.
And it’s just been fascinating, but even still out of like the thousand websites, I’ve only found, I think four that I’ve actually added to my phone and less than a dozen that I’ve checked out and been like, Oh, this might be good.
Jackie Marie Beyer (9m 39s):
So I am excited. I am been thinking, I wish more people would share more podcasts. Like people that I listen to would share more. So the Wellness Farmer, I know listeners are going to love that.
Ben Page (9m 53s):
Yeah, that’s what I tried. I mean, it’s more of a wellness farmer at the moment. But at the, when I started the podcast, I was a farmer. I actually raised a meat on pasture. So chicken, sorry, chicken on pasture. And that’s why that’s where the podcast kind of got its name.
Jackie Marie Beyer (10m 10s):
Well, do you want to tell us about that or I want to kind of hear a little bit about that was that down. So you’re in Argentina. Was that down in Argentina or like where was that?
Ben Page (10m 21s):
And that was before we came to Argentina, we opened, so I was working with a chiropractor for about five years and then I’ve left and opened my own clinic. And at the same time I started a farming enterprise. And what I did is I raised chickens on pasture in a place in Southern Utah. And that’s where I was raising the chicken on pasture and at the very end imagining.
And, but some of the books that helped me were, I mean, some of the books I recommend are that books by Joel Salatin and who has a great enterprise and he’s done great work, but I basically did what Joel Salitan does.
Ben Page (10m 52s):
I made my own version of coops with as domes. I didn’t use his version. I made a don’t coop and I would just, I would let the, let the chickens run, run on pasture while every day I moved the move to the coop to fresh green grass and tell you the truth. That was probably my favorite time of the day. I worked in the, in the farm on the morning. And then I worked in my clinic in the afternoon and waking up and going, moving those, those coops and watching those chickens run forward and eating all that fresh green grass and the bugs that were present was just beautiful.
Ben Page (11m 24s):
I loved, it was such a great time that I’ll never forget those times. And I’d like to actually get back into it because it was so much, it was so neat to be able to do that and work as a chiropractor at the same time. We did that for about a year though, because the sales weren’t that good. So that’s kind of why I stopped doing it, but I would like to get back into it for sure. When it was, it was a great time.
Jackie Marie Beyer (11m 48s):
So you were selling the chickens for meat or the eggs?
Ben Page (11m 52s):
The chicken. Yeah. So we, yeah, so I did all the processing on form two. That was, those were busy days. Processing is we’re very busy, but yeah, we, we raised chicken for meat.
Jackie Marie Beyer (12m 6s):
Well, that’s good because the, you know, the big Purdue ones are so bad for our planet and just, you know, these giant chicken farms, you just, and I feel so bad for those chickens. So we lost our chickens. There’s like a grizzly bear problem in our area for slate. They kill off all the grizzly bears and then they like relocate them. And so many people are moving in. I don’t know what’s going on in the mic. And I have lived here for 27 years now. We’ve been married and out of those, like 25 of them, we’ve had chickens.
Jackie Marie Beyer (12m 36s):
We’ve never had a problem until the last two years. And one chicken survived last spring, we finally had baby chicks and one of the baby checks, minister escaped like showed up 30 days after the grizzly bear had been through. And we thought the whole thing, everybody was gone. All of a sudden here comes this chicken and she made it all the way until this spring. And we got a rooster and two days after the rooster, boom, they both here came the grizzly bear again. But like everybody in our neighborhood has been posting pictures of this bear. And it’s just been like, I don’t know. Anyway.
Jackie Marie Beyer (13m 6s):
So kind of like I, so miss having chickens and fresh eggs, it’s driving me crazy. I want to get some new ones, but we have to fix fence. I mean, he just is amazing how big this bear was. I’m always picturing what he must have look like. And I’ve seen pictures now because other people have posted on Facebook that did get a picture of them. But just like them image of him, like tearing down this chicken house that we had, he didn’t tear it down, but he like took the roost and like shoved one of the poles from the roost, right through the particle board wall.
Jackie Marie Beyer (13m 39s):
And I’m like, Mike cannot get it out. Like this bear had to be huge. And just that, if he got, it was so sad that after all these years, we finally had BB chickens that hatched and we’re growing and we’re doing good. And then only one of them survived. And then she made it through a year, all by her lonely self. And then as soon as we got the rooster, two days later, they both,
Ben Page (13m 58s):
Oh, that is terrible. Ate by a bear. I’m like, good. That’s even worse.
Jackie Marie Beyer (14m 4s):
Oh yeah. I know. I just, and I didn’t even get to see the bear. That’s the worst part. Like, I mean, anyway, but we’re not here to talk about us. The other thing I wanted to say is, and this is totally off topic, but I just like keep a story I saw on the news the other day, it keeps going through my head about these poor people that they’re worried about. They’re going to get COVID like, I don’t know, in Africa or somewhere that these people are so poor that they have to keep the chickens under their beds because they’re worried that people will steal them and they’re sleeping with these chickens and it’s not that they’re going to get COVID they get some other bird disease.
Jackie Marie Beyer (14m 39s):
And like, it’s just so sad to me that there are people living in conditions that they are show worried they have to keep the chickens under their beds.
Ben Page (14m 47s):
I know that’s terrible. I mean, yeah. The amount of that can understand that because what the chickens leave behind is probably a lot worse than a contact in COVID 19. And that’s probably for sure. That’s one of the things I talk about in my new book is that dirt is beautiful, but you want to kind of stay away from dirt that’s got poop in it. That’s that’s the dirt you don’t want to be close to.
