Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and Concoctions for Organic Fertilizers, Plant Elixirs, Potting Mixes, Pest Deterrents, and More
I’m so excited to talk to you today because I just, I love your story. Like one of the parts I love the most is like how you got this perennial garden by like taking, did you take the master gardener class or are you like you have people come, you donated your space to a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people living with addiction to gain real life skills, working with plants.
Like I just love that. I was just like, I was sold from that sentence right there. And just, and then you learned and you got hooked and it’s so pretty. And I love perennials. Like those are the kinds of things I like to grow. And just your whole story, like, it’s just been so fantastic to read. And again, I supported you right away. As soon as I saw that cup of coffee, you think that was so cool.
Welcome to the Green Organic Garden Season Three.
It is Saturday, November 21st, 2020. But it, hopefully this is going to release the first week of January, 2021, which isn’t that far away. I have an amazing guest on the wine. She’s written 10. I think she said 11 books. Her website is just full of golden seeds galore. Her website is gardentherapy.ca and here’s Stephanie Rose to just drop golden seeds for you listeners.
10m 55s0 I know you’re going to love it and learn a ton. So welcome to the show, Stephanie. Hi. 10m 59s1 Hi Jackie. Thanks so much for having me today. This is a lot of fun. 11m 3s0 Well, I’m just so excited to have you on and I haven’t recorded an episode for like the first time in my podcast history in a month until like I did one last week and one this morning. So it’s so fun to be back on the mic and connecting with guests again and talking to everybody and just, I had such a good season this year as a gardener myself, we were kind of talking a little on the pre-chat and so I am like just excited to share with listeners your straight show. Well, go ahead and tell everybody a little bit about yourself. 11m 38s1 Okay. Well I’m Vancouver, BC Gardner, my name’s Stephanie Rose and that’s my real name. People usually ask me that right away. Is that your real name or is that a pen name? I’m like, no, my name is really Stephanie Rose, but I was never a gardener growing up. I grew up in, in the city in an urban area. My parents didn’t garden. I didn’t learn how to garden from my grandmother or anybody like that. So I just, you know, went on about my life. Went to school, went into corporate Canada. I’m Canadian, went into corporate. Canada was sort of climbing up the ladder. And then all of a sudden, one day in 2006, I got a headache and that headache turned into an eight year recovery process of severe illness and disability. 12m 23s1 That sort of just took me out overnight. I got a headache. I then couldn’t get out of bed for almost two years. And I had intermittent paralysis in my arms, my legs. It was a really, really, absolutely difficult time. I don’t know what happened. It was just overnight. My life changed and that’s kind of happening to a lot of people this year, like 2020 in 2020 people’s lives changed overnight. And so I really get what happened. What’s been happening on a global scale because I went through that back in 2006. So what was it that caused it? Yeah. You know what? I don’t have an answer for you. They I’ve, we’ve got amazing healthcare here in Canada. 13m 4s1 And so I went to every doctor and specialists. I went to natural specialists. I went to traditional Western medicine and went to see everybody. They said it could have been like, what we’ve come down to is it could have been an insect born illness, like a tick illness, but not Lyme. It could have been a form of chemical poisoning. It could have been a virus. They really don’t know what it was that took me out. But whatever it was. And, and like, you were like, you couldn’t walk like parallel, no, no intermittent paralysis. So it was a peripheral neuropathy. So occasionally my arms and my legs would go out. They were very weak, but I would walk. And then all of a sudden my legs would just give out on me and I would fall down or I’d be carrying something. My hands would give out on me and I would drop it. 13m 45s1 So it was scary. But I was, I mean, those first couple of years that actually stayed with me for about 10 years, but it happened less and less over time. I used to, my arms would go blue and purple colored because there, it was just like, there was nothing getting to them and I’d always have this pins and needles feeling. Anyway, it was, it was scary, but it wasn’t the worst part of it. The worst part of it was that all my system, it shut down and I couldn’t get out of bed. So as I started to, like, I slept for years and as I started to want to rebuild my life, as I started to wake up a bit, I use gardening as my, my rehabilitation program and it was completely self-directed. 14m 26s1 I went to the library and I got every book on gardening. We had a great program where they would deliver the books to you. So I would lie in bed and I would read the books and learn about, you know, everything from starting seeds and growing herbs, growing vegetables and perennials trees and shrubs and everything that I could get my hands on. And then I would go out in my garden and just sort of start scratching in the soil, playing with this. I had this little yard in my, I have a little house on a standard sized lot with a little yard and on my website, I don’t know if you have links in the show notes, but I can show the transformation over five years of when I started gardening and using it as my therapy to what it looked like when five years later after, I, I guess not, it was never complete, but after five years, the transformation of my garden really showed the transformation of me and my health as well. 15m 18s1 So gardening completely saved my life. It changed everything about my life. And when it was, when I was starting to feel well enough to, to go back to work, I didn’t go back to my corporate job. I started writing and making my living as an author. I had started the garden therapy blog because I was lonely and isolated at home. And I wanted to reach out to other people who were gardening as well and learn from them and share what I was doing. And so I kind of created my own little mini community garden with garden therapy. I’d share a couple of pictures of what I was working on and met all these fabulous people all around the world. And that blog really helped me sort of develop my writing skills and, and learn about other gardeners and meet other people. 16m 2s1 And so when it was time to go back to work, I’m like, well, this is what I want to do from now on. I want to teach people about gardening. I want to show them how they can find healing in the soil. And so, yeah, it’s, it’s now how many years later, 14 years later. And, and I’m now an organic, I’ve been an organic master gardener in Pacific Northwest. So Oregon, Washington and BC is our master gardeners group for 11 years. I am a permaculture designer, a herbalist and a natural skincare formulator. So over the years, I’ve, I’ve built up my training. And now I write from this perspective of plants as healers. 16m 42s3 So it was real therapy for you. What made you like think gardening is going to be the answer? 