I can hear you good. And you can hear me, which is good because my microphone doesn’t work anymore and so I’m just using my Macbook, which is like a podcasting sin, according to most podcasters. But what can you do? There’s plenty of episodes I’ve like put out there where I’m just talking to my phone while I’m driving, which is like, worse, almost as bad as this. But anyway, I’ll get a new microphone one of these soon days, I feel like it’s the cable. And like my old microphone cable’s probably somewhere, but I can’t find it. But you know what I did find, I found your door prize for coming to the Grow Live finally.
Remember, I was like, I have a door prize for Aileen. I couldn’t find anywhere and I finally found it going through my teaching stuff last night or yesterday morning looking for some good job stickers for this kid. So I’ll get that shipped off to you with like, I think I have like a little package for you I’ve been putting together.
Oooo my job. I just feel like it’s like lessons, you know, I’m learning a lot about prepping food, which like, I kind of want to start like either a food truck or farm to table, or like there’s that salad bar. What is it? A salad jar lunch club, is what I really think would be my best bet if I can find. And I might’ve even found like a commercial kitchen, there’s a new bakery in town and I almost went in there yesterday morning, but I had to get back for that interview that didn’t happen to say, Hey, you know, if you’re baking early in the morning, maybe I could use your kitchen in the afternoon because that guy, Brandon Youst told me, he’s like, instead of a food truck, you’re better off doing this lunch club model where you make salads in a glass jar, which I liked the whole glass jar, recycling thing.
And people order them on Thursday. You put them together on Sunday or Monday and deliver them Monday. So there’s no waste because you know, people have paid for them ahead of time. So he’s like your profit margins are better. You’re not worrying about like cooking a bunch of food for a food truck that like, you know, who knows, maybe you’ll get there and it’s pouring rain, nobody shows up. Or like you don’t know, you know? And he’s like, you’re getting paid ahead of time. So there’s no wasted food. And he just said it was a better business model. And then I went on Instagram and there’s like a million salad jar, like if you type in hashtag #saladjar, you see like a bunch of cool recipes and people that are doing it. And I saw that, what they do is they put the salad dressing on the bottom.
And I also realized the mistake I was making see, like in my head, I was thinking if I joined a salad called, like, what I was thinking was like, I was going to get five salads for the week, while I was at work and someone was going to deliver them to me on Monday. And I was going to have my five salads for the week at work in my fridge. And I’m like, how are these? You know, like, but that’s not how it works. It’s like, you just buy the one salad for like Monday. It’s like a fancy salad. So I’m also learning like, you know, what salads do they have at this place? You know? I mean, it’s a restaurant it’s, you know, back of the house, it’s, the pay is pathetic. It was like, what? How much? Got my first check yesterday. I’m like, it doesn’t even have like a, I’m like, where’s the thing that tells me is this for two days, one day, three days, like how, how many days is, you know what, like, it’s just a check?
She’s like, cause they want me to get direct deposit and I didn’t, I didn’t do that yet. Anyway, long story anyway. So whatever it is, what it is. I’m learning, they seem super happy with me, which is nice to be in a place where people are like, “Yeah, Jackie’s here!”
Well, I was hired as a prep cook, but that was when they thought I had more cooking experience. I’m now back in the dish pit, which is where I prefer to be truth, be told, like, I yesterday still had to like put hamburgers to get like, I don’t really like touching the meat if I don’t have to and dealing with the meat, like, I’ve touched more meat this week, then I would normally in, you know, years, but whatever. So I prefer to, but they even saved the compost for me. Like I walked in yesterday and the owner was like, I started you a compost bucket, or the manager or whatever. And I was like, awe, so that’s sweet.
And yeah, they seem super happy with me. I don’t know, whatever it’s, it’s a job for now. That will, Mike’s not too happy about me being there, but yeah, that’s anyway. Yeah, it gets me a, the one thing that I’m super, like when I used to work at the Buffalo Cafe, I used to get like three miles a day on my health app, you know, logging. And I’m not even barely getting a mile here. It’s a much smaller kitchen. And just, I would like to be getting more exercise. I always said with the Buffalo, I’m just here for the fitness plan. That being said, part of the reason I didn’t go back to the Buffalo is because I am so like unfit.