Jackie Marie Beyer (15m 12s):
Well, I didn’t realize, like, since I started my podcast, like I had no idea you can’t put like chicken manure or any kind of like manure, like if you’re a market farmer, there’s like 120 days you’re supposed to wait between when you like apply them a manure. And when you can plant your vegetable seeds or whatever, or before the produce, I don’t know. I know there’s like that 120 day rule, so,
Ben Page (15m 35s):
Oh yeah. I always, I always compost on manure first. I was throwing in my compost bin before I actually throw it on my, my garden beds.
Jackie Marie Beyer (15m 43s):
Yeah. So anyway, I’m going to stop talking and let you tell us, but I do always start the show. Ben asking you about like your very first gardening experience. Like, were you a kid, were you an adult? What’d you grow and who were you with?
Ben Page (15m 57s):
I’m going to talk about my first experience I had as an adult, because there’s another, there’s another question that talks about where I’m going. Actually I’ll talk about as a kid, but my first gardening experience as adult being a married adult was that was when I was in Palmer College of Chiropractic. I was in my last
year and I was studying about what’s called modern survivalism and the garden kept on coming up and I’ve gardened my, basically my whole life as you as I’ll talk about later. But I had stopped since I had moved in it hasn’t had been many years since I’d done it.
Ben Page (16m 32s):
And I wanted to get back into it more than anything, grow food for my family. And I was at college. We were very poor and we hadn’t no way to buy any materials. So what I did is I won’t go on walks with my wife. Every time we fight, find planks thrown out in the trash, we’d ask the owner for, take them. And we got enough plugs where I could build a planter box. And we also found two, no three flower pots that were thrown out. And I asked if I could take them. And they said, yes. So my very first garden as adult was a planter box, that was two feet by four feet by a foot deep and three flowerpots.
Ben Page (17m 11s):
And they were full of tomatoes and peppers. And that’s it.
That was my very first garden as adult man.
It was, it was those 15 minutes a day that I took just to, just to be with those plants. I mean, it was such a calming experience. It helped me so much and, and leave the busy life of school, which was insane at that time. And just be in the present moment and do something good by taking care of some plants and then eventually enjoying the tomatoes and peppers that, that came from those plants.
Ben Page (17m 44s):
So that was, that was my very first garden as an adult, one little teeny planter box and three flower pots full of peppers and tomatoes. And that was in Davenport, Iowa.
Jackie Marie Beyer (17m 58s):
Well, it’s amazing how starting small like that, especially when you’re super busy, like, I think that’s like super encouraging and some golden seeds you’re dropping for my audience because they know I’m always super busy like this summer, even though I’m working online and I’m home a lot, like I’m just exhausted. Like you tried to spend six hours on a computer and see, like, I don’t want to go for a walk. I don’t want to do anything.
And I am so lucky cause I go sit in the garden and read a book and water and just like, I’ll set the water thing out for like six minutes or nine minutes on my thing and just sit there and just unlax after staring at a computer and still ideas are floating through my head and things that, but yeah, it’s amazing how coming and then college, right?
Jackie Marie Beyer (18m 42s):
Like I remember when I was in college to get my elementary degree, like I can tell you how long everything took, whether it by the second, like I was like, this is a 62nd task and this is a two, you know, two minute task. And this is like a 92nd tasks. Like I just like, you’re so busy when you’re in college. It’s crazy. I don’t know how you do it with a family.
Ben Page (19m 1s):Oh, it was, it was, those were very long days. I mean, I, my first year at Palmer, it was, I would go to bed. This was an average, I’d go to bed at eight o’clock at night, wake up at 12 or one in the morning studying until six or seven, then go to school. And we were school for all day. I mean, we had about like the average is about 32 credit hours a week for basically at a full time job. All, we also had to study for tests and take the test and then I’d come home at six or seven in the afternoon on hanging out with my family for a little while.
Ben Page (19m 34s):
Then I’d go back to bed at eight o’clock and I’d get back up at one o’clock in the morning. I mean, it was, it was, but that was before I started the game. Once I was in the third year, it was a little bit more relaxed on a little bit more time, but yeah, it was, it was not easy. I’ll tell you that for sure. It wasn’t easy, but those moments, like I said,
and I write about it in my book because the book, my book playing in the dirt, which it’s called playing in the dirt, I talked about how the, not just the soiling gardens, but how nature is so important to our health as human beings. And we’re in it’s we’re involved.
Ben Page (20m 4s):
I mean, we need to be involved with her to, to truly reach our health potential. And it’s one of the things that, that garden data’s that helped me be in the present. It was, it was kind of a type of, there’s a meditation there’s meditation at its best. It just brought me back to the present. I forgot about them like tests. I forgot all of the anxieties of the future. All the, all the times I missed a bone test on in, in the past. I mean, it just brought me back and it just felt great. I remember it was just that little teeny, teeny gardens. So starting small is, is a great way to go.
Jackie Marie Beyer (20m 35s):
I agree. Whole heartedly. So how did you learn how to garden organically? Did you please do that? Did your family do that or,
Ben Page (20m 46s):
Yeah, that’s, that’s what I was gonna talk about.
My parents they’ve always, I mean, it was before he was in college, they did it before it was called organic garden. They just gardens and they didn’t use pesticides or anything like that. And we did, I mean, in the, during the winter, we’d go get the manure, put the manure on top of the, on top of the garden, all the cut down, all the, all the, all the partners that we don’t eat and let it decompose. And then we take the rotor tiller and roto-till it all in. And then we plan our garden every year. And that’s what I did with my parents until I was until I was 10 years old.