16m 51s1 You know, I couldn’t go far. I was stuck in my house and it’s people are doing the same thing during this pandemic. They did. When the, when the sun started coming out and the ground started to thaw people went, I can’t really leave my home. I’m isolated, I’m working from home. I’m going to go outside and I’m going to start to take control of my land. So there’s something that’s just drawing people in the pandemic that did the exact same thing to me in 2006 is I felt this need to just be with the land. I also, because I didn’t know what made me sick in the first place. I went back and I changed everything about the food that I ate, the products that I put on my body, the medicines that I use, I really look towards getting as close to the seed in the soil as possible and removing anything that was, you know, lab created. 17m 38s1 I didn’t under, I couldn’t, if I couldn’t recognize the name or the word or see a plant that looked like that, then I didn’t want to include it because it could have been the thing that made me sick. It’s hard to know. 17m 50s4 Well, the 17m 51s1 Scientist in you is coming out. 17m 57s4 Well, do you want to tell us about, I guess, cause you, you did talk about your furry first gardening experience. Cause that was then right. Like after you got out of bed. Yeah. 18m 7s1 Yes. Yeah. So after I got, I did a bunch of different things, so there was a bunch of like, I started, you know, vegetable gardening in my backyard. I started with herbs, but I had this really fun and I joined a community garden. So I learned about vegetable gardening and growing food at a community garden, which was really great. Like I said, I joined the master gardeners group and I did that training. And then I did a lot of work with children’s garden. And again, that the children’s gardens were all focused on food, but I have this front yard, this full sun, South facing bright, sunny front yard. And I was like, okay, it’s just lawn. What are we going to do with it? And I met somebody in my neighborhood who had this backyard nursery and what he was doing was growing these plants in various front yards or people’s urban landscapes. 18m 57s1 And then allowing people that lived on our downtown East side that were living with addiction, that to build their skills in nursery and gardening work by having them come and dig up plants from people’s yards, divide them, pot them and sell them in his backyard nursery. So he had all these plants and had to move and we got in touch and I said, well, I’ve got this friend sunny front yard, and you’ve got all these plants that you have to get in the ground somewhere. I said, give them to me, we’ll put them in my will put them in my garden and you can dig them up and divide them every year. And, and I’ll learn about perennial gardening. So he brought over 301 gal or a 300, one to five gallon pots with green leaves sticking out of them. 19m 38s1 The leaves all looked a little bit different. There was no tax. There was no information on any of them. And he helped me dig up the yard. We put all these plants in and then I spent the next year watching these plants grow and learn about what these green leaves are going to turn into. And it was a fantastic experience. I wrote about this in my latest book, garden alchemy in the introduction. It’s how plants are teachers. And so how I learned perennial gardening was to take 300 pots with a green things, thinking out of it, put it in my front yard and then see what it did. And so there were some crazy wonderful successes where things would grow and I’d meet the most amazing plants. 20m 20s1 And then there was some things where all of a sudden, like right in front of, right in the very front border, in front of a bunch of other plants, I grew an eight foot tall Joe pie weed. That was almost impossible to dig out. Some of the things that he gave me were completely invasive. And I ended up digging them out for years afterwards. And then some were just these like completely beautiful collection plants, like little powder, blue Dutch, Irish that were delicate and gorgeous and would pop up and just bring you so much joy. So everything was just a learning experience, such a fun way to learn about perennials and, and perennials have a like very, I feel like I have a very close connection with them after doing this, this learning experience because they taught me so much. 21m 6s4 Well, I love perennials too. I mean, they’re just the best. I mean, you put them in and they last, you know, for so long, I mean, I know annual, sometimes they have some bright colors and they can make some bouquets that, but I just think perennials are the best. 21m 22s1 Yeah. And they provide, I mean, some of them have, you know, delicious edible parts to them. Some of them have medicinal parts. They provide so much food for pollinators. They provide shelter for backyard wildlife. I mean, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with filling your garden with perennials and other plants that, you know, are pretty low maintenance, but provide a lot of beauty and, and enjoyment throughout the year. 21m 47s4 So I want to hear about the recipes for the, you know, like the organic fertilizers or something about pest deterrence. Sure. 21m 60s1 Well, so my latest book that I just talked about garden alchemy is kind of a completely unique, interesting book that there’s nothing else out there like it. And it comes from my background as this organic gardener and permaculturist and herbalist. So it’s the idea that plants are medicine and permaculture is the idea of building regenerative gardens that, you know, can sustain themselves that are taking the active work of the gardener away from the garden and allowing these systems to completely support themselves the way mother nature would like the forest does. And this whole idea of like your, your home Gardner taking the home gardening mentality and applying these principles of plants as medicine and permaculture to it. 22m 43s1 So I wrote a recipe book. It’s, it’s actually like a cookbook and it’s got 80 recipes in there for everything from soil mixes to fertilizer blends, pest, deterrence, as you said, there’s, you know, there’s even there’s mixtures for like, what’s the best mix of backyard bird seed for your birds. There’s how to make the mix to go in a butterfly butterfly. Pedaler, there’s a whole bunch of, like I said, hallmates soil recipes, but there’s also compost tea, how to make a compost tea brewer, like all these, you know, vermicompost and then herbal concoctions. So you can take things like comfrey, which, you know, could be considered a weed or completely overgrown in your garden and take that beautiful plant and make a comfrey smoothie to then go and water your garden with and feed the plants or make a weed tea by steeping the weeds that you’re taking out of the garden, putting them in a pillowcase and a bucket, letting that steep, and then using that weed tea to feed your garden. 23m 41s1 So yeah. You wanted to hear about some of the pest deterrents. Well, they are, there’s so many herbs that naturally repel pests. So I’ve got a recipe in there. That’s got your typical pest deterrent recipe, which is with pepper and garlic and a little bit of, you know, blending that up in a, in a, in a blender. But there’s also, I also put on that page, a list of I’m going to guess, and say 12 or somewhere between 12 and 20 different herbs and what pests they repel. So if you’re looking for a specific pest, that’s sort of bothering you in your garden, you can pick some of these herbs, put it into the mix as well, strain it out, and then use that as your pest deterrent, because there’s so much, I mean, if you’re spraying mint on your plants, it’s not going to harm the plants, but it will help to deter some of the past that you don’t want on them. 24m 36s4 Whoa. Awesome. Sounds like it gets filled with tons of good recipes. So, but like she mixed it in the blender, like a pepper plant and, and like, is it like a dry, like, like the seeds? