Social Justice WWOOFer | Kat Bien | Arizona

Kat and I talk about the two not touch puzzles in the NY Times my mom loves. Here’s the website if you want to try them.

and here’s one of the videos I made on how to solve them with some tips and tricks to make it easier.

Square Foot Gardening
Kat’s Recommended book

All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

Unedited Transcript:

Speaker 1 (0s): Hey, green future growers. Welcome to Season 3. I’m your host JackieMarie Beyer. If you’re new to the show, I hope you’ll subscribe on iTunes for free or follow on your favorite podcast app and let’s get growing. Hey everyone. This is Jackie Morey buyer. Your host here to help inspire you on your journey to create, grow, and enjoy a green, organic Oasis. So let’s get growing.¬†

Welcome to the green organic garden. It is Tuesday four 20 day. And I don’t know if it’s a bonus or not that you missed the preach at that. I forgot to record and we fortunately got disconnected or we would have lost the whole interview, but I have the most amazing rock star millennial online. Kepian welcome to the green organic garden podcast. We are so excited to hear from you. How’s your day going?¬†

Speaker 2 (1m 8s): Thank you. It’s going well. I’m inside now cooling down. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona. So it gets pretty toasty over here, but otherwise I’m having a great day. Well, you¬†

Speaker 1 (1m 20s): Were saying it was 99 degrees in our first conversation. So go ahead and tell listeners a little bit about you and your awesome husband. 

Speaker 2 (1m 31s): Yeah, of course. So, like I said, we live here in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s me and my husband. We live in downtown and our two dogs, Eddie and Louie, and I’m in my master’s in social work in my first year and I have lots of hobbies. I kind of tend to bounce from one thing to another. So I play guitar. I do crosswords and I’ve recently started my own little garden.¬†

So that’s kind of how we got here.¬†

Speaker 1 (2m 6s): Have you tried those a two star to not start or I forgot what they’re called, but they’re like, it’s kind of a number thing, but my mom likes them and she loves crosswords.¬†

Speaker 2 (2m 17s): Like the Sudoku. 

Speaker 1 (2m 19s): It’s kinda like a pseudo Yoko, but a little bit challenging to not touch. It’s called.¬†

Speaker 2 (2m 27s): Okay. I haven’t tried that one. I love puzzles though. All¬†

Speaker 1 (2m 32s): Right. I’ll send you the link to that anyway. And you’re gonna be woofing this summer coming up in June and San Diego.¬†

Speaker 2 (2m 44s): Yes. So I’ll be at a farm for most of the month of San Diego. They have primarily crops and then they have chickens, but I’ll be there and very excited to get out of the heat and to have my first Wolf experience, which you have a whiff too, right? Am I correct? Or¬†

Speaker 1 (3m 5s): So that’s how I found you. So I finally signed up to maybe bring some Wolfers here last summer before the pandemic was even like an inkling in my head just to put on a seat, would we, would anybody be interested? I mean, we’re not really set up for guests, so they would have to be campers. And I was just kind of curious about how all that would work, but my husband, he grows like kind of the mini farm and then he’s had so much to do.¬†

And, and we did have people that really wanted to come. Even in the pandemic. I felt really bad saying no, but one, we don’t like, I was worried one because I was out of work, like would I actually be able to afford to feed people after I offered this? And then I was thinking like, oh, a couple would be great because they could be in a tent. Cause it does get out. We’re like the opposite.¬†

We get really cold at night, even in the summer. And then I was like, wait, how am I going to feed two people in a family and people that wanted to come. But I also was worried about my husband’s super high risk and I just didn’t know. And I was like, is it irresponsible to bring people here? Should we bring people? So we ended up not having people come. Like I’ve talked to a few about my guests, about how, like, I feel like one of the biggest things we need to build at our place is like a public outdoor, really nice high quality bathroom.¬†

Because even if people came with campers, there would be a really nice bathroom or I’d really like to do like farm dinners, family dinners. I really nice because we just have a very small cabin with my husband and I actually use the outhouse or the toilet does work, but just, I don’t know, I’ve been using it for so long. I love my outhouse and my stepdaughters are, most people probably don’t feel that way. And just anyway, so we did not, but maybe in the future, down the line very well, but anyway, now you and your husband are both going to college.¬†

You said he’s in med school and you were an EMT, but now you’re getting your master’s in social work because you want to do what?¬†

Speaker 2 (5m 36s): Yes. So he’s in med school and actually interestingly enough, he’s pursuing primary care. So he wants to be a family medicine doctor, but he’s really interested in integrative medicine and food as medicine. So that’s kind of where a lot of our passions intersect as well. And then I’m doing my master’s in social work, which was kind of, so I graduated my undergraduate in 2017.¬†

So a couple of years ago now I majored in psychology. I originally thought that I wanted to go to medical school. So it was kind of a long path to decide that I wanted to do social work, which really, I think it was only so long because I didn’t quite know what a social work social worker was until a couple of years ago. And so then once I found out it was this perfect culmination of everything that I loved and everything that I wanted to do, but my main dream is to eventually have a farm and use my degree to help rehabilitate inmates.¬†

