My featured guest today Mike Knocks from White Harvest Seed Company is here to tell us about heirloom seeds. was recommended by Jill McShehy from Journey with Jill
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 53 year old man married to a wonderful wife
gardening for many years
felt the lord leading us a few years back to start an heirloom
since 2010 had our own store
expos throughout the US gardening
How’d you get started?
well to be honest
my wife and I have been married 30+ years
lived in the Kasnsa city missouri area
40 acre farm
through the years, we lived a normal suburbanite
Normal life up around Kansas City
The Lord just led us to go simple
We moved here to south Missouri to the Ozarks
Living Off Grid
We are living as much off the grid as we can
only thing is our store and cell phone
all solar house
own water supply
grow as much produce as we can for ourselves
labor of love
Through the years we got into the prepper side of things and learn more abouthow to be more self-sufficient under god’s control
still working on
wish I had started 20-25-30 years ago
waited till I was 40-45 cause it’s a lot tougher.
Well I love that because a lot of my listeners are millennials so you’ll inspire them to start now!
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
I hated it. I was a 12 year old. One of those young kids, play sports
I was the only child and I had to go weed the garden
go bury the kitchen scraps
I hated the gardening
I loved eating the fresh produce but I hated the labor!
my first job was a
My mom probably rolls her eyes thinking how did my daughter get a gardening show she hated the garden, of course I don’t do a lot still, Mike does most of it!
How did you learn how to garden organically?
back in the 70s early 80s they were learning too
subscribers to Mother Earth News back then
did a lot of things
when I garden more and more
when we first started we werent’ organic
now that were in the heirloom
talking to the old timers
my grandparents were super good at gardening
I didn’t care, so I wasted that resource
if you have listeners who have those resources
I have to back up. What are some of these places you go speak at?
We go to the Lawn and Garden shows in early winter, spring time.
most big cities have a lawn and garden show where vendors come in show all the fancy sites to look at.
set up landscapes
different ones that fit in
don’t go too much to the east coast
distance we can travel
prepper side, survivalists
- we go there to sell
- people be able to provide their own food sources
- how to grow
- how to save seeds
save seeds you have a food source if things go bad in the world you’ll have something to feed people
If any Arkansas, listeners well be in Conway Arkansas.
So people that go to these shows want to learn about seeds?
that’s just one aspect
on the prepper side of things
what are you gonna do if your power goes out
grocery stores gonna be out of food.
those type of shows
water filter systems
learning how to
- start fires without matches
- medical issues
- fall down and break a leg
- get a big cut
- hospital or emergency room
fix it on site
long term storage
freezer is out how you gonna have long term food to eat
concerned about that
so many things going on in the world… good to be prepared!
I love the millennials who are gonna bring peace in the world, I’m really optimistic. But Mike and I lived off grid for 6 years when we started out, we still use our outhouse, the only reason we put in power was because our neighbor brought in power when we put the well and plumbing in and the cost dropped form $10k to $2k. My mom laughs because at the turn of the century in 2000 we got power, cell phones and computers and satelitte etc.
I can’t stand the thought of doing it again without a fridge but as long as I have that I could go again with water on the property.
I love hearing people stories
Im more optimistic
God told Noah,
I can hear you there… a couple of times when the water went out I’m like how did we do this, because we’re not as set up as we were…
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
We had a rough year hear in Missouri, last couple of years have been tough for us
IDK if they know something weather wise
know something coming
everything possible has been attacking us
- japanese long cucumbers
- winter squash
Got any tips for listeners?
of course the best thing
is a well rounded fertilizer program whether your using natural compost or synthetic stuff
fertilizer eliment is key
refertilize after you harvested that first batch
biggest thing is
getting the flavors
health and production
good source of trace minerals
if your plants are healthy from all the trace minerals they will be less susceptible
will fight off the bugs naturally
make sure your soil is nice and rich
don’t just try to skip by
How do you know what to do?
They have those little soil test you can buy that will give you a basic but to get a really good test take a sample and take it to your local convservation agency
here in Missouri they usually do it for free
sometimes they charge you $25
will show you what your missing
they’ll give you the big 3 but they also give you the trace minerals that you may be lacking
What I tell people at shows and stuff don’t just take one sample at the middle of the garden
what is in the
soil rich take multiple samples if
That’s been recommended and we’ve never done it. People talk about boron or gypson. Was it Eliot Coleman found out that boron was missing? I’ve been wanting mike to do it. You’re not making all different samples you’re putting it in one container right?
That’s something to ask your conservation department
if you’re doing huge garden for example if you’re
you want to do more then one out of the center
small backyard garden 10×20
depends on if they charge you but if it’s free
some places do that
if you have to do it just depends state to state.