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you add water to it and put it in a Hmm. Yes, exactly. And then when do you spray that? Like when the plants, like when you see bugs or like as a preventative or like once a week or, 25m 11s1 Well, so I talk a lot about this in the chapter, on, on birds, bees and bugs because frankly, I, I’m not an anti bug Gardner. I think I believe that everything has a place in our backyard ecosystem. And so a pest deterrent is really something that’s going to help you manage an over growth or an over bloom of some sort of pests. That’s it? That’s bothering you. I also write in here very clearly that you want to try to allow your pest population to grow enough, to attract the beneficial insects in, to do the work for you. 25m 52s1 So if you’re, you know, indiscriminately spraying, pesticides, this is not a pesticide. I don’t have anything, any sides in this book, it’s all deterrence. And the idea is that you’ve got a plant that you really love and it’s, you know, really attracting aphids, well set up an aphid nursery somewhere else in your garden. Some plant far away from your prize plants and allow the aphids to grow on there, allow the aphids to build up enough of a population to bring in the beneficial insects, parasitic wasps, the lady bugs, the birds that are all going to come and eat the aphids for you. And once they fill up in your aphid nursery, they’re going to head out to the rest of the garden and make sure they’re picking off all the rest from your prize plants. 26m 36s1 So this was just more, you know, if, if you ha, if any of your listeners have cats, it’s the same thing. You’ve got cat with claws. You want to teach them to scratch the scratching post rather than scratch the couch, their sprays that you can put on them. And it’s a deterrent. So it’s making it less hospitable. It’s making it less attractive and you’re giving them a place to actually do the work that they need to do. So I’m not an anti bug gardener. I don’t want to kill anything, but I, I understand that people have a desire to have fewer pests. And I think accepting some allows you to have a much less work garden because you’re allowing more of the beneficials to come and do the job for you. 27m 17s1 And then you can sit back and relax and drink tea. 27m 20s0 That is a great way to put it. I don’t usually care about bugs too much, but I did have just like way too many Caterpillar holes in my kale this year. But Lisa Ziegler gave me a big lecture on putting row cover on top of my kale, like right after I plan it so that the Caterpillar mods don’t come and lay their eggs to begin with. And then I shouldn’t have as many kill holes in my kale, which don’t bother me as much. But if we were going to, if I’m going to give it away, I did actually have a lot of holes in my kit. 28m 1s0 Like there was a lot of kale that I didn’t even want to eat. It was so bad this year. So I got plenty of kale. I did. I mean, I did for just me, but yeah. So, and like, what do you, what are like aphid attractor, like sunflowers are right? What are some other EBIT attractions? 28m 20s1 You know, I think it’s different in everybody’s garden, which is quite funny because I know one of the, one of the herbs that I have here, that’s listed as a, that repels if it’s a still, but I have a friend in the neighborhood and she can’t keep aphids off of her dill. And she’s like bred this wonderful dill plant that just has its own little ecosystem of aphids on it. I’m just like what you’re hooked, because like you’ve, you’ve created something that is that’s allowed the, the aphids to, you know, adapt to it somehow. So I think really you can see in your garden very quickly, the ones that they’re liking. I know, I mean, something like a perennial plant, like Shasta daisies, they really love, there’s lots of vegetable plants that they love and you’re going to get different kinds of beef. 29m 8s1 It’s on different kinds of plants. Like for example, if you’ve got an Apple tree and beans, you’re going to have different kinds of aphids on both of those plants. So, you know, you can really just spend some time try and you don’t need to have trap plants for that exact kind of aphid. What you want to try to do is have trap plants that bring in lots of aphids so that you can bring in the beneficial insects and birds that will go around and, and go find the other aphids elsewhere. So it’s not like you have to, you know, make sure that you’re planting for specific <inaudible> species in order to, in order to get the benefits of having an aphid, nursery love all of that. 29m 50s0 It just sounds so beautiful. Like all the different options of flowers you can have and, and different things all working together and the biodiversity piece. So, yeah. 29m 60s1 Well, how I wrote the book was, like I said, it’s, it’s like a cookbook. So just like a cookbook, you would go through a cookbook, look at the different recipes and think about which ones you want to try and which ones make sense for you or your family. So it’s the same thing. You’re going through the book and you’re looking at the recipes and thinking about which ones work for your garden, but it’s also, we, I teach through all the recipes, how you can get to know your land and your space, understand the concepts behind it so that you can then make choices that work best for your garden, because there’s no, there’s no way to have a guide that has every answer for every question. But if you learn how to find the answers by experimenting and testing in your garden, then you can get all the answers for your particular space. 30m 47s3 Yeah, 30m 48s0 Just a natural teacher. That’s what I have an elementary teacher by trade. And that’s what we all strive to teach our students how to think critically and be able to find the information and come to a conclusion on your own and not just, you know, memorizing answers and things like that. 31m 7s3 Well, tell us about something that grew well this year. Okay. 31m 12s1 Hey, you know what? I tried tomatillos for the first time this year, which is I never tried tomatillos before. I actually hadn’t really eaten tomatillos before, which is quite funny, but I was at my, one of my local or farms and there was a bunch of plants, you know, it’s always hard to say no to all this vegetable starts. And I thought, Oh, I’ll just pick up this little tomatillo. Yeah. I know. Like we all, and then we get home and we’re like, Oh, where am I going to put all these? But it’s hard to say no. So I brought one home and just one, and usually you need two tomatillos. So I really didn’t expect much put it in the garden. And I actually didn’t know that you needed to until a little bit later in the season. Cause I didn’t think it through, I’d never grown it before through the tomatillo in put a tomato cage around it, it then grew to about eight feet tall flopped over the tomato cage. 31m 58s1 And I have three more stacking up beside it. And it produced just pounds of tomatillos this year. And I thought, well, I don’t know if they’re going to ripen because our season was a little bit strange, but they all, you know, they fell, the husks fell to the ground and I picked up baskets of them and couldn’t believe it. The flavor of them is amazing and I’ve been making salsa fair day and all these other recipes with them. So that was a really, really fun experience. And that’s pretty much how I’ve learned to grow everything. I’m still learning. And you know, so I’m not an expert in tomatillos by any means, but I had a really great fun experience with them this year. It was, it was an interesting, it was definitely an interesting plant that I’m going to make sure I do even better next year, because now it’s going to be part of my garden after how delicious it is. 32m 48s0 Right. Do they taste like tomatoes? I don’t know that I’ve ever had tomatillos either. 