Post-release on the farm using the crops and the animals doing animal assisted therapy and kind of giving them the space where they can thrive once they are released from prison 

Speaker 1 (6m 59s): And, and gain skills so that they can become productive members of their community after as well. Because a lot of people don’t realize how hard that was. And we were talking, I was telling you a little bit about how I just read Kamala Harris’s biography. And she talks about that was one of her big platform she worked on as a prosecutor, was helping people who were released from prison adjust because it is so difficult to make it once you’ve been to prison to readjust, to coming into society.¬†

Everything’s against you trying to find a job, even if you want to work. You know, when the system, a lot of times puts families and puts people into that, it’s just kind of like this pipeline and how many people have in the United States. I’m like, what was it I was seeing about Lee camp had this statistic history. They just can’t get out of my head that there’s this Republican Senator who’s complaining, oh, the cities with the strictest gun laws and the most cops, you know, have the most crime.¬†

Meanwhile, London has about the same amount of pupil as New York to Chicago. But New York has 35,000 police officers and London has 786 police officers to take care of. And they don’t have the problems. And the crime is to see the United States. We’ve created the system of poverty and the working poor, you know, there’s just like you one, it’s not that people don’t want to go to work.¬†

I don’t know. I’m going to stick on the gardening thing. So tell us about your very first gardening experience. We talked about it in the first interview where I forgot to hit record, start my show asking, like, who are you with? Like, what’d you grow? What was your very first gardening experience about¬†

Speaker 2 (8m 53s): Course? So, like I mentioned, in my childhood home, we had sunflowers, which we had planted all along the front of the house and there was like a ton of them really tall. And so that was kind of my very first memory was these big sunflowers. And I was young. I think we moved from that house when I was only like seven or eight. So it’s really these like, you know, kind of vague formative memories of just like sunflowers everywhere.¬†

But then as I was thinking, I was like, okay, what, what does it mean? Like very first memory that I can remember. And I had these two pigs, like full grown pigs, which actually were wild. We saw them running down the street one day and we decided to have them as pets. And I named them ginger and pepper. My mom thought it was funny to call them dinner and supper, which I didn’t like, but they used to get our table scraps.¬†

And we must’ve given them some like tomato scraps from the table because like sometime later we had these tomato plants growing in the backyard that were fertilized when they pooped out the seeds. So it was pretty magical being young and realizing, Hey, we didn’t plant tomatoes. Why do we have fresh tomatoes in the backyard? And they were like, they were fresh. I mean, they were actually good.¬†

Speaker 1 (10m 25s): Sure. Well, like I was saying the first time, like volunteers are the best often the sweetest and just the best kind of vegetables that you get last year. Mike had these curates that were like, they were just huge. They were like three inches in diameter that were volunteers from the year before. And so sweet and tender and yeah, a lot of times the volunteers are the best. So, so how big is your garden now? 

You guys are living right in downtown Phoenix. 

Speaker 2 (11m 1s): Pretty much. Yeah. So we’re like just barely north of downtown. Like maybe two miles. We have a fairly big backyard as far as like downtown houses go, but I just built a single raised bed that was like my goal this year was to just get one bed in. And I think it was because I started to get overwhelmed with like this idea of a perfect garden. I was like, oh, well I need it. I need to meet these requirements before I can start gardening. I need to know so much or whatever.¬†

And I realized like, as long as I keep this up, I’m never going to actually start like making the mistakes to have a garden. I’m like, I just need to get over the fact that it’s not going to be perfect. And like a lot of it’s going to die and that’s okay. And so this year I finally was just like, okay, I’m going to do it. So I built a 10 foot by two, but raised and I’m doing the square-foot garden method. And so I have 20 crops out there and that’s kind of where I’m at, what crops.¬†

So I have why originally planted cherry tomatoes, Bazell onions, carrots, lettuce, Mayer, gold, spinach radishes, Swiss, chard, peas, sunflowers, lavender, camomile, tomatillos, bell peppers, parsley, and beets. And I had to write all those down or I’ll say, would know,¬†

Speaker 1 (12m 36s): Oh, so perfect. So how much of that stuff is growing? Like was there anything that didn’t come out the way you thought it was gonna? Oh, definitely a hundred.¬†

Speaker 2 (12m 47s): It’s been a huge learning process, which I knew was going to happen, but I just had to finally do it. So my let’s see what didn’t come out. My onions didn’t grow, which I learned. It was kind of late in the season for Arizona to be planting them. My carrots surprisingly didn’t grow, which I thought would, but I didn’t water them enough during germination. I think they kind of dried out and I know carrots, especially here need a ton of water in those first couple of weeks.¬†

And I was like afraid to over-water at first. 