I couldn’t do the job at the Buf. I might be getting there, close to where I could probably do it. But like at the beginning of the summer, I was so out of shape. I mean, I couldn’t even walk a lap around the track three months ago. Like when I came to New York, I could barely walk a mile. Now I’m up to like, I’m back to where I can almost do three miles without having a sit down again. I started running again in the mornings with someone and Friday, we meet at 6:30 or we’re going to start meeting at seven now because it’s dark at 6:30 in Montana.
It helps cause she went away for the weekend and we didn’t run my name Friday. And so of course, did I run now without her? So she definitely helps. And yeah, so I’m getting there. It’s healthy, you know, whatever. And it’s close. I mean, it’s right in towns that are having drive to Whitefish. That was the thing about the Buffalo an hour drive. And I don’t know how to do that. This is only a 20 minute drive. I don’t know. Anyway, let’s, get to the show.
Okay, here we go. Welcome to the GREEN Organic Garden. And it is Saturday, August 21st, 2021. And I am back on the mic with my Soil Sista and Garden Friend Forever (GFF) Aileen Catrone, who was our golden listener of the year in 2020, because she took what she learned on the podcast and put into place. And here, we’re going to talk about how awesome her garden is. She’s been posting on Instagram and Facebook if you haven’t seen what amazing thing she’s got going. Welcome to the show. Welcome cohost, Aileen!
Yeah! Stephen Ritz last week. And it was the zoom kept going in and out in and out. I thought it was his computer, but now I’m wondering, was it mine? Because yesterday I went to do that interview. Didn’t work. Anyway, tell us what’s going on in your garden. What your weather like today, are you guys getting that hurricane? We have like rain coming on, which I’m super excited about.
It is so humid, hot, sticky, you know, eighties, but sticky, gray, you know, which is kind of nice because it’s easier to work in the garden instead of the sun beating on you. So, you know, working out there, I’m cutting back all the tomatoes, it’s insane, but I got to cut them back to get ready for the fall garden.
I’m thinking, what about your pictures you posted that said my husband’s got some work to do, the chef’s got to do some processing because you have a lot of tomatoes! And I’m kind of in the same boat. I have tomatoes, I’m hoping to make my sauce today and then my salsa out of the next batch. But I’m, I don’t know.
Cause I did find some peppers that were like hiding under a plant, that I didn’t know. And I have some like full-sized peppers that I grew. I’m so excited! I posted my picture my first cucumbers I ever grew this year, like Mike has been pickling cucumbers and making pickles cause he’s harvested more. His cucumbers were his best this year I think of everything he grew. I mean, he just has a ton of cucumbers and he’s been making pickles. He also pickled beets, which I love for the summer. And we actually had a woman who likes our golden beets. She’s like, Ooh, does Mike sell the pickled beets? She’s never wanted the red beets from us. And I said, we have lots of the cylindrical beets, Mike’s been pickling them.
Yeah. Anyway, we’re talking about your tomatoes. You’re harvesting, you’re cutting back your tomato plants. You’re cutting them at the base. So you don’t disturb your soil and you’re going to plant your fall garden?
Yes. I’m going to start some seeds outside like arugula, lettuces, you know, just some full garden stuff. I also started the indoor seeds in the seed trays and my brassicas already came up. I have broccoli rabe, broccoli Calabrese and Walton, Walton, broccoli. I have some cauliflower going, some beets. I know, I know you could do beets outside, but I just wanted to get a little headstart on doing them indoors.
A lot of people say that’s the better way to go because you get a better germination rate. And then when you transplant them, you’ve got three weeks on, you know, like putting them in the ground and then you can make sure that they’re, like the one thing we have with beets is like thinning them. Then you gotta go down and thin them which I don’t, I’m not the biggest fan of. I mean, it’s kind of nice to have those fresh beet greens, but now I’m so overwhelmed with greens, beet greens, my Swiss chard is finally coming on. What are the other greens? Like and, I don’t have enough lettuce greens.