32m 53s1 It’s hard to explain that. So they they’re in a husk and as you open up the house, they don’t taste like tomatoes. Quite they, mine had the crispiness, almost of a Apple and a little bit of sweetness and sourness at the same time. The, I mean, if you think of a salsa Verde, which is almost like a green tomato salsa, like you can make, I think you can make us also very day with common DEOs of course, but also with green tomatoes. So imagine that sort of firmer green tomato tastes, but less there’s a little less umami in it. It’s, it’s more bright and cheery and sweet. 33m 34s1 Oh, they were just amazing. I took a whole bunch of different ones at different stages of ripeness and took little slices and tasted them, but then cooking them all together and making the sauce. Was it just, yeah, it changed everything. It’s delicious. 33m 48s4 Well, that’s kind of what happened 33m 49s0 With me, but the tomatoes was like, part of it was just, I think we had such a warm fall there. Like we got our first freeze in September and I thought they were just going to be done like a week later, but they weren’t and they just kept turning red and turning red and turning red. And like, I got to make so many different batches and just, and it was just, I got so much for my labor. It was just so worth it. So I finally found a recipe for homemade salsa that worked for me. I think the secret was, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked it before. And this was a recipe that you cooked and you added a little can of tomato paste to it, which I have to say, but it was just, it was really good. 34m 33s0 So that was 34m 35s1 That sauce. Like, was that something that you could then? 34m 38s0 Well, that was going to be my plan, but I didn’t read the recipe enough. I know nothing about canning. I was going to have my husband do it cause he does it. And I guess with tomatoes, you have to peel them because it changes the pH. And also like the bacteria can grow on the tomato skins. You can’t can tomatoes that have their skins on them. And I didn’t blanch them and throw the skins away. I have the skins. So I read that part after he’s like, well, where are the directions? And I got the directions. And so I froze it, which we did buy a chest freezer this year, which was another game changer. 35m 14s1 Oh, that totally is a game changer. Yeah. I think every gardener needs to have a chest freezer because yeah, we’ve wondered really. 35m 21s0 I know what the deal is. It just seems like the deals are on Facebook, in the Facebook groups. Like we’ve never seen, we’ve gotten things that we have wanted for years because they’ve been, but they also were like, you have to be like the first one to like, be like, I’ll take that. And so it just worked out that we finally got a chest freezer. I don’t even think we paid $200 for it. So it was a really good deal. It’s a nice big clean one and yeah. So, well tell us about something you’re excited. You different next year or something you haven’t tried before that you’re going to do new. 35m 57s1 Hmm. Well, what I’ve been transitioning to over the years is I’ve been taking out. So as much as I love my perennials, I’ve been taking my ornamental plants out of the garden, herbs gaping. So I’ve really come into wanting to try all sorts of different herbs in the garden. So I’ll plant like five different kinds of calendula and five different kinds of camomile and three different kinds of Stevia so that I can really try the different varieties. And because I’m still in a small urban garden, I’ve moved since that first garden, but I still on a standard size a lot. And I’ve packed hundreds of plants in here. I need to make sure that if I’m going to have herbs growing that I have to pull out some of the ornamental ones, but like 36m 38s0 Where do you get those plants? Five different types of Camry on, Oh, 36m 44s1 We have, I get them from Richter’s herbs. So I, I order online the seeds and then start them in my own little indoor grow on my under grow lights system. 36m 55s0 Heatmaps to get them to take off. It 36m 57s1 Depends. It depends on the seats like heat to germinate some don’t. I do love using heatmaps they’re inexpensive. And I mean, the lights will provide a little bit of heat as well and warm the soil, especially if your tray is quite small, but, but the heat really helps some Germany much more quickly. I mean, some of them will still germinate in time, but it just takes a lot longer. If you don’t have the heat there, you can also make one just by putting, you know, strings of Christmas lights and plugging those in and putting them underneath. But the heat mats are fairly inexpensive. I’ve been using mine for probably 10 or 12 years and they still work just fine. So it’s, I think it’s a worthwhile investment. 37m 35s0 I think we’re going to have to put that on our Christmas list this year. 37m 38s1 Heat mats. Yes. That’s a great, yeah. There’s so many fun things that you can get for your own seed starting and then we’ll, you know, grow 37m 46s0 Well. And the other thing I’ve always wanted to grow our petunias and Mike says, and, and this neighbor mind, she’s like, look what, my eight year old niece drew. And I’m like, what? I’m like, how did she grow petunias? I was that they were so hard. And then I was like, did you have a heat? And she’s like, well, yeah, of course. And I was like, Oh, 38m 6s1 Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. I have my note and I have a garden studio, which is a garage that’s converted into a studio space and I have a grow light shelf that I’ve built theirs on my, on my website, garden therapy.ca if you search in the search bar for grow light shelf, you’ll see that, how I set that one up with just a Ikea wood shelf. And then I’ve got the grill lights on top and the heat mats underneath. And I can start. I mean, I always start, as we all do, if we start our own seeds, hundreds, more plants than can actually plant in my garden. So then there’s also the neighborhood, the neighborhood giveaway after I have to try to thin these things out and hope they go to new homes. 38m 47s1 But yeah, so I I’m, I’ve been transforming my whole garden into herbs gaping so that I can test out all these different herbs. And I found a Stevia variety that I really like Stevie. I don’t know if you’ve grown Stevia, but I am totally into Stevia. Like, it’s my, it’s probably one of my favorite things to grow because I don’t eat sugar and I love Stevia. Some people don’t like that bitterness, that bitter flavor of it because they see it as a sugar alternative or a sugar substitute. But I see it as an herb. I mean, Stevia has this wonderful ability to in your gut, it helps to release the biofilm. 