Ben Page (21m 18s):
I mean, these gardens were huge to me, it felt like the rows of corns were never ending. Cause that’s the, those are the roles I had to weed, but of course I was a little kid at that time. I don’t know how long they really work, but was a kid. I was like, does this ever end, am I ever going to get done with this?
And that’s, and that’s how we lived for the first 10 years of my life, organic garden, but without the organic in front of it, it was just gardening. And that’s how it was when I was a kid. And I looked, some of my fondest memories were of those times to tell you the truth. I mean, when I was an adolescent, I do have other nice memories, but those memories of, of the garden and being outside or some of my fondest memories that I love.
Ben Page (21m 57s):
And that’s how I got into organic gardening before it even was called organic.
Jackie Marie Beyer (22m 3s):
Well, I’m going to tell you, Ben, I’m hoping there’s a podcast by Angela Watson who runs a podcast called truth for teachers that I love. And she’s like one of the only people I hear out there talking about, imagine what our schools can become.
Imagine like, and I always picture, like when I went to Paris through are so, many more gardens and parks and places than there are, I find like in cities in the States. And I really feel like we kids, like you say, they love being in the garden.
And as we’re finding, if teachers are going to go back to school in the fall and they’re going to be responsible for kids and trying to social distance, like let’s get these kids outside in the gardens so they can have great memories like you have.
Ben Page (22m 46s):
Totally agree. Oh my goodness. I wish schools had, I wish schools had gardens. All schools should have a garden. I mean, it’s just, we should all learn about these things. It’s it’s it’s, to me, it’s kind of sad that most people don’t even know how to plant a seed. Most people don’t know how to plant a seed.
Most people don’t know how to take care of a plant. And most people don’t even know where their food even comes from anymore. So, I mean, I think that would be great for the kids and that’s that’s knowledge that’s that that should be widespread. You know, everyone should be, I mean, you don’t have to, but at least knowledge that you should have.
Jackie Marie Beyer (23m 22s):
Yeah. I mean, and there’s so many lessons you can do in the garden. There’s science and there’s math and there’s writing.
- And one kid maybe wants to keep a journal and draw the insects.
- And one kid’s going to measure, you know, how long is the length of the row or how long is this bed?
- And another, kid’s going to compare how big are these Peapod’s and
- just, there’s so many lessons that the kids can do and they can, you know, I
just think you have to be more creative and it would be good for the kids to get out. And then like you said, they should know how to grow. Like I have learned so much, I could barely keep a basil plant alive or geranium when I started my podcast.
Jackie Marie Beyer (23m 56s):
And now like, Mike’s kind of moved over to like what we call the mini farm. And I’m kind of taking over the garden beds that are close to the house and he just comes down and he’s like, what are you doing now? But they’re growing. Things are growing. I finally, my buckwheat cover crop. I planted yesterday finally spread. I mean, I planted like last week it’s sprouting and I’m so excited because he was like, no, that’s not gonna work. And I’m like, yes, it is.
Ben Page (24m 21s):
And it will work. Buckwheat is a great cover crop.
Jackie Marie Beyer (24m 25s):
Yeah. Well he wanted me to like pull out all the crab grass. So we’ll see what happens because if the crab grass comes back in and overruns the bed, then T’s right. But it sprouted, but we’re supposed to be talking about you, you and your gardens today.
Ben Page (24m 41s):
Another thing, another thing about school gardens and everything is it’s, it’s such a great way to teach life lessons to the garden. I mean, what a way to teach patients. I mean, what a way there’s that you can, you can learn so many things from the garden that sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
I mean, there’s many times we’ll plant something like you said, and we’ll just, won’t turn out as we planned it. So at the same time that you can have short term failures with a garden and it’s a great way to teach our kids. That that’s fine. That’s fine. I mean, so just life lessons also, it’s just, the garden is a great place to do it.
Jackie Marie Beyer (25m 45s):
So do you want to tell us about something that grew them well this year? Or what do you want to talk about? You can talk about whatever
Ben Page (25m 52s):
Yep. Well, one thing that grew really well this year, because I’m, I’m, I’m South of the equator. So I’m at, I’m in winter right now. And something that I, something that I still have growing in my garden are eggplants. And I have about 15 eggplants still growing in the middle of winter in my garden. So this year, my, my best crop was, it was, it was eggplant
And Man, I, I love it Never planted before. I didn’t even know what it was,
but when I got to know my wife, she started to cook with and I was like, Oh my goodness, eggplant is delicious.
Ben Page (26m 25s):
So I was stoked that we got, we have four eggplants that are continuing to give me food in the winter. It doesn’t, it very rarely freezes your where I’m at. So that’s one of the reasons why, but yeah, I got about 15 eggplants still on my tree in the middle of winter. I thought that was, I was pretty stoked about that. That is super
Jackie Marie Beyer (26m 44s):
Cool. I’m curious. What kind of recipes your wife cooks with eggplants? Cause like I only know, like eggplant Parmesan and maybe like sauted eggplant.
Ben Page (26m 53s):
My, my favorite food with eggplant is actually it’s called a Tarta. It’s kind of like a pizza where you just take eggplant and you put it in what she makes it with in English. It’s called I’m thinking in Spanish. Sorry about that. It’s Oh my goodness. Ground beef. There we go. Ground beef, eggplant, onion, and some other spices. And then she puts it on top of like a pizza film. So it’s kind of like, you’re eating a pizza, but Oh my goodness.