Speaker 1 (13m 20s): And they take a long time to germinate. My husband always said 

Speaker 2 (13m 24s): Exactly. So I think I’ve learned kind of like, don’t be afraid of the water, especially here where it’s such a dry climate and you know, I was afraid to over-water cause I don’t want root rot, but like if the roots can establish, then you know, they need water and then otherwise I’ll, let’s see my camomile also didn’t sprout, but mostly¬†

Speaker 1 (13m 48s): That’s hard to get started. Is it? It might not be as hard down in Phoenix.¬†

Speaker 2 (13m 53s): I think it is pretty difficult. I kind of, I planted things and pick things out based on like companion planting, and then also what was supposedly in season, but it’s difficult. It’s difficult to grow here. And so that’s an interesting part of it’s I’m learning to garden, but I’m also learning to garden here specifically, which is a whole nother like beast. So,¬†

Speaker 1 (14m 22s): And, but let’s think of it this way. Also you planted like 20 crops and you’ve mentioned two. That didn’t go so well. So that means 18 crops were successful, which sounds awesome. So tell us about what did grow really well.¬†

Speaker 2 (14m 39s): Yeah, so I’m probably, I like the most proud of two in particular. So my tomato plant started out. I got like a transplant and there was maybe like, I don’t know, probably 10 inches tall and this thing is so big. Now it is behemoth. Like it is at least probably three feet tall and it’s like wide too. And I just got all the yellow flowers on it. So I haven’t actually had any tomatoes yet, but my first one just started growing today.¬†

So I’m really proud of that tomato plant. And then also I planted some Swiss chard that originally died or at least I thought it died. It was completely shriveled. Like everything was looks dead. And I decided to just prune back all the shriveled part and give it extra water. And then it is thriving now. So that was probably my other favorite accomplishment.¬†

Speaker 1 (15m 39s): Awesome. I love when that happens. I love Swiss chard and anything that’s forgiving is awesome. I’ve w one of the things I love about Swiss chard is like freezing it and making a lasagna out of it at Christmas time, because I come from an Italian family, actually wouldn’t do I make lasagna? I make lasagna for new years. My family always eat lasagna for Christmas, but my husband’s a meat and potatoes fan, his family, like they want the traditional Turkey on Christmas.¬†

So I do the lasagna on nears and I always make a meat one and a veggie one. And the veggie one, I used to mix in spinach, but spinach is really hard to get to grow in Montana. It usually bolts like within 24 hours of like getting to the right size leave. And if I’m not out there and it’s just you, don’t where Swiss chard will grow almost all summer. And I just can get a huge thing. I was so charted and to me they’re basically the same.¬†

And so I love Swiss chard. And then I also like to use the stems of the Swiss chard instead of celery. Now I know people are successful with celery and Montana. Maybe I just didn’t try it. But Swiss chard has worked for so good for me. I like the way it tastes better, the red chard. So I cut the stems off. I’ll like use them with like a cottage cheese and herb dip. And then I save the leaves, Lynch them, put them in the freezer.¬†

And I mix that in with the Recology cheese or the, I usually use cottage cheese because they go to New York and see how cheap ricotta cheese is. I can’t hardly pay the fortune. I mean, they cost you like $25 just in cheese and Montana. There’s cottage cheese is a lot cheaper. So anyway, I’m Swiss chard, but yeah, works really good.¬†

Speaker 2 (17m 39s): We do like, we’ll just saute it with olive oil, we’ll salt and pepper and some mustard. And it’s really good.¬†

Speaker 1 (17m 49s): Ooh. With mustard. I have never tried that. Yeah. And then all summer long, I mean, I just, I saw tastes was charged with everything. Yeah. Beets or radishes before the beet greens are ready. The, when the rat, I didn’t know, you could saute radishes and Michael grows some really big like purple and red radishes from me because he just plants, you know, a bunch of radishes and they always end up some get huge and yeah, you can saute those and they go give us Swiss chard, but with mustard, oh, I’m going to try that.¬†

I definitely one of my favorite greens and it’s really hearty. Like you said, it, it, it thrives pretty well to me anyway. And then I’ll put a little bit of listen to kale mix with it. How about, what about something that you’re excited to grow next year or, yeah, what I wanted to know was when did you put those tomatoes that are just getting the yellow flowers?¬†


Speaker 2 (18m 59s): I put them, I want to say February and the February. Okay. I think on March around there. 

Speaker 1 (19m 11s): And then, and then what was I saying? How did you learn how to garden organically? Was that like something you learned on your own or from your family, or we’re not coming¬†

Speaker 2 (19m 22s): From the internet. I love the internet, but right. It’s a love, hate relationship for me. Yes. No, it is for me too. But I think, whereas before you kind of had to, you know, either know some people or, I mean, there’s always books, but even now, like every book says something different. So it’s nice to be able to kind of have a, a collection of resources at your fingertips. And, you know, they include pictures and like you can join a Facebook group of gardeners and they can look at your plants online and tell you, Hey, they need a little bit more of this or that.¬†

And then also we have a community garden here in our neighborhood. And so I am volunteering with them too, which helps. And then hopefully I’ll learn a ton at the Wolf in June.¬†

Speaker 1 (20m 17s): I know, look at how work acting today. I mean like then I’m talking to somebody who actually is like doing that masters of social work program that I, I was so in love with that. It’s such a great program down at, are you doing the one from ASU is Arizona state university¬†

Speaker 2 (20m 36s): And that Northern Arizona university? 