39m 28s1 That’s hiding some bacteria on the inside of your gut. So it helps to allow the good bacteria to get in behind the biofilm that might be protecting some of the bad bacteria in there. So not only are you having something that tastes sweet and makes your food sweeter, and you’re not having sugar in your system, but you’re also having an EO, a healing herb that gives you that benefit. And when you grow it in your garden, it grows really easily. Get some really nice plants. I drive the leaves hole and then strip them, put them in a blender and blend it. Like I have a Vitamix. And so I blended into a really, really fine powder. And that powder lasts me throughout the year because you just need a tiny little bit when you’re adding it to tea or baking or whatever it’s green. 40m 12s1 So it makes your baking green, which is also kind of fun, but it tastes amazing. 40m 20s0 And it’s so natural. Yes, 40m 23s1 No, I love, I love it. When people come over to the garden and they don’t 40m 26s0 Sort of get a sense for Stevia 40m 29s1 And like what it is, they might’ve heard of it as a sugar substitute because you know, the keto thing is really popular in the low carb and all that stuff. And I’ll give them a leaf of it and they taste it and their face is like, Holy cow, like this is so sweet. Cause it’s so much sweeter than sugar. And then it’s got that little bit of bitterness that they’re, don’t really understand. But to me when I’ve dried it and blended it, it tastes like it smells and tastes like green tea. That’s quite sweet. So I quite like it. I had a matcha tea for matcha latte for my breakfast this morning. So I’m, I’m into the green tea to begin with. So a little bit of Stevia tastes fabulous with your much a latte. 41m 7s0 I bought a Stevia plant at the farmer’s market one year and grit and yeah, it is amazing. I am looking at the shelf building plans. You built that. I mean, it looks so complicated to me. I’m like, look at the chains and changing the lights. So like, you know, some plans are higher and lower and that, but it does. I it’s amazing to me how much you’ve got growing in a small space. There actually 41m 32s1 You can get a growing in a really, really small space. Yeah. You need the chains on the light. So it’s actually really easy. It’s just chains from the hardware store and a couple of hooks that go right in, it’s just a pine shelf from Ikea. So it’s very soft. So you don’t even need a tool to screw one of those hooks with the, the threaded screw on the end of it. So screw a hookin, hang a chain. And then you can hang, you want your light to be right down at where the plants are, right. So you don’t want to have it hovering about, you know, 12 inches above you want the light right down where the plants are. So as the plants grow, you have to, you know, pull the chain up so that you’re lifting the lights. And I’ve got one of my books because as you said, I’ve written 10. 42m 14s1 One of my books is in my, in my bookstore here on the website is called to get growing. And it’s all about seed starting. So a couple of years ago, I actually even had a seed collection with, with garden trends and picked out all these different seeds that were in specific specialty collection. So I had a kid’s gardening collection and ornamental edibles collection, natural beauty collection, and wrote this book to really help people get started with seed starting in a way that’s, you know, easy and helpful. So all the plans for this are in there as well, but with a lot more information on soil, temperature and seed starting mix and you know, everything that you need to make sure that they’re your seeds get started. 42m 58s1 If you start your seeds in the right way, then you’re going to have a healthier plant to begin with. And it’s going to have less past, less disease, less challenges, and you know, better production. So you definitely want to start your seeds properly and not stress them out in those early days. 43m 14s4 Yeah. My husband talks about that a lot. He’s always been the big seed grower in our house, but yeah, he probably would like some peanuts. I think he’d like some more light to tell us about something that didn’t go the way you thought it was gonna. 43m 37s1 Oh, well I think nothing goes the way you think it’s going to, I mean, my tomatillos didn’t go the way I thought they were going to go and Stevia doesn’t go the way I think it’s going to go. I, I, you know what I try to have, not that many expectations. I don’t want to, you know, buy a plant, put it in the garden and then have an expectation that it’s supposed to do a certain thing. I buy it, put it in the garden and learn from it. So it’s very practical, very hands-on and, and I would just observe, but I’m also, I mean, I, I don’t know. People could think I’m callous if something is not performing well and it’s not, you know, doing what it needs to do. 44m 22s1 I have no problem ripping that thing out and putting it in the compost bin. Like I there’s no grieving. There’s know it’s just not working then it’s fine. I’m really very much that, you know, the garden is there for you to, you know, work together with the garden. You work together with the land, you work together with the plants. However, it shouldn’t be a strain or make you feel stressed out if it does, and it’s becoming a chore, then you’re not doing it right. You need to do it so that it’s feeding you and supporting you. So yeah, something doesn’t work. It gets hauled out to the compost. There’s no ceremony. It’s just gone. 44m 60s0 That’s a good attitude. Well, Stephanie, this is where we get to the lightning round or it’s called getting to the root of things, which is kind of like a lightning round at other shows. So do you have a least favorite activity in the garden? You have to kind of force yourself to get out and do. 45m 17s1 Yeah, I don’t like watering. So I build a garden that is very sustainable on its own. 45m 28s0 What are some tips for like sustainability water? Right? Cause water is always a big struggle with us. And I don’t mind watering like on a hot sunny afternoon and standing out there that can be therapeutic. But what I struggle with is like, Mike will be like, did you water today? Did you water today? Water today? Like, and, and my tomatoes, I even had a huge problem with, and I did not harvest anywhere near as many tomatoes as I should have because I had to throw a lot of way. Cause they got that. Is it blossom, end rot where they turn Brown on the bottom. I was so disappointed, but the good thing was that if I did water them a lot, I was able to save a lot, but I should have harvested so many more tomatoes than I did. 46m 15s1 You know, I it’s, it’s part of a permaculture process. It’s about collecting water and allowing the system to retain water and then making the plants strong enough that they can survive with less water and find water on their own. So I am lucky because I live in a rainforest temperate rainforest here in Vancouver. And so there isn’t a lot of watering to do year round. However, in the summer we’ve been getting much more drought conditions. So we have, you know, two to three months now where we’re on watering restrictions. And so you want to water infrequent and deeply pick plants that get strong roots when you’re establishing plants, try to help them establish so that they are getting water and building, they’re reaching down deeply with their roots to mine, their own water. 