That’s awesome. If you can just take it in, I’m gonna check the conservation office, is that the extension office? Because that’s been one of the reasons I haven’t done it because you have to get the jar and mail it in… if I can just drop it off that sounds easier.
huge garden 10 samples
it really depends on what
Is there something you would do different next year or want to try/new?
This year’s been a year with the disappointments of pest and rodents and animals and stuff
- more isolation
- fences garden areas
- weeding regular maintenance
- business and traveling
condense down and make it more applicable to take care of on a smaller basis or put more fences up to keep the buggers out.
- prevention of destruction
- fertilize more
tell your listeners
tell you about a product that works super to supply trace minerals
fish and seaweed
spray that on your garden once every 2-3 weeks.
spray that on
- onion sprouts they almost grow overnight….
any of that family
good quality ingredients
We’re having the same problem. Mike planted more brocolli then ever and they pooped all over, they take like 2 bites and eat the next one the next one…
cold process keeps
Are you having any kind of droughts?
I ask that is because talking with old timers.
that when the weather gets dry
they’re looking for a water source
- will attack
- one way that will help is give them a water source
- put them out something to drink.
- shallow container in an area where they see
- one old timer’s tip
deer are a totally different deal
thing with them
mess with their head
smell orientated area
if it smells really good
mess with the smell
- predator urines
- blood meal
- garlic sprays
- some people use human hair
- irish spring soap
switch it up every week
so your not using the same thing
mix it up
they will tend to go somewhere else that’s not environmentally changing…
old fashioned way
- mix up the smells
will definitely deter them…
Our place is like a sanctuary and just the other day I had a neighbor shooting in the afternoon and were in the middle of fire season… but the old timers around here definitely agree the fence for the deer.
I always tell Mike it’s better the fence was open in the beginning of the year then the middle of summer but it’s still hard. What did mike tell me the other day about blood meal, we’re worried about attracting something. Something got our duck, and Mike’s cat the other day so we’ve actually put the water up…
Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season.
Like I said the animals and the pests
last year we had a groundhog
we just couldn’t get rid of him, he finally moved on after he ate our garden
Pests have been worse in the last two years
not just bugs
just animals too
been kind of weird the last two years they are on a mission to destroy
We’re pretty far from the creek. We’re thinking it might be a badger. Someone saw a badger by the creek the other day. So sad about the cat and duck…
growing had a decent season in sense of weather.
on the bug side
organic growers listeners
100% neem that
heat processed that kills all the good stuff
food grade DE
product on neem
company in California
Before we get to the Root of things we want to thank our sponsors and affiliate links
Let’s Get To the Root of Things!
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.
Hands down weeding
tremendous tool to use
for weeding and planting
just down the road from us
distributer in our area
- made of recycled parts
- old farm implements
- quarter inch thick
- solid handles
will never go back
- scrape it
- triangle sharpened on all 3 sides
- scuffle it back and forth
Then when you have your dirt all tilled up and ready to use.
Slicker then hot butter!
Weeding is definitely one of those activities people struggle with, where when it gets so overwhelming this thing is gonna come in perfect!
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?
Snack on cherry tomatoes
Matt’s Wild Cherry size of a dime
make it inside my favorite activity is eating cherry tomatoes.
Tell us about your seed store. I have a lot of new listeners if they are new to gardening what’s an heirloom seed and abut your store.
There’s 3 types of seeds
grow your seeds
save the seed
year after year it will constantly be that seed.
hybrid – they take one variety
- get some benefit
- bug resistance
- shelf life
If you take a hyrbid sterile not
plant reverts back one of its granddaddy
beefsteak heirloom tomato year after year
corn is the most popular and they cross with roundup resistance
totally not natural and it never reproduces true to type
Heirlooms are tended to be noted to have better taste
old fashioned flavors our grandparents fell in love with
Ozarks of Missouri
mailorder and phone
how we got our name
here to help
call and question about things
glad to talk
I’ve asked a lot I haven’t really understood, but the fact that it reverts back, that finally makes sense. You have all sorts of things on your website.
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
the big three and had good results
news to me
the trace mineral side of things
- adding those trace elements
- quality of the plants
- add fertilizer elements
- biggest thing that I learned through the years
- Old timers used to just throw some cow manure
- find when you focus
How big is your place?
We have 30 acres that we live on
our gardens that we use
one is probably 30×100 the one by our house
is probably 50×50
- we hope to expand
- by condensing it to be more efficient
running like chickens whiteout our heads
Is that what’s growing there? The seeds?