Speaker 1 (20m 39s): I don’t know. I it’s been so long since I looked into it. I want my master’s show bad. And I’ve looked at and applied to three programs now that I’ve got well, where’d you get your funding? I can’t afford it. I’ve been accepted at three programs now. And wasn’t able to find funding for any of them student loans. Yeah. I don’t know, maybe.¬†

Okay. Back to my questions. Well, I did want to, like, I can’t even remember it was in our pre-chat or other when you were talking about how you have to be in Phoenix for two more years, but then you guys are kind of looking for where’s your farm going to be? And I know like a lot of people have said like, Maine has a really good farm trust program. I want to say Montana. My New Jersey, I know has a pretty good, like, there’s some good programs out there.¬†

You were seeing that Arizona is not so great for like how big of a farm are you looking for? What kind of property are you guys opposed to moving somewhere more north or you want to stay, or 

Speaker 2 (21m 59s): We’re both natives to Arizona. So everything outside of Arizona is just, you know, waiting to be explored. I travel a decent amount. And last summer I took a road trip. I drove down or up, I guess the Pacific coast highway to Washington, and then down through Idaho and Utah, back to Phoenix. And so I kind of got a good feel for the land out there. So I would love to explore Oregon and Washington more, but other areas that I’ve been that I like Massachusetts, my mom is from New York, New Jersey originally, but we’re not really opposed to anywhere.¬†

We just need to kind of explore more. But as far as size something smaller, definitely at least to start, it’s all got to start somewhere. So even if that’s an Arizona, maybe a couple acres at most,¬†

Speaker 1 (22m 59s): We need to be close to a prison. You think 

Speaker 2 (23m 2s): That’s a great question. I think that’s something I’ve been looking at more and it’s kind of interesting because most prisons are kept away from big cities. So that, like for say, if an inmate escapes, they’re not close to a city where they can hitchhike and leave. So usually prisons are pretty rural, which lines up with my goal fairly well, because there’s always a lot of land out by presents and it’s cheap because no one wants to be by a prison. So it happens to work out.¬†

Speaker 1 (23m 37s): Yeah. Good to know. Tell us about something that didn’t work so well to see you, then you mentioned the onions¬†

Speaker 2 (23m 50s): Or was there something else? The onions, I think just learning how to deal with the sun here. A couple of things had gotten scorched early on just from the temperature rising so quickly. Like I think about a month ago we were still in the seventies and then it went up to the nineties pretty quick. So I would just say learning to do that would help out everything in general, the overall things are, are pretty sturdy so far. Like I said, I lost the carrots, which I think was due to watering. 

The one thing that I would change next spring is I actually, I haven’t staked up my tomato plant. Like it’s not on a trellis or anything and I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t, but now it’s so large. I actually don’t know how to stick it up.¬†

Speaker 1 (24m 44s): Yeah. That’s, that’s tough. Yeah. And they get heavy, but probably you need to figure that out before it grows right before those tomatoes get on there and it gets really heavy.¬†

Speaker 2 (25m 2s): I’m going to try to figure that out this week. I think I’m just going to get like small wooden posts and kind of like tie it up the posts. Cause it definitely won’t fit in, in tomato cage at this point. And we’ll see, it’ll be trial and error.¬†

Speaker 1 (25m 19s): Well, my husband’s tried all sorts of different things. I personally love tomato cages, but I’ve definitely interviewed a lot of guests who are not the biggest fans of that tomato cages. So, you know, you’ll, you’ll probably find something that works for you.¬†

Speaker 2 (25m 39s): Yeah. And I’m not even sure why I didn’t use it to me. I think honestly, I didn’t expect it to grow. Like I kind of went into everything like, oh, I’m planting it. But like, but we’ll see if anything happens and now it’s so big. I’m like, wait, I should have put a tomato cage or trellis or something.¬†

Speaker 1 (25m 60s): I know it’s amazing. That way I know back and forth from like, I can’t believe I killed this to like, I can’t believe this is growing. Right. Like I I’ve definitely killed more things this spring. Well, I don’t know. My husband’s like really? What, what have you killed? What’s not going the way you want, you know, what’s your big complaint. And I ended up yesterday, I was telling you in the pre-shot that I forgot to record that I planted these 50 broccoli babies. And now it’s like, my husband was like, what are you going to do with those? Like you got to get them out of the window.¬†

They’re growing all spindly. I’ve been telling you for days, he wanted me to put them outside, but they were just so any meeting, teeny tiny. And I thought, oh my gosh, they’re going to freeze out there. Even in the greenhouse. And they’re just too. And I was like, I wanted to transplant him. So I had all these toilet paper rolls. So finally yesterday I transplanted them into, I was like, I’m going to transplant half of them. And then I want, what I wanted to do was I wanted to put half under his grow lights in the house. And I’m like, let’s put the marigolds and the snapdragons outside because they’ve already been transplanted are pretty Hardy in there.¬†

They’re in bigger pots and they are under the grow lights. So they’re thriving, but he’s like, hello. I’ve told you like 10 times they can’t take a frost. The broccoli can take the frost. You know, even though it would be in the greenhouse, it’s not a heating¬†

Speaker 2 (27m 24s): Mistakes. 