Ben Page (27m 25s):
It’s it’s wonderful. I love it in Spanish. It’s called a TaRita. It’s just beautiful.
Jackie Marie Beyer (27m 33s):
Cool. Well, listeners, you’re gonna love that because we’re always looking for recipes to cook with the stuff we get from the farmer’s market, or even that we grow in our gardens. Do you have any tips for like your eggplants? Cause I didn’t want Mike first started growing eggplants. He really struggled to get them to go from, they would flower. We get these beautiful flowers, but he didn’t get a lot of fruits. He has now. But do you have any tips? Yeah.
Ben Page (27m 56s):
No. My, my main tip with gardening is compost. So as long as your put easier, as long as you’re giving your garden of compost, your plants, of course, sun and water too, but you never want to over-water but compost it’s, it’s incredible by having a rich, a, in a soil that’s alive and rich, nutrient dense, your plants just seem to give and they, and they, they give freely, they give all sorts of fruit. If you just keep the soil as live as possible.
Ben Page (28m 28s):
So I try not to dig into it. I try to keep it. I try to keep those critters alive as long as I can and dig, dig into it as little as possible so they can, they can continue to build nutrition into the soil, but for me, compost and I’ve built compost, my compost. Isn’t the perfect compost.
I imagine a lot of the people that live in big areas, don’t, I mean, what’d you do is you, you just take what you have all the organic waste and you try to compost it. I have a system where I put it in. I have a four tier system which helps just a little bit, but where I have, where I put everything, that’s green leaves with it.
Ben Page (29m 3s):
And then I put in two, then I mixed it up and I put it into a next, next thing. And then I mix it up one more time and I put it into a third area. And then the final area is where it sits for just a couple of weeks more. And that’s when I throw it into the garden. And it all depends if I’m in summer winter, but it’ll take between a month, three months to have it all done, but I will always have compost ready to go back into the garden.
And it’s not that I just put at the beginning. I put compost during also when I’m, when I’m, when the plants are growing. Because a lot of my stuff at the moment, cause I’m living in the city are in planter boxes.
Ben Page (29m 35s):
So I’m constantly putting compost on my plants. And as I’ve done that, I’ve seen great success.
Jackie Marie Beyer (29m 43s):
I know it’s like amazing. It’s like a couple of days after you put the compost on, you can see the plants just like kind of thriving and pricking up and growing bigger. And I just feel like we can never make enough compost. And to me it’s like the most forgiving, like the easiest part of gardening that comes along. But people complain to me all the time. They’re like, Hey, why are you composting? I don’t know why.
Ben Page (30m 4s):
I mean, if you do it, it can’t be smelly if you don’t have the right combination, which mine doesn’t. But it’s funny. My kids they’ll they’ll help me do the last part. So the whole, the last part is the best part.
Cause that’s when it’s nice and moist and it smells beautiful. But the first part, cause I don’t have enough dry material. It can start to stink a little bit because of the acid nitrogen. But other than that first part can be if you don’t have enough dry material, but I love the last part. Cause my kids are like, Whoa, all that stuff turned. This black moist stuff that smells good.
Ben Page (30m 36s):
It’s like, yeah, isn’t that crazy?
Jackie Marie Beyer (30m 40s):
I know it just baffles me. And then the other thing, like I was listening on this podcast, Saba, the side of fries the other day, she was talking about composting and she was talking about the point. Like I think about this. I don’t think about this a lot because we don’t throw it in our garbage, but your garbage smells show gross.
Like that makes all of your garbage smell disgusting when you’re putting that food in there. Whereas if you separated it, your garbage isn’t going to smell bad. Like my garbage could sit in a plastic bag in my kitchen. Like when I had an apartment, sometimes I would sit there for a week, but it didn’t matter because all there was in, it was like paper and maybe plastic bags that have been recycled or whatever.
Jackie Marie Beyer (31m 18s):
Like there wasn’t anything smelly in it. And cause I would like come home on the weekends. I was teaching on our reservation on the other side of the mountains. And so sometimes the garbage I would take it home on the weekends was how I get rid of it. And I don’t know. I just can’t imagine people that keep that don’t separate their food.
Like to me, I just, I don’t get it. And I don’t feel like I’d like we would have a compost bin sitting on the classroom. The kids would throw their stuff in there all week and I would take it home on Friday. It didn’t smell. We had a worm bin in the classroom one year when I was there.
Jackie Marie Beyer (31m 50s):
It didn’t smell like, I don’t know to me it’s so easy. And I think it’s easier than hauling the garbage with the food scraps to the garbage. I mean we have to haul ours to the green box.
Ben Page (32m 6s):
Not only that, not only that it is just it’s, it’s so much better for us and our environment. And if our, if our environment’s healthy, we’ll be more healthy. That’s another thing I talk about in the book is the importance of it is unhealthy environment. We have two ecosystems. I mean, we have our extern, which is our, which is our human body. And then we have the ecosystem planet earth.
And if planet earth isn’t healthy, I mean it’s impossible for us to be healthy. It just can’t be. So by composting is like the easiest way to, to start in the right direction. And then, then the path then the ability, I mean the opportunities are just great, but it step one is almost always in composting is taking all that organic matter and returning it to the soil.