47m 6s1 And that way there’ll be a lot stronger and sustain themselves between waterings much more. So I have soaker hoses that I have going through this herbs, gaping that I’ve done and my vegetable garden, because you know, there’s a lot of new annual plants that go in there, all the perennials they’re on their own. So they might get a couple of supplemental waterings throughout the year, but generally the trees and shrubs and everything, unless it’s, you know, really smokey, which has been happening with wildfire smoke last couple of years, then I’ll give them a little bit of extra water. But you know, I have soaker hoses that go through the rest of the garden. It’s on a timer and it goes once to twice a week. And so for annual plants, I’m not watering every day. 47m 47s1 I try not to plant and containers anymore because containers take so much watering time and they dry out so quickly. And the other thing is I never ever water my lawn. I’ve been replacing my lawn over the last couple of years with Clover and that those Clover plants have such strong root systems. It stays green and lush. I barely, I think I mowed five times over the season and I didn’t water it once. And I had a green lush lawn for the entire year. So it’s beautiful Clover lines all the way. 48m 20s0 I love all of that. We don’t really water our lawn during the year, partly because like my husband has this thing, I call them mini farm. Like water is pretty much going like wheel water at night, which I don’t know. Maybe we should do that, but I don’t think we can leave the water running all night long. And then it wouldn’t. I think it would be like we would run out of water by the morning, but between his mini farm, like he waters all morning down in the mini farm. And then I water in the evening and the gardens around her house. And then like we have 13 fruit trees I think. And I try to give them a deep watering once every two weeks, if not more. 49m 1s0 But often it turns out to be less. I just seems like we’re always running out of water and, but these are great tips. You’ve just dropped show many golden seeds. Like I just love so much about that. You know, the strong roots and watering deeply, and this other friend of mine came out this summer and she was like, I don’t, because what I do is I set the timer for six minutes or nine, six to nine minutes and like, and then I move it and then I move it every, because I have like 13 spaces, I think that are small. They’re not, they’re, they’re deep beds, so they’re not quite container beds. And so it’s just like this little round circle of water staying within the deep bed. 49m 41s0 Like some of the beds I have to do one side and then the other side. So there’s these 13 spots that I’m moving it every six to nine minutes depending. So it takes like 90 minutes of me just moving every single night. And I don’t know, she was like, why don’t you just water deeper and not have to move it so many times, but they are so dry. I don’t know. Maybe if I did them for, I think I would have to do it for like 20 to 30 minutes each spot for it not to need water the next day. Yeah. Well, I mean, I dries out really, 50m 13s1 If you’re watering shallow and frequently, then the roots are looking for water up near the top of the soil, which dries out more quickly. But if you’re encouraging the roots to F to look for water down deeper, the soil holds 50m 29s0 The water down lower. And so you don’t have to water as often. So you watering shallow for a short period of time is training the trees to dry out quickly. So you have to train them. You have to train the plants to look for their own water down low, where it doesn’t evaporate as quickly, right. As it does in the top bit of soil. But how do I get the water down there? We can just soak, just keep soaking it. Oh, wait. It’s what your friend was saying. Never gets that way or I don’t know. Yeah. I guess On the flip side, what’s your favorite activity to do in the garden? 51m 13s0 I think harvest probably two things. One I read in a book that I absolutely loved is called trauma farm by Brian Brett. It’s a memoir of Brian Brett’s farm, which he lovingly calls trauma farm. And one of the things he did is he got up every morning naked, put on his gumboots and went and walked the garden. And why can’t do that in the city. So I put on clothes, but doing a morning garden walk to just go and see what’s going on in the garden. I absolutely love it. And then I go and I pick things. So I’ll harvest some calendula flowers and I’ll pick a, like a little, a few little snacks out there. So it’s really a very loving way to start your day to get out and sort of get that little bit of garden therapy, right from the right, from the get-go. 51m 57s0 But in the city I wear clothes. It would be fun to do at noon. Well, I’ll tell you when I first moved here, show Mike and I have the last 20 acres of his, he grew up on a 1200 acre ranch. I used to be able to walk around and not have to worry about that, but anymore we have neighbors everywhere. I mean, I can’t even walk out my kitchen door without people seeing me, but I can’t participate in naked gardening day then no, but participate in doing a Morton morning garden walk because there was some point last summer where I realized part of the problem. 52m 39s0 Like the reason I don’t see the Caterpillar bugs on the keel or the little catalyst puddles. Cause I rarely do go to our garden in the morning. I’m most often only go down there like five or six at night when I’m done working or whatever I’m doing for the day. So I think that would be a good thing. And certainly no on the flip side, enjoying the garden, I spend more time sitting in the garden and I’m reading in the garden at night, but I did realize I don’t do that morning Gordon walk. And I think that’s crucial to pay attention to your garden and learn and see things that are going on. Yeah. It’s, it’s such a good teaching tool and you would, you would pick those caterpillars in the morning and it would really help to control the population just by handpicking them. 53m 25s0 Yeah, because I didn’t think I was like, there’s no bug and seen any bugs. And then I realized, cause I was talking to one of my guys, I was telling you, I think it was Erica Nolan about it. And she was saying, I was telling her that I put the nematodes in and that Lisa Ziegler had said, you know, it’s the Moss and this and that, but the row cover on top of the keel. And she was like, well, have you gone and looked and seen what’s growing? And I’m like, I haven’t seen anything. And then, but I went down in the morning, like the next day after our interview. And that’s when I did see there were these little EWT teeny tiny Caterpillar bugs in the Dew crawling off of the leaves. So anyway, Stephanie, what’s the best gardening advice you’ve ever received. 54m 8s1 Hmm. I think it’s to let the plants teach you and that’s from the herbalists. So it’s funny because the advice that you get from gardeners is all practical of how you make the plants grow. But really herbalists treat plants as allies and allow us to learn what the plants can do for us and how we can work together with them, by listening to them and reading their messages. So for example, something like Rose Rose is a beautiful herbs for the skin on your face. And it tells us this because those pedals, those soft satiny pedals have the feel of what your skin can feel like on your face. 54m 57s1 If you add Rose into your routine, you can make a rosewater toner. You can make rosewater, lotion, face cream, all those sorts of things. I do all that. I’ve got recipes on the blog for all those things, extracting that beautiful healing property of Rose and putting it on your face. But we find out by listening to the plants, the plants are telling us messages. They’re just telling us in a way that we don’t know how to read. So I think the best advice I’ve gotten is, is from the herbalism perspective and taking that as a way, not just forging or going out into the wild and looking at plants there, but looking at our cultivated plants in our garden and listening to the messages that they’re giving us as well. 55m 38s0 Wow. That’s awesome. I am a big, I love herbs and I think listening to your plants, I’m looking round and I love that, that analogy of the Rose pedals on the, that they’re good for your face. What’s your favorite tool? Like is there a tool if you had to move, 55m 59s1 You don’t live without my soil knife, Hori, Hori. Oh, the soil man. Everything, everything. I love my soil knife. Yeah. It’s I only really carry. I have, I have an apron, a gardening apron that I wear called a roo apron, which I love too. And in it is a pair of pruners and my soil knife and I have my gloves on and I can pretty much do everything with just that. So knife has a cerated part on it where you can just hack things back very quickly. So instead of like doing the act of pruning something, if you need to hack something back, but then it’s also got, it allows you to dig like a travel so small spaces or it can get in there and really cut roots. 