Speaker 1 (27m 26s): He’s like, you can’t put the marigolds in the snapdragons out there. I do have some snapdragons out there that we’ve been like covering with this old plastic pool at night. They’re not half as nice as the ones that are under the grow lights, but I’m like, well, at least I can move. So I’m hoping, like I put a dozen of the broccoli sprouts in these little toilet paper transplants down. So now they’re just barely so hoping I can put some of them under the girl lights and then I’m going to move some of the marigolds and some of the snapdragons out to the unheated greenhouse, but we kind of cover them up at night.¬†

I mean, there is a trace snapdragons out there that hasn’t died. My Zinni has died. I had zinnias out there and I have a tray of zinnias that we’re just constantly fighting over something. Last year, we were fighting over the compost this year, we’re fighting under the grow lights. Well, I’m interested to see¬†

Speaker 2 (28m 24s): How it pans out. You’ll have to let me know.¬†

Speaker 1 (28m 26s): Yeah, well usually he like plastics in our porch and we keep the porch from the living room. We open up the kitchen door and we open up the kitchen window and just, we heat the, and this year he’s, she’s like, I’m not doing that. We have this new kitten. We have the stupid dog puppy. Like you can’t, I’m not, I don’t want to waste the plastic again. And we have this outdoor hoop house, but it’s totally unheated. And just like, I got super excited this year.¬†

It was the wrong year for me to get excited as part of it. Anyway, cat, this is a part we call it, getting to the root of things. So do you have a least favorite activity to do in the garden? Like something you got to force yourself to get out there and do 

Speaker 2 (29m 14s): Not yet. I think I’m so new and in love with it. And hopefully that stays, but if I had to pick something, it would be bending over like just bending to reach the back of the, the bed is a nuisance sometimes.¬†

Speaker 1 (29m 33s): So how, how deep is your deep bed? Can you not sit on the side of it? 

Speaker 2 (29m 40s): I can. It’s not it’s that deep, but I got some splinters when I was like touching it the other day. So I try to avoid touching it if I can.¬†

Speaker 1 (29m 53s): Yeah, that’s for sure. My husband has like his mini farm. I was out there in theater. I’m like, all right, I’m going to come help you because I want him to help me put my tray. And I’m just trying to give him a little more help this year. Cause he’s so much like every year he just does more and more. So I’m trying to be a bigger help since I am home working from home more. And I was just like so frustrated and this many farms, I lasted like 10 minutes. I’m like, look, I’m covered in dirt again already. Like my shoes are filthy.¬†

Like my yoga running pants are dirty. I forgot to put my garden jeans on and I don’t know what else I was complaining about how far the hose was that I had to carry the five gallon bucket of water. And he’s probably like, oh my God, I’ve carried 25 buckets of dirt already today. And you’re complaining about one, five gallon bucket of water. It¬†

Speaker 2 (30m 45s): Was yeah. Well I built the bed in like two days and that required me like, okay, going to home Depot, getting the lumber, getting the blocks that I used to build it, getting all the soil at like our local warm farm. And I was carrying so much soil by the end of the two days, I was just so sore. 

Speaker 1 (31m 7s): Yeah. Well I’ve repeatedly. I went to home Depot two weeks ago to get two wheelbarrows. Cause I’m like, you’re going to have a wheelbarrow in your mini farm this year. We’re going to have a wheelbarrow down in the garden, outside the house this year. And our regular wheelbarrow is just going to be dedicated for firewood. Cause I’m tired of like, you know, having to go up and down the hill wheelbarrows or like show. And my mom’s like, you’re getting two wheels. I’m like, yes, I’m getting two wheelbarrows. I could only fit one.¬†

I buy one. And I’m like, I’m coming back for the second one. And I had to return because I couldn’t even fit the wheelbarrow on my car. I couldn’t believe it. Like it was so dumb. I’m like, I can’t believe I came to get a wheel. Like I guess I thought it would be in a box or whatever. Then I go back for the treadmill. I do the opposite. I take his pickup and the box still like barely fits in the pickup. And then it was so hard. It’s taken us like the video to put the treadmill together. It’s like the seven minute video after three hours the other day, we still like, we just had the last little, but the hardest part where the roller fits in the belt to do.¬†

And I’m just, I’m scared of do it wrong. Like a, treadmill’s like a like, oh Mike who expects me to do this? Like, what are you guys thinking? Like this is going to be safe. Something I’m putting together to say nothing of like the first thing in instructions is you need two people to do this. Do not, you know, there’s certain part for Lyft with two, even though the video shows one guy doing it by himself, but not the last step. There’s definitely, it’s definitely a two person.¬†

So anyway, yeah, bending over, bending over my husband must do bend over like a million times a day. So on the flip side, what’s your favorite thing to do out there?¬†

Speaker 2 (32m 59s): I think just checking on it every day, like I said, I didn’t expect a lot of it to grow. And so much of the growth happens literally overnight. Like you’ll, you’ll water it and leave it for the day and then you come out and I swear, it’s like a whole different garden and that’ll kind of happen in stages. Like it seems like weeks will go by, nothing will happen. And then overnight you’ll have a ton of new growth. And so I think that’s my favorite part is just checking on it and cause I, I try to go out there every morning and I water it by hand so that I can kind of check everything for pests or whatnot.¬†

And just seeing what has changed overnight. Definitely my favorite part. 