Ben Page (32m 44s):
That’s one of the best ways to shield planet earth. And like I say, if planet earth is healthy, our, our, our, our possibilities of being healthier are a lot more. I mean, we can’t live without her. She can live without us. She doesn’t need us. She’ll probably she thrives without us, but we can’t live without her and she’s gotta be healthy.
So step one, compost all your organic materials. And that either means, I mean, I compost charcoal from the BBQ. I compost paper. I compost, I don’t, I throw away very, very little and the majority of stuff we do throw away actually goes to the recycling bin.
Ben Page (33m 14s):
So what we do truly is very, very, very little, the majority stuff goes straight back into our, into our compost bin and eventually back into, into the dirt that surrounds us. Should he want to tell us about something you’re excited?
Jackie Marie Beyer (33m 32s):
Did he try different next year or is there something new you’re going to do?
Ben Page (33m 37s):
I’m just excited to try something new at a new place we’re at, we’re in the moment of looking for a new place. And so I’m, we’re looking for a lot. I’m just excited to try something new at a new place. At the moment, we don’t have much room. So like I was saying, I was I’m planning in planter boxes.
So I have planter boxes and then the placement wore out. I had a little team front yard garden. I was about 10 feet by eight feet. And that was all I had to, to work with. And I’m hoping that we’ll get a space that will allow me to, to be a little bit more creative and, and expand on what I love to do playing the dirt so that that’s, that’s the plan.
Ben Page (34m 15s):
And hopefully you can find a place where we can, or I can do that. So
Jackie Marie Beyer (34m 20s):
Where are you looking like you’re looking in the South or all over or should it be like
Ben Page (34m 24s):
In particular you’re coming back to the unit.
Jackie Marie Beyer (34m 27s):
States are like, when you’re moving somewhere in Argentina,
Ben Page (34m 31s):
Where are you looking at? How do you pick that’s what we’re, we’re just looking here in the same city where we’re we’re at right now. We’re just looking around to hopefully find a place that’ll that suits the needs of everyone in the family. So I’m married to a wonderful wife. She’s her, name’s Ruth. And then I have my kids, I have two kids.
So we’re trying to find a place where we can all be happy at the moment and not worry we’re in the middle of that. And it’s not easy. It’s not an easy place. It’s not an easy position to be in, but we’re looking and, and we’ll, we’ll find it. But yeah, we plan on staying around this area where we’re at at least for now.
Ben Page (35m 8s): Awesome.
Jackie Marie Beyer (35m 10s):
Do you want to tell us about something that didn’t work the way you thought it wasn’t gonna last year?
Ben Page (35m 15s):
Oh yeah. I had just a terrible time with lettuce, just a terrible time with lettuce. And I realized that it was the seed and it’s so funny because it’s, it’s important. That’s why it’s so important to save seed. I didn’t have any legacy. I went and bought four packs of different seed and nothing, nothing.
I mean, not even one germinated out of the four packs that I bought, not one Germany. And then I tried four different ways in four different places and I didn’t get any germination, not in one, even in, even in my homemade greenhouses, I couldn’t get anything.
Ben Page (35m 55s):
So all my letters I had to buy this last year, because I couldn’t get anything to grow in that realize that it was, it was a seed.
And that’s just brings back the importance of saving your own seed because you never know what you’re going to buy.
I bought four different packs and not one of the packs gave me any letters. So that was, that was frustrating.
That was one of the big failures of the garden.
Cause we lots of lettuce, we lots of salad in our home and having to go out and buy it all. I mean, that was, that was not cool, but that was the, that was a major failure this last year.
Ben Page (36m 29s):
And it wasn’t because I couldn’t grow it isn’t because I just had horrible scene. So again, going back to the saving seed is so important. Save your own seed and use it from year to year. Don’t let it go too long because then Germany germination rate grossly goes down quite a bit over the years. So
Jackie Marie Beyer (36m 48s):
Do you have any tips for how to save? Let us see. Like somebody sent me a Seed Saving for their Family Gardener book and I’ve been, I started reading the other day and I’m like, I need to read this because we had the same problem.
We did not get where Mike and I originally planted or let us nothing grew. And fortunately he grew me another little bed that I’ve had, but I am missing let us this year and let us as like the number one crop that people buy, we smell so more organic lettuce and spring mix in the United States, like 10 times over the next organic crop.
Jackie Marie Beyer (37m 20s): Like people love to eat, so how do you save lettuce seeds?
Ben Page (37m 22s):
But you, you just let it grow. And then the seeds come up and I do the same way with, with arugula the same, same way and just let it grow to seed. And then I let those seed pods dry. And then I put it with paper towels. I wrap in paper towels, and then I put it in bags.
And until I plant the lecture next year, but that’s, that’s how I do it. I just let I let one or two or three of my plants go to seed. So they dry it. So they see, I let them dry. And then I take those and I wrap them in paper towels and then pulling bags.
Ben Page (37m 53s):
And that’s how I saved my seat for the next year, at least with, with lettuce, because there’s so much the same thing with arugula. So we had a lot of arugula growing, a lot of lettuce.
Jackie Marie Beyer (38m 4s):
I love arugula and I am definitely seeming the arugala that I have growing. Like I planted rubella in between my lettuce seeds, because that is the arugala that I love. And I, I did the same thing. I have like five different packages of a regular seeds and some of them grow and I don’t like them. Like the one that grew like crazy this year, the leaves are like two inches tall. They didn’t get, or maybe an inch, like they’re really tiny leaves. They never got big. And it bolted like almost as soon as it was ready to harvest.