We kind of specialize in things that are rare
One of the beans that we sell, is called a Tarheel bean one of 2 companies that sell that
heirlooms have to have isolation distances between things.
japanese long cucumbers
if you have 2 different cukes within a mile of each other since they are insect pollinated they won’t be true-to-seed
partner with other growers that grow seed for us
- according to our spects
- few companies that are wholesale seed companies
most important question for us, and most of our customers “Are you tied to any GMO?”
even foreign companies
If they give me the right answer which is of course no.
at the present time
we deal with 4-5 companies
3-4 certified organic
our selection of seed is very well rounded
Very confident that it is genetically modified exempt and we test every 10 months
status of all our seeds
nothing more frustrating then to order seed and get it in and have it not grow
your entrusting your good money
Not only your money, but your time as well, if you put seeds in the ground and they don’t grow where we are there’s just that one window. A lot of my listeners are interested in becoming a seed farmer what would you tell them to do to start?
One of the things
different parts of the country
different growing zones and
looking into becoming a seed grower they should just contact us.
send the proper info
what’s their growing practices
We don’t like using seed that’s grown with gobs and gobs of pesticides on them.
Just have them contact us
call us or send us an email
phone (866) 424-3185
- not a big money maker
- big additional
- how big of items
- grow or buy
just because you grow 100lbs
people that want to grow vegetables
market is ripe
people are looking for quality grown fresh produce
sitting at the farmer’s markets their stuff looks pretty nice.
I just want to back up a little. Is there anything that you do different to grow for seed then you do for vegetables? Is there a different process?
That questions has a multi-answer.
All vegetables have their own mannerisms
grow them with
Have to learn how their pollinated
- insect or
- self pollinators
how far apart they have to grow to save true to type seed
corn is a wind pollinated vegetable
if you have corn and you have your patch growing and you have someone else growing any other type of corn within 2-3 miles you’re most likely to get a cross especially if you’re down wind and they tassel at the same time
save the seed from it
whatever it cross-pollinated youre gonna have an issue next year. If it crosses with a GMO variety
Another example, carrots
Anyone growing queen annes lace – it’s pretty but some people call it a weed
that is in the same family as a carrot if you have it growing near anything.
going to seed
biggest thing you have to think about as a grower is learning how to keep herilooms from cross pollinating. Rough rule of thumb? you need 1/4 mile of separation
how can that be done then?
bagging and succession planning.
Need to learn proper procedures
grow for us
carrots out there
It takes 2 years carrot seed
how are you gonna keep it
following through properly.
One thing spinning in people’s heads. Where are you putting your property if you don’t have property yet.
Especially if youre growing for yourself.
look like a carrot all season till it starts forming it’s fruit gonna be a weird thing that you thought was gonna be a food source and you’ve spent 3 months, planning this growing this
learning those techniques
resource internet is live
get a resource you can have in your hand
The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs
Seed to Seed
doesn’t just take about vegetables
herbs are vey important
grow your own medicine cabinet in your own backyard
have that as
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?
For gardening stuff
grab as many of mine as
Here in the Ozarks we have some tough winters
A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
Besides the fresh stuff
Me and my wife’s nemesis! We can sit and pig out on that all day
cut the zucchini like french fries
like our crunchy
- milk and flour
good bowl of ranch dipping recipe
Sweet corn is Awesome too!
A favorite internet resource?
- herbal side
Our website information under resources that tie into links and websites
friends of our businesses!
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?
yes one of my number one resources is the Vegetables Gardener’s Bible
back 1/3 of it in the same way
people have broken down each individual variety
- greek oregano
- what it needs
- soil temp
that’s what I love
you don’t have to know everything on every products
your not gonna grow everything…
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?
realize it’s not simple
take your time
wide open topic
you might think you’re an expert
every years’ different
- no bugs and everything
- educate yourself on how to adjust
do your due dilligence
rewards are so much rewarding!
- get to be your own boss
even though you have your other boss
something you can do!
Not limited to rich people or college education folks
I had to learn and I’m always learning
someone will introduce as an expert and I cringe. I learn every year and I’m different…
The guy who taught me how to podcast John Lee Dumas went to law school for one year and he said, in a court of law, an expert is someone who knows more then everyone else in the room so you probably are an expert most of the time!
if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?
Not to be too political
from our point of view as a seed company
so many negatives about that just for the human health part of it. So many terrible results on a health basis. On that side on the growing and the gardening side I’d say that.
What I’d like to see more and I am seeing more
organizing a seed bank in your local area
People come together and grow their seed properly
- pass that on
- your neighbor grows something else and give it back to your neighbor
- communities will be able to help each other
To be honest with you. I’m not a big government fan
There were some seed saving communities building seed banks and the government went in and were calling them terrorist organizations and that’s got to stop!
as human beings and citizens we need to be able to grow on our own farms
Some people close to me started a local Seed Library.
Have them to contact us before the next seed swap and we should be able to donate. Remind them that I talked to you.
Well people are interested. I was there the first year, they expected 350 people and 1500 people showed up. There were 500 flyers and they were gone before it even started at 10 oclock in the morning!
contact us before our seed swap! Will donate some
Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
I said earlier the lord led us to do this business we try to honor him
Scripture Verse From
“For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”
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