Speaker 1 (33m 42s): Absolutely. And sometimes I feel like I swear you can see things growing right before your eyes, somebody plants in the window. I’m like, is that a thing growth? Like, am I literally watching that reach for the sun right here before my eyes. Cool. How about what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?¬†

Speaker 2 (34m 4s): So I think two things, one was when I first started, I received advice to hand water and to be in the garden daily to just kind of mention which I think once you like have the hang of it and you know what you’re doing and you have a lot of crops, like obviously using different methods of watering, but mine so small and they just recommended, you know, if you’re hand watering it, then you know what it needs. You can check for pests.¬†

You can see if it’s getting enough sun, but like if you have it on a timer, maybe you skip a few days because you assume the timer is working and then you realize that maybe it broke and it was never being watered. And so I think just like getting out there and actually spending time in your garden will reflect kind of the health of it.¬†

Speaker 1 (34m 55s): Oh, I’m completely nodding. And you know, in a place where you are. So my husband, I lived for our first six years without running water. And when we would garden, like when you’re hauling your water to your garden, you don’t realize like you are only watering the roots of the plants. So we didn’t get as many weeds like as now when like I’m still amazed that I can just put a sprinkler out, but then it’s like, I ended up spending half of the time.¬†

Weeding. It’s just amazing how much, you know, maybe that’s why I’m having a total light bulb moment. Like I was down in the garden every day. Like why is the quackgrass to be just taking over every bed massively and maybe that’s it because now we have the sprinklers going and the quackgrass is getting watered so much. Like why is this quack, grass growing in this Iris bed where I’ve never had a problem? It’s totally overtaking the columbines. And I’m like, oh, it’s, I mean, I know I watered it really well last year, but you’d read that, say, you know that, but for sure that hand watering and checking in every morning and looking for paths and like, I look at the, you know, Facebook has that Facebook groups and the guy’s like, I have this plant problem.¬†

What do I do about my plan? Somebody in the Facebook group goes, what are singing to it, play music for singing to it. And so then all these other people, you know, Facebook’s like trying to get people to join Facebook groups or learning and all these people like sing to it and then their plants are growing and they’re singing and they’re growing in there. And then he ends up with this massive plant. But really, I think the reasons it’s not that your singing necessarily is like your you’re, you’re looking at it every day.¬†

You’re giving it attention. You’re making sure exactly what you’re saying about the water. You know, timers are great. And I talked to Mike about, should we be investing in an automated, you know, drip system this year? You know, maybe is this the year that we should finally try to sync some of our stimulus check-in to that piece was one of the things I was asking him about. But you know, he’s been gardening for 40 years. He is like a 10th of an acre mini farm, you know, like a whole nother thing.¬†

But yeah, there’s a lot to be said for that. Go check your garden and look at your gardening and, and hand watering, how you can start to recognize things before they get out of control, keeping those weeds while you’re watering, you can grab that one little wheel. Like I know that’s one of Mike’s huge secrets is he gets on those weeds right away. And then he watches and¬†

Speaker 2 (37m 47s): Get your hands dirty too. I mean, I might be a millennial, but I’m pretty old school on a lot of things. And I think nothing beats just like being out there and like having your hands in the soil and checking everything and making sure that it’s where it should be. And even if you have a fancy drip system or, you know, a moisture meter or whatever, nothing’s going to tell you, like just touching it and being there.¬†

Speaker 1 (38m 14s): Yeah. And spotting a disease or a pest issue. And just being able to learn and enjoy. And there’s so many great tips there. I knew you were going to rock that mic. What’s your favorite tool. If you had to move and could only take one tool with you, what could you not live without?¬†

Speaker 2 (38m 36s): I actually, I don’t have many tools. I have like some printers and because it’s a raised bed, I actually, I haven’t luckily had any weeds yet, but I would say, and this is oddly specific, but because we’re renting and I had to build this garden that could be moveable. Like for when we move, I got these little planter blocks at home Depot and I didn’t have any tools at the time when I was building it and the blocks, they were like cement blocks, but they have little notches on each side and you can just stick slots of wood right.¬†

In each side. And it builds you a bed like with no tools. So if I could only bring one thing, I would use those blocks again. They were a lifesaver. 

Speaker 1 (39m 26s): Ooh. I love that idea. Nobody’s really talked about that. Unless it’s like the same thing that Erica Nolan, do you know who Eric and Nolan is? Cause I think she’s down south too. She’s Instagram. Is it in, in, in star? I N S T a or something. Eric Nolan. It’s E R I K. I think she’s like, she’s like a garden business where she goes and builds gardens for people.¬†

But she, she had these corners. SRE. Is that what they’re like? They’re like corners in the woods. I’ll send¬†

Speaker 2 (40m 7s): You a link. They’re really cool. But yeah, they’re, they’re basically just like square. Yeah. I guess you could say corners and they just have notches in them that fit a specific with wood and then you can make them as long as you want. So I got, you know, 10 feet by two feet and then just put it into the, the blocks and add a bed so¬†

Speaker 1 (40m 33s): Well, cool. Because that is a question. People ask me a lot is what do I do if I don’t have a mic to build me my raised beds. So we need a mic. How about a favorite recipe? What do you like to eat or cook from the garden? Well, I think the Swiss¬†

Speaker 2 (40m 54s): Chard with a mustard also just like a good tomatillo salsa. Do you guys grow like tomatillos in Montana? 