Jackie Marie Beyer (38m 35s):
So, and now like there’s like these big, long stems with all these itty bitty, teeny tiny leaves, and then it’s it’s flowering. But part of me is like this isn’t the regular that I want to save the seeds, bring it to the new seed. I’m hoping it’s the new stuff that’s coming up between the lettuce, but I’m pretty sure already starting off that that’s the right <inaudible>
So Ben this is part of the show where I call getting to the root of things. So like, do you have an activity you don’t like, that’s like your least favorite activity?
Ben Page (39m 12s):
I don’t, I was, I was thinking about that question. Cause you sent the questions before and I was thinking about that question and I don’t have an activity that I despise or I don’t have, and there’s not an activity that I don’t like to do more or less than another. And I was, I was trying to think about it, like what do I not like to do when I’m out in the garden? And I like to do it all. It’s it’s I don’t know if that’s a bad answer, but I can’t, I can’t think of anything that I like to do worse or more than, than other things in the garden.
Ben Page (39m 44s):
And it’s just, to me, it’s just a beautiful experience. I mean, it’s, it doesn’t matter if I’m preparing a bed or if I’m a weeding of bed, which is very little nowadays planting. I mean, I don’t think there’s something that I do not like to do outside when I’m in nature.
Jackie Marie Beyer (40m 2s):
I think that’s a super inspiring answer that like for people who haven’t gardened, that they’re going to feel that way. And I think a lot of my listeners are like that. I, on the other hand can come up with like 20 things that I don’t like to do. But on the flip side, what’s your favorite garden activity?
Ben Page (40m 20s):
Well, and I do have a favorite and that is taking the, taking the fruit and sharing it with my family and friends. Oh man, there’s nothing better than taking what you grow off of the plant and be able to share that with family and friends, that is going to be the coolest, the funniest, the best thing that comes from the garden. For me, it’s, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do that.
Jackie Marie Beyer (40m 46s):
Yeah, I absolutely can really. And I think my husband likes that too. A lot. He loves when the grandkids and his kids come and they pull the carrots and pick the peas and just hang out with them down there,
So Ben, what’s the best gardening advice you’ve ever received?
Ben Page (41m 3s):
The best gardening advice I’ve ever received is also what I talked about in the very beginning, compost, compost, organic material material, and put it back into the soil, keep your soil as live as possible. So if you want a healthy garden, always look to the soil, don’t look to your plants and look to the soil. So compost and keep your soil as live as possible. And the best way to do it is through organic composting.
Jackie Marie Beyer (41m 31s):
So do you have a favorite tool? Like if you had to move and can only take one tool with you, what could you not live without?
Ben Page (41m 39s):
Shovel? Oh yeah. The shovel is a beautiful tool. Not only, not only the garden, but I’ve always loved the shovel. So it’s not that shoveled to pick ax. It all depends on how hard, how hard the dirt is, but the shovel would be the tool and it wasn’t
Jackie Marie Beyer (41m 54s):
What kind of shovel like a long handle and shovel or like a little hand trowel? Or what kind of shovel do you like?
Ben Page (42m 1s):
Yeah. The long handle shovel. Yep. That’d be the show that we use to really dig into the dirt.
Jackie Marie Beyer (42m 11s):
How about, do you have a favorite recipe you like to cook her eat from the garden?
Ben Page (42m 17s):
I don’t, it’s usually just taking what I have from the garden and put it together and cooking with it. I mean, I don’t have a fee. I don’t even think I have a favorite recipe. I’ve come to the point where I see food as more of afood fuel.
Food as a fuel
I don’t see it as, even though there are things that I like and tastes better than other things. I look at food as nutritionist fuel. So what I’m trying to do is give me the most nutrient dense food possible. And as I’ve noticed over the time is I believe this things that I didn’t think were that good actually tastes a lot better now because I look at it at a totally different way.
Ben Page (42m 57s):
I look at food and cooking because I do love to cook. And I usually cook either. Diesel’s I mean, stews, sorry about that. I either cook stews or soups or outside on the grill. So I, I love to eat meat. I’m a meat eater for sure. But a favorite recipe. I can’t say, but I do love taking anything from the garden cooking and most importantly, sharing with other people. It’s such a great show and be able to share what I grow with other people.
Jackie Marie Beyer (43m 28s):
Oh, I like all that. Whoa. How about, do you have a favorite podcast? You, since you’re a puck, you have a podcast, you probably listen to podcasts.
Ben Page (43m 40s):
Let’s see. At the moment I am listening to, let’s see? a podcast
Jackie Marie Beyer (43m 53s):
What’s internet like in Argentina, like, is it pretty good or is it sporadic?
Ben Page (43m 58s):
No, that’s pretty good. I mean, we’ve never really had a problem with our internet connection here because the majority, like I said, a lot of my work is online. So if I’m not with patients I’m working online. So, so internet connection is pretty important. So now we don’t have a problem here. I mean, lately I I’ve been, I’ve been learning a lot through podcasts, philosophy.
I mean, so Stoic philosophy and all those podcasts. So that’s, that’s what I’ve been focused more on lately listening to podcasts, but I couldn’t give you certain one at the moment because I’ve been so busy with my, my launching my new book that I haven’t listened to a new podcast episode for almost four months.
Ben Page (44m 42s):
I mean, I guess that’s but because I’ve been so focused on trying to get every, trying to get this ready as we were talking before. I dunno. But yeah, I was planning on launching my book, my new book playing in the dirt in April and now we’re in July and it came out just this last Monday.