56m 39s1 And it’s got a little hook on it so that you can cut like, like string and wire. If you need to cut string or wire, it’s an amazing tool. It’s it’s, it’s like an extension of my hand. And I think anybody who uses a soil knife or a horny knife cannot get enough of it. 56m 57s0 I think you’re right there. What’s your favorite recipe you like to cook or eat from the garden? 57m 4s1 I think I’m going to go back to Stevia because I make a herbal tea every day that I, that I drink all day long. So it’s a cold tea made with hibiscus Rose hip and a bunch of different herbs that are full of vitamins and minerals. So things like oats, straw, nettles, you know, all these different yummy herbs. And I make three big one liter Mason jars of it a day. So I put a tablespoon of each one of these herbs in fill it with boiling water, let it cool, strain it and add Stevia to it. And a little bit of lemon juice. And I drink that every day. And honestly, I feel like a million bucks. I feel like I’m just like getting vitamins and minerals and there’s a recipe for it on my website as well in case people are looking for it and they want to recreate it. 57m 52s1 But my son who’s seven loves it. And I sent it to school in his water bottle all the time. So I’m like dosing my kid with herbs every day, which is amazing. And he drinks it. Like Kool-Aid like, you know, he doesn’t know what Kool-Aid tastes like because he drinks hibiscus ice tea. But I remember inviting one of his friends over here. He had invited one of his friends over before the pandemic and, and I said, Oh, you know, when your friend comes over, we can have ice tea. And he looks at his friend and he said, we’re going to have a biscuit ice tea kid was looking at him like he is speaking a different language, but he was so excited about it. I love it. Little horrible children 58m 29s0 And vitamin or hibiscus is full of vitamin C, I think. Right. They’re saying right now, like the three big things we all need that help will help prevent Corona are what is it? Vitamin C zinc, vitamin D and vitamin D. Is that the three? The sun excellent show. Oh, listeners. You definitely want to go get that recipe. 58m 55s1 Yeah. The Rose hips too are also really full of vitamin C. So I do, I collect the Rose hips from my garden. I don’t grow the hibiscus. I do buy that as a dried herbs because I’m in a temperate garden. It’s a little bit harder to grow, but I, I grow most of what I, most of what I can make my tea with. 59m 13s0 How about a favorite internet resource? Where do you find yourself surfing on the web? 59m 19s1 I I’ll be honest. I really love books. So I’ll go on the library website and see what all the new books are that are out or I’ll buy the new books that are coming out at the bookstore. And I sit and I, I sit on my couch and I read them. It’s, it’s like a throwback to 2006 when I was sick and lying in my bed and reading all about all the gardening books. There’s so many amazing books that are coming out. And I was going to tell you about one because Nikki Jabbar, I’m sure, you know, Nikki Jabbar, she’s got a great new book coming out called growing undercover. And that book is, it’s got a lot of different ideas for row covers and, and growing things to protect from pests. 1h 0m 2s1 It’s not just, you know, obviously it’s from weather as well and extending the season, but it looks like a fantastic book. So I’m super excited about that one. And of course, as an author, I want people to sit and read books as well. I want people to, you know, grab a garden, a copy of garden alchemy or some of my other books and sit and read and be inspired, like spend the winter thinking about how are we going to grow a better garden next year? I’ve learned so much from, from books and you know what, I’m a, I’m a blogger. I’ve got a website. I, you know, I absolutely love the internet, but I still think that there’s so much value in these beautiful, hard copy books that people have put their heart and soul into. 1h 0m 41s0 Yeah. And how often do you ever go back and reread a blog post? As much as you reread a book fake Nikki D bores four season vegetable garden. I think it’s called is one of my favorite garden books and Ninja board finally sent she’s going to do an interview with me. She even booked a time and she melted my heart. Cause she said, I have actually listened to your podcast and enjoyed your conversations. I couldn’t believe it. 1h 1m 7s1 Oh yeah. She’s an amazing person. Is one of the, she’s one of the best garden teachers out there. I would definitely, yeah, I would definitely say she’s, she’s one of my gardening heroes. 1h 1m 20s0 Me too. So I’m super excited for that. Well, is there anything else you want to talk about before I ask my final question? And then you can tell listeners how to connect with you? 1h 1m 30s1 No, I don’t think so. We’ve covered so much in this talk. Yeah. I, I it’s been so much fun. It’s you? You were, we’ve been all over the map, but I’m really, I feel like we’ve covered so much. 1h 1m 42s0 Cool. Well, I’m glad I, it has been so fun. I love podcasting. It’s great to be back on the mic and talking to someone who’s so passionate and just has so much to teach. I feel like you’ve dropped tons of golden seeds and you know, that’s the best part of my show is just that we’re all learning so much about how we can save our planet and be better stewards of the environment and just star it leads right into my final questions. So Stephanie, if there’s 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 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? 1h 2m 28s1 That’s such a great question. And you know, it’s one that I thought a lot about. That’s why I did the organic master gardeners program. And I do all the work with children’s gardens because somewhere I read and I truly believe that if you teach children to love plants and the earth they’ll take care of it. And so I feel like the thing that we can do is help the next generation help the younger generation fall in love with the earth and really, really understand the depth of the beauty and value that it provides to us. I actually spent the whole summer, I took a lot of the summer off and my son and I spent a lot of time camping and it changed everything for us because it was a safe COVID activity to do. 1h 3m 16s1 And we were outside all the time and we just, we lived, we slept in our van for probably 30 days of the summer. And it changed everything that connection to plants I’d come home, I’d garden, we’d go out and we’d camp. And just that whole summer spent with plants gave us a whole new perspective. I think he’s going to grow up. Like he already loves plants and he he’s going to grow up wanting to protect this earth. 