Speaker 1 (41m 7s): You know, I did grow some last year, but I don’t know what happened. They like never turned red. They grew and they had like, those peeper covers on them, you know? And they grew to a good size, but I could never seem to get them mature and red, which was weird because last year I had the most successful tomato season ever. I don’t know if it just get hot enough here. Yeah.¬†

Speaker 2 (41m 37s): Well here are the most common variety is¬†, which is like the green ones. So they stayed green, but I should’ve just sliced one and cooked it. I was, I was wondering, ah, that’s so funny. Now I’m curious if you had these like beautiful tomatillos that you were just like, oh, I can’t do anything.¬†

Oh my God. You’re probably, well now, you know, you could probably grow them and they make a really good salsa.¬†

Speaker 1 (42m 23s): That’s so funny. I’m last year I found my fever. It’s also rice. She’ll cook salsa when you make it. Like, I, I had never cooked it before. I had always just like put all the ingredients together. And like last year I found this really cool recipe and it was just the best salsa ever mean, but I had never cooked it before. Like do you cook it?¬†

Speaker 2 (42m 43s): Yeah. So if you roast them, so just like put a pan full of tomatillos, roast them like in the skin and then blend it with, you know, garlic onions, jalapeno whatever’s in your salsa. It creates a really nice roasted and like almost tart flavor. Like the tomatillos, they’re less sweet than just tomatoes salsa, but it’s so good.¬†

Speaker 1 (43m 14s): Sounds good. Oh my God. I feel like an idiot. 

Speaker 2 (43m 19s): I think that that might be the, the best part of today is waiting for Todd to turn red. 

Speaker 1 (43m 28s): So I know because brought him in the house and they weren’t turning really in the house. They weren’t turning red outside in the bine next to the other ones that actually turned red and like, duh, I didn’t buy the plan. Mike brought the plan home and said, some friend of ours gave it to idiot. Anyway, I’m such a dummy, but my listeners already know that sometimes. Anyway, what is your favorite internet resource?¬†

Like where do you find yourself surfing on the web that you liked the most? 

Speaker 2 (44m 3s): I really like old farmer’s Almanac. It doesn’t get like as specific for like growing here in like the low desert, but that’s kind of my go-to basic website. And it’s neat that you can put in your zip code now and kind of have more tailored advice. And then there’s also a lady who has a blog here in Arizona, it’s called growing in the garden and she has a lot of great advice. But specifically for growing here in Arizona, she kind of lays it all out as far as like what’s best to plant each month here, how to water it, everything that you could know.¬†

I, I would say those are my top two resources that I use. 

Speaker 1 (44m 50s): Oh, good ones. How about a favorite book or magazine? You can recommend 

Speaker 2 (44m 58s): The square foot gardening method. I think. And then I don’t have a ton of gardening books because I use so many internet resources, but I would say there’s a ton of great Instagrams to follow and they usually recommend a lot of books and other resources. So I kind of have gone down a rabbit hole of following gardeners on Instagram. So¬†

Speaker 1 (45m 25s): Instagram, where do you like to go? Do you go through people’s posts? Do you look at their stories? Do you do the reels thing? What do you like about Instagram¬†

Speaker 2 (45m 35s): Posts? And I don’t really scroll, like on the feed. I tend to go to a specific profile and like look through their posts, which I think is unusual, but I like to see, you know, the posts that they made in the past too. So I’ll kinda like scroll to the bottom and see their progress and what things worked for them and what didn’t work. So, yeah, I guess I kind of like it on like a profile basis.¬†

Speaker 1 (46m 2s): Should you like search a hashtag 

Speaker 2 (46m 5s): Usually? 

Speaker 1 (46m 7s): Or how do you find people that you follow? 

Speaker 2 (46m 9s): So like, if I, for instance, the very first resource I’ve found was growing in the garden that Laney from Phoenix. So I followed her on Instagram and then it shows you like who she follows. So I’ll look through her like the people she’s following and kind of see if there’s anyone that might interest me. And then the more people that you follow Instagram will start recommending people for you to follow based on, you know, who you are following. And I’ve found that’s really helpful for me cause it’ll recommend other great gardening accounts.¬†

And then the cycle just kind of continues based on that. 