So just barely came out because I had to basically redo all of my marketing material for the book because what I had was, was stolen from me. So I had to start basically from zero on, on, on that. And that took me a long time and had to focus a lot of time on doing that while also at the same time treating patients. So I didn’t, I didn’t listen to a lot of podcasts. Well, for the last four months, I haven’t listened to many podcasts,
Jackie Marie Beyer (45m 24s):
Some marketing tips for how to market a book because a lot of my listeners are green future goers that either have a business or they’re writing their own book. I mean, my listeners tend to have fairly large gardens have been doing this for a while and maybe they have a book that they want to promote, like gunning marketing tips for us?
Ben Page (45m 46s):
Like what kind of am. So I have, I have podcasts. I mean, I did, I went, I went all, I went podcasts, I went on YouTube, I went everything.
But the thing that helped me the most tell you the truth was getting in touch personally with people through Instagram.
Cause that’s what I use. I use Instagram well I’m on Instagram more than any other social media platform. And so I would, I would message people personally and I’d get to get to know people personally. And then I formed kind of a team of these people that I got to know personally over the Time. Over time to ask them to help me to write reviews and, and, and, and share it.
Ben Page (46m 22s):
And when it came out and that’s what really helped me more than anything, it was just taking the time to personally get to know. And by the time when I was done and people that were willing to really, that really were enjoy or really were or psyched to about the new book.
There’s about 44 people in a list of about 120 that I had gotten contact with. And I’ve got back in contact with me and I’m talking, I’ve sent probably 300 or 400, but out of those 300, 400 there’s 44 that were really excited.
Ben Page (46m 54s):
And that is what has really helped me.
It was taking those, I think I started almost eight or nine months ago where I started to get in contact with peaceful people personally and getting to know them and giving them material like, so I’d write a chapter and I sent it to him and said, what do you think about this chapter?
And I would get them involved in the process.
And then when the book came out, there were a lot more willing to go on Amazon and leave a review and also just promote the book on their social media platforms. So get to know people personally, especially when you’re starting out.
Ben Page (47m 26s):
I mean, I’m still starting out. I mean, I’m brand new at this too, so, and I’m learning and I want to learn as much as I can because I’m new to this also. But what I saw work out better with my second book, my first book.
So my first book, the four pillars of health, I didn’t do that. This one I did. And I, and I, and I looked for people that, that I thought specifically would the language of writing and I, and I got in contact with them. And that’s what really helped out more than anything. The difference between my first book and my second book.
Jackie Marie Beyer (47m 59s):
No, that was exactly what I wanted to know because I still haven’t found anybody who will write me a review on Amazon for my book that came out last year. Like not even my mom, I’m like, huh, I don’t know why if it’s Amazon makes it too hard or, but yeah, but those are like great ideas to reach out to people ahead of time and like send them a chapter of the book. Like I would never
Ben Page (48m 23s): Mmm.
Jackie Marie Beyer (48m 23s):
And different things. So, well, that’s fantastic.
Ben Page (48m 27s): So how
Jackie Marie Beyer (48m 28s):
Favorite internet resource, like where are you surfing
Ben Page (48m 33s):
Me? I’m more than an internet. I get the majority of my information from, from Instagram. I mean, I’m on the internet very little so I know I’m on it. I’m either, I’m, I’m chatting with people on Instagram that I’ve gotten to know. And then I, and then I learned from other, from them I’ve been learning. The majority of stuff I know is from people that I’ve met on online. And a lot of it’s, I, I chose the platform Instagram because when I kinda got into the whole social media thing, that’s the thing that was, that’s where it was, Instagram was kind of getting more popular. I was, I was, I was way after Facebook.
Ben Page (49m 5s):
So I kind of focused more on Instagram, but I imagine it’s, it all depends on the social media platform you’re using. And I used Instagram, but a lot of the thing is a lot of learning I get is actually from Instagram. And that’s where I’m learning a lot of what I do and what I’m doing now,
Jackie Marie Beyer (49m 24s):
Do you have a favorite book or reading material that you want to share?
Ben Page (49m 30s):
The last book I read that I really, really liked was called the Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Haliday.
It doesn’t have anything to do with gardening. It’s a philosophy on life and it kind of shows you how a lot of the times in life, that hard moment, if we take it and run with it is actually the way we should go and we can make it a lot.
We can make our lives a lot better by turning that obstacle.
Ben Page (50m 0s):
So we think like, why is this happening to me? Why does this have to happen to me? Or, and we turn it and we actually run with it. And a lot of times is when we make our best work or, or become our best selves. And so that was a book I really enjoyed by Ryan.
I’ve read a lot of his books, but all like books about gardening. I mean, anything that I can get my hands on about permaculture. I had it. So anything that talks about permaculture, I, I was all over when I was, when, when I read about gardening and anything that has to do with, with tilling soil, I looked at permaculture.
2 (50m 41s):
Awesome. Whoa, tell us a little, one more about your book.
Yeah, so perfect to my latest book, Playing in the Dirt is, is, is about how our health is intertwined with the health of the soil. So if we build soil, mother nature will help shield us. And in the book, I give eight example. I give eight reasons why it’s like that. So if we do, if we involve eight different lifestyles that that involves mother nature in our lives, we will feel a lot better. I mean, we can feel great right now, but we will, can even feel better if we involve these eight different lifestyles in our life that involve mother nature.
