Episode 16: Joey and Holly Baird expert gardeners from The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener
Joey and Holly Baird from thewisconsinvegetablegardener.com. They are a couple living in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin who produce weekly online videos, write for a number of newspaper, and also have a quarterly digital magazine. Their information not only covers organic vegetable gardening, but cooking, canning, homesteading, urban gardening, and more. This information is valid for everybody, regardless of where they live. They reach a worldwide audience.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
Joey grew up on an agricultural farm. Holly grew up in suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Joey always had a garden growing up full of tomatoes, green beans, peppers, etc. Holly had a small garden about 4’x4’ with sunflower seeds that grew out of the compost pile.
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
Grandparents gardened that way naturally, and because that was how you had vegetables to eat. OG is a way to mimic nature, make less of an impact on nature, and get reward of harvesting probably a better harvest!
Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?
Just thought food does take a little bit of work so why would you add chemicals to the healthy food that you are growing?
How did you learn how to garden organically?
Pick it up from older generation, lots of information on internet that will save you a lot of time and learn what grows in your area which is so important.
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
Jerusalem Artichokes also known as Sunchokes – a white tuber that grows sort of like a potato but is less starchy.
Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?
Going to grow some yacons ( a tropical plant but can grow in Wisconsin?) can eat and cook
watermelon crossed with an apple but they look like sweet potatoes
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
Tomato horn worm got into tomatoes
Something that you find is easy to grow and is generally successful every-time.
Leaf lettuce and root vegetables and generally tomatoes grow well too.
Something you’d steer new gardeners away from that you find is typically challenging to grow in your climate.
Really hot peppers.
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.
Flat tine garden fork for aerating soil, compost, digging up potatoes
Eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time?
Tomatoes ripen from inside out and bottom to top. Harvest if you start to see a pigment change on the bottom, then go ahead and pick it.
Do you have any secrets for preserving food-making it last?
Can can, pickle, use lacto fermantation, dehydrate things, store in a root cellar or cool storage in home. Facebook groups – people are sharing recipes. Canning is definitely a science, simple but takes some prep work. Use a recipe that was published after 1995, can always talk to local extension agent to check on safety. Need to know the difference between high acid and low acid foods so you know how to can SAFELY.
Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?
Jerusalem artichokes in with a roast or can make hash browns. Or slice raw and dip with hummus or guacamole.
A favorite recipe you like to cook?
Fresh tomatoes and mushrooms or spinach, fresh butter, maybe chicken or shrimp over spaghetti squash. Saute of Kale and bacon.
A favorite internet resource?
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can share
Niki Jabbour from Nova Scotia – The Year Round Vegetable Gardener
If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?
If you want to sell produce it really depends on where you are located in the country, so you want to talk to other gardeners, farmers, etc who are in the area and who you are going to sell to, who is your market and target audience is and then grow the food they are going to buy.
Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the earth either in your local area or on a national or global scale?
Would like to see more people garden, realize where your food comes from average American meal travels 1500 miles from farm to table.
Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
You’re going to kill plants which will teach you what not to do next time, so start with extras because you’re going to have failures so if you have back up plants.
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