1h 3m 40s0 Oh my gosh. My heart is just like melting. Cause I did, I mention I’m an elementary teacher by trade. And so I wanted to ask about like, she, you said you did some of your Montana, I mean your master garden, volunteering at a form that had urban kids come learn. So like, what did you go there? Like once a week? Or like, I was curious how that worked out. 1h 4m 5s1 Yeah. It’s unfortunately the program’s done now, which is too bad. It’s called the intergenerational land and learning program. And it was at the university of British Columbia in there in the UBC farm. They brought in a bus load of school children for the entire school year. So starting in September and then all the way through to the end of the year to they came in once every two weeks. And so every second week would be a different group of children. And then they would learn all about growing their own food and where it came from. So of course it’s a really weird growing season to do so in September they would have the garden beds from the previous year’s kids and they would see what was growing harvest. 1h 4m 48s1 It learn how to cook with it, you know, really interact with the plants, then prepare the beds for winter. And in January and February, we would go into the school instead of out to the farm and help the kids plan, the, what they wanted to grow. So we would go through the seed catalogs, they would pick out what they wanted to plant in their garden. They worked in small groups. So they were, we were in groups of like three to four students who were elementary school aged. And then there was farm friends. So there was a master gardener, a and a UBC student that usually work together with the kids. So it was like this intergenerational idea of, you know, getting back to the land and learning about it. So then they would plan their garden and we would plant the seeds, start the seeds, indoors, move them out, transplant them, allow them to grow harvest a little bit by June, but really they would then send the garden off to the next crew who would come in the following September and harvest and learn about cooking the plants, beautiful, beautiful program. 1h 5m 48s1 It ran for 15 years and unfortunately it lost its funding and it’s no longer continuing, but I took the experience that I had with that and ended up setting up gardens wherever my son is. So when he was at daycare, I set them up at his daycare and now he’s in an after-school care program and I’ve set a sensory garden up there for the kids. So just trying to do whatever I can to bring these gardens out into the community. What age were the kids that came to the college? 1h 6m 17s4 It was little scores or 1h 6m 19s1 Middle schoolers or high school or no, definitely elementary school age. So generally like grades three to four. Nice. Yeah. That’s my favorite age to work with. Oh yeah. They were taught third grade last year and it was just like, I can’t believe it was like my last year teaching possibly. And I waited like all those years and I finally got into third grade. Okay, good. Well, what I found about the kids is that they were very eager and excited to try everything, but they have no filter. So they say everything that’s on their mind. So it’s really great age to teach because they share everything with 1h 6m 56s4 You. That’s a great way to learn 1h 6m 58s1 Too, because they’re not afraid to share their questions. Whereas you get into the older grades and they’re already shy to raise their hands and stuff. Yeah. And I mean, these are kids that are in like re very urban areas or inner city. So they don’t always have access to land and a garden space. Maybe they live in condos. And so they start off the year and you know, we’re asking them questions like, you know, can you list off a vegetable? And they’re saying pizza is a vegetable too, at the end of the year, holding their belly and saying, Oh, I hate too many kill flowers. My tummy hurts. And you’re just like, yeah. 1h 7m 31s4 Yes, we win. Yes. We’ll tell the stores how to connect with you. You’re well, you can 1h 7m 44s1 Therapy.ca right? That’s right. Yeah. That’s, it’s the, it’s the best place to find me. So you can Google garden therapy, Google garden therapy, Stephanie, or go directly to garden therapy.ca. And on my website, I’ve got links to where you can find my books. There’s tons and tons and tons of articles there on, I feature a lot of herbs. I have a lot of DIY projects. I do a lot of plant-based beauty. So a lot of using Herb’s and showing you how to make your own skincare there. So there’s lots of recipes on there. And I also have courses. So because as an author, I would go to all the garden shows and gardening clubs, and I would do lots of seminars. And I love talking to people about these things live and sort of doing this, as you said, teaching, because I do love to share. 1h 8m 31s1 I love to share what I learned and help people find that same connection with the earth I with COVID. I started putting them online. So I, I have a core section there where I’ve got courses on, on some of my books on garden alchemy. So it’s got really great place, really great things that you can get started with right now. Cause this is airing in January. It’s a really great way to start looking at your soil, thinking about composting, how are you going to set up your garden for the year? And it’s a great companion to garden alchemy. It’s also got workbooks and things included. So I did a lot of extra stuff around the book that make that take sort of the book to life and then add a whole bunch of extra resources if people want to learn a little bit more. 1h 9m 14s1 So yeah, I hope people will go and check out the courses as well, because it’s a great way to spend the winter thinking about gardening and learning. 1h 9m 21s0 And there are great prices on the courses, $12, not like a lot of courses that are like, you know, a hundred dollars or whatever. That’s totally affordable and doable and they look awesome. I just love your website. Well, Stephanie, you’re probably like, is this woman ever gonna let me get off the phone with her? How fun it is. You’re probably like how long is this interview going to go? So I will let you go. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. And I will send you the link when it’s live and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, stay safe and healthy to your family and just have a great day. 1h 9m 54s1 Thank you to you as well. This has been so much fun. I just absolutely love talking to you and enjoying your energy and enthusiasm. So thank you for having me. 1h 10m 3s0 Thanks for saying that because I got a lot of like, this podcast is great. If it wasn’t for the host reviews last year, it was just like, I hadn’t been to iTunes in like months and like two years. And, and I go on there to like, I was making this like speaker PDF and I wanted to get a testimonial. Oh my heart just broke saying that. I’m glad you liked my energy. 1h 10m 28s1 Yeah, no, your energy. I mean, the questions that you asked and the energy really helps to it, it makes the conversation flow and I’ve had a great time. So yeah, I would definitely sit and talk to you any day that you want to. 1h 10m 41s0 Thanks, Stephanie. Well, you can always come back. I’m always looking for guests. So you are welcome anytime you have a wonderful Saturday. Thank you. Okay. Take care. Bye-bye bye.