Speaker 1 (46m 45s): Cool. Cause I am like, I’m getting way more in Instagram. I’m actually thinking of like just dropping Facebook altogether and moving to Instagram. There’s things that I’ve liked about Facebook all along, but lately, I don’t know, since 2020. Yeah. It’s just broken my heart show. Many times. I was just telling someone yesterday, I was like, there’s still 58,800 people in this dyslexia parent group that I’m in 58.¬†

I was like, there’s like 60,000 parents out there still struggling. I still see there posts every day of like teachers marking their kids, peepers wrong, spending $1,500 to get a diagnosis for their child. Like it’s just heartbreaking. And then on the flip side, I see these teacher, Facebook groups that are, I don’t know what to do with this kid. I can’t figure out how to teach this kid. And like dyslexia is something near and dear to my heart because I just have this teaching background where I’ve had a lot of training and one in five kids is a struggling reader, whether they have dyslexia or not.¬†

And then there’s this woman from the Yale center for dyslexia and creativity who has this program that works with every single kid. Like not one of these kids should be struggling. Not one. It works with every single, if we can get to them in between kindergarten and third grade. Now what help older kids. Sure. It works with every kid. It’s all text fluency. It’s rewiring the neurons in your brain. It’s very systematic.¬†

It drives me crazy because they don’t teach it. It just breaks my heart. And I see these posts over and over to say nothing of like the fear teachers were going through in the fall and just, I can’t quit my job because I’m only insurance person anyway. So many things there and there’s other reasons. And just, and, and just, there’s the benefits to Instagram anyway. Sorry. Didn’t mean to get off topic. Okay. My final question.¬†

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 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?¬†

Speaker 2 (49m 29s): Yeah, that last question I had to think about because I mean, maybe we talked about my idea for, you know, the sort of green halfway house, if you will, like a place that prisoners can go once they’re released and rehabilitate and focus on holistic health and wellness. So I would say that’s definitely like my main project and goal, but I think it all boils down to the health of our planet and the health of individuals is very connected on so many levels.¬†

And so in social work, in our program, we learned about this theory called eco feminism. And it’s interesting there’s, I mean like many theories, there’s a lot of flaws to it, but it links the domination of women and the domination of the environment. And basically traditionally hierarchies place men over women and white over people of color and humans over nature. When in reality, nature is very closely linked to who we are.¬†

We are nature. And so I think how we treat ourselves, how we treat others, how we treat the planet, it all adds up and it all is linked together. So I think if there was one kind of main focus that I think would make the world a greener place would be focusing on those relationships, the interrelationships between individuals and organisms and the environment and how those relationships are a pretty telling reflection of our day to day life. 

Speaker 1 (51m 18s): Ah, so eloquently spoken someday. I feel like you’re going to be one of the biggest leaders in our country and world and speaking at the United nations and, you know, look at Gretta Timberg today, out there. I mean her passion for life, the vaccination equality and inequality going on in the world. And so good to hear her voice. I mean it’s earth week. So, but to see her not just on democracy now, first thing this morning, but actually on the mainstream news surprise me today.¬†

But probably only because earth day is on Thursday, are they featuring her? But yeah, I, I love that. I love everything that you said and just what you’re doing and wish you the best of luck. And thank you. So, so, so, so much for sharing with us today and I hope you’ll come back after June when you’ve done your woofing experience and can tell us more about it and just, I hope you’ll stay in touch and maybe you can come to a roofing experience or something up here someday.¬†

Once we get our place fixed up and 

Speaker 2 (52m 32s): Right. I don’t mind using outhouses and I like to camp. So if you have our needs, someone who doesn’t mind any of this,¬†

Speaker 1 (52m 39s): We are frantically looking for a camper because I have a friend who plays the guitar. We can play the guitar. Like, I’m just like, why don’t you just move here? Like we have this meadow, we can just put her and her husband up. They could just start that farm out. Like I’m already like, because like so many of our passions align and I have his friend who’s in California who wants, she was going to come spend the whole month of may. And she’s like, I have some money we can put towards a camper and Mike’s been clearing a spot and we already have water and power up there.¬†

And so we’re working on it might not be, but yeah, I’m so¬†

Speaker 2 (53m 17s): Happy you reached out on one because I think even when you’re not wolfing, it’s a great platform. So meet other like-minded people, you know, I don’t know anyone in my like real day to day life who gardens. So I think it’s, it’s nice to have internet friends and people that you can meet in other states and other places who share the same passion and want to do similar things. So I’m really happy that you reached out.¬†

Speaker 1 (53m 45s): Oh, I’m really happy. We finally made it happen today. So thank you so much the best to you and your husband and just yay. Millennia. Yay. Katlyn and her husband and just, well, we’ll be in touch and God bless and stay safe and all the things you too. Thank you. Happy earth day. Yes.¬†

Speaker 2 (54m 7s): Happy earth week. Happy four 20. 

Speaker 1 (54m 10s): Yep. Cool. Talk to you later. All right. Bye bye. Hey listeners, are you wondering how you can grow your own healthy and nutritious food with confidence? Have you been frustrated as a gardener? Just the thought of weaving, make your back ache. Have you tried to grow a garden before and found you can’t even keep a plant alive? Does the cost of organic produce in the store make you cringe, but the thought of bugs in your garden make your skin crawl?¬†

Well, we have the answer for you. Free garden¬† It is show easy. You enter your email, you will watch a video right there. You can get my organic Oasis checklist, our essential tools checklist. It all shows up right on. Thank you. Page free Gordon¬† Do you know someone who would benefit from the organic gardener podcast? If you like what you hear? We’d love it. If you chaired the organic gardener podcast with a friend.¬†

Thanks again for listening. I remember.