Ben Page (51m 21s):
So if we help mother nature heal, she’ll help us feel our best. And I, I wrote a book about that, using examples from my own life and how it’s helped me. And, and I use my life as an example, kind of to, to kind of demonstrate how, when I was down and out, I’m playing in the dirt, helped me. So it helped me like it helped me in ways where I, where I felt down and emotionally, it helped me build a strong immune system.
Ben Page (51m 52s):
So by , Playing in the Dirt, by playing with all the microbes in the dirt, it helped me develop strong immune system. I mean, today we’re so many people are scared about viruses and especially the virus COVID-19, but at the same time, if you’re out playing in the dirt, your body will build a defense that’s that will overcome any type of bacteria or virus, basically.
So as long as you’re out there, Playing in the Dirt, your defenses will be sufficient to fight pretty much anything. And of course, that’s saying that you’re, you’re a healthy human being that you don’t have other types of illnesses.
Ben Page (52m 25s):
If you have other types of illnesses. Yeah. It’s probably a little bit better to distance yourself and stay clean, but I mean, you stay away from those people, but the same time, if you’re healthy and you’re up playing in the dirt, there’s no reason to be scared. Don’t be scared.
Don’t be scared of any type of buyers because viruses and bacteria, we’re breathing them in all the time. Every day. It’s always coming in, going out and helps us develop our immune system, which is our, is our system to defend ourselves. And what we’re doing now is weakening our immune system.
Ben Page (52m 55s):
Cause we’re, we’re, we’re trying to stay completely sterile and that’s not helping us build a strong immune system. So that’s another reason I gave an example in the book about that. I give an example of, of how it, it makes nutrition simple. I mean, what the dirt gives to us is enough. We don’t have to go out looking for all the supplements and everything else, just eat what grows from the dirt or what has eaten something fresh fruit from the ground. And you’ll be fine.
Ben Page (53m 26s):
So I give examples of that and I give other examples of how playing in the dirt is. As I say, in the subtitle, the key to sustainable health, not only for ourselves, but also for our environment. So mother nature itself, which will help us heal even more. And that’s basically what the book involves. It’s a personal experience of how mother nature of nature can help us heal. And then the importance of us helping her heal too well.
Jackie Marie Beyer
Cool. Well, I love all that. I am going to put a little plea out there. Like you might be able to defend that, but other people might not. And that’s why I think it’s super important. People wear mass and keep up with this social distancing. Cause it’s not about you. It’s about the other people that people have to go to work. The people that have to run a grocery store to take care of in the healthcare and go home to family members and they have to be there. And if all you have to do is wear a little mask to keep them safe. I poor people myself personally, to wear a mask, to do your best.
Anyway, Ben, my final question is a duty. If there’s one change you’d like to see, to create a greener world, what would it be? For example, is there a charity organization you’re a passionate about our project you’d like to see put into action? Like what do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment, either locally, nationally, or on a global scale? I would say just every one of us each and every one of us take our shoes and socks off and plant our feet on the dirt, fill mother nature.
Ben Page (55m 10s):
And then I’m pretty sure we’ll start to feel guided to do what needs to be right. I mean, we know most people know that this earth planet earth needs to be in the condition where, where she can help us. So the first step is take your shoes off. If you have kids, take their shoes and socks off, go plant your feet in the dirt and lit and just feel, feel mother nature is it’s a healing effect. And not only does it kill you psychologically, but heals you physiologically too.
Ben Page (55m 43s):
I mean, there’s just way too many studies out there showing that by being in contact with the earth earth, it regulates our electrical or electrical state. So it puts it into a state where it’s, which is act, which is normal, just natural. It helps us decrease all sorts of things in our bodies that cause us harm living in the stressful environments that we live in. So everybody take your shoes and socks off. If you have kids, take their shoes and socks off and go plant your feet in the dirt for half an hour and do that as, as often as possible.
Ben Page (56m 18s):
That’s perfect. Well, thank you so much, Ben, for coming and sharing your story with us today. Listeners,
Jackie Marie Beyer (56m 24s):
If you do get his book and go to Amazon, make sure you leave him a five star review over there or leave him a review that says, this is what I learned from this book or do something because that will help other people read it. And you know, the secret or certainly one of the key topics on my show has been soil health show. I’m pretty sure your book is going to be popular among my listeners.
Jackie Marie Beyer (56m 57s):
Let’s slow down and spell that out. What is the website again? It’s
Ben Page (57m 1s):
Oh yeah. It’s pasta Veritas. Cause that was actually the name of my farm when I still passed those better. This is just green, green pasture in Spanish. So it’s Pastos Verdes Farm. So those better, this PastosVerdes
Jackie Marie Beyer (57m 20s):
We’ll be in the show notes that you can just click on it listeners, but always good to spell it out
Ben Page (57m 26s):
For sure. And yeah, I mean, that would be great if you, if you would leave an honest review after leaving, after reading the book, that would be awesome.
Jackie Marie Beyer (57m 35s):
And when they go to that website, is that where they find the podcast or I think that’s where I found the book.
Ben Page (57m 40s):
Jackie Marie Beyer (57m 52s):
Awesome. We’ll keep on rocking that. Mike Ben and thank you so much for sharing with us today.
Ben Page (57m 58s):
No, it’s been great. A great experience on your podcast. So thanks for having me on
Jackie Marie Beyer (58m 3s):
Well, thank you. Okay. I’m going to shut the mic off really quick.
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