Lettuce is one of our favorites that Paris cos, that’s a romaine, oh my goodness. It’s delicious. That’s a delicious lettuce that I did in the spring. But actually, you know, it gets too hot for lettuces unless you had row covers and you put them more in a shady spot, then would probably last a little bit longer, but I’m going to try them for the fall crops. So that would be nice.
I planted some romaine and they didn’t, they didn’t do any, they, it was like, they came up and I don’t know what happened to them. They just like, I went down there. I don’t see them anymore. They never, they sprouted out of the ground. And I was like, oh cool. It’s going to work where it took my broccoli out. And then they just like, they’re not there. They vanished. They just kind of like my basil, I guess they probably like overheated, just like my basils, like they came out the ground and then they vanished. I just don’t have your seedling growing ability, I don’t have it down yet.
Yeah. The weather here, you didn’t have much rain. You had a lot of heat, like, come on you real quick. You know? That’s a lot to deal with. Mother Nature is finicky, you know, and funny and you just gotta like dance to her tune. That’s what I think. I mean sometimes you have a good waltz and sometimes you don’t. That’s how I looked at it. It’s amazing. I mean, corn, I tried corn right for the first time. And I knew that you had to plant them kind of close together because they have to self pollinate each other, like touch each other. And there was so many bees around. So I did get corn, but was it edible?
I had posted on Facebook and Patty Armbrister said it was a pollination problem and stuff like that. So literally it was all different stages too, I could, I did taste them all. There was one that was white. That was like, not ready yet, but it was so sweet and delicious that kernel and the other ones were really yellow, dark yellow.
And it was the really dark yellow ones were. I didn’t know that how to pick them either. So I had to figure that out online. And then I realized, I was like, oh my God, these are probably really old because their silk if they start to get too brown, the silk that’s coming out at the top, like a nice light brown, you know, like a real, like white to really tinted brown would be good, then, you know, they’re ready. But mine, this one was dark brown. So I knew that I was like, ought oh, that’s too late. But then I started picking them all, cause I wanted to see, cause this is a big experiment for me. And I got to tell you the ones that were dark yellow, they tasted like, if you let them dry, you could actually make like a cool corn meal.
Like if you were to dry them and then, you know, smash them up, like in a pestle and mortar or something to make like a grain, you could probably make this corn meal or something, you know, taste of it anyway. So it was pretty interesting. I’m going to grow another variety and an early one called candy corn. And I think it takes like 60 days, you know? And then you’d have to add 14 days for germination. So, you know, maybe 74 days and it likes cooler temperatures. So I’m excited to do that one. You know, I’m going to plant that out there this weekend and see what happens.
Yeah. Some are in hay stacks and some are in the soil. So let’s see what happens. I got those straw straw bales, I should say on hay stacks, but straw bales and some are in the soil. So once I clean out some things, you know. The other thing too, you have to be careful how to take care of what birds and stuff. So I have to put like some kind of netting, you know, cause birds and squirrels will come and eat your seeds. That’s for sure. So I don’t want to waste my time. And that’s what I like about the straw bales cause when you, you can stick it in there. It’s kind of hard to find, you know, where the soil, you really have to throw some mulch on top and so you can mask them and hopefully they don’t come pecking around, you know?
I think that’s what happened to a lot of my bird seed, my sunflower seeds. That’s the thing, I love about bird seed, sunflower, like I just feel like they’re just more fun and light. You get more blooms off away. And like my, some of them they’re just so cute coming on right now. I still swear all of my sunflowers bloom the second week in August no matter when I plant them, they’re all coming on at the same time. But those, the edible ones that I bought this year that Mike planted like bunches of, that are really short. They’re so cute, cause they’re only like two feet high. They’re all blooming like crazy. I want to try to like, I’m going to go down there and maybe today, now that I, my day off and try that recipe in the Forger Chef book about eating the raw, like making, like he says, instead of artichoke hearts, you can make like a sunflower choke heart type of food.
So I’m going to try that recipe today. Maybe if I get down there before it rains, it’s supposed to pour rain any minute and then, but the other ones, the ones that are blooming in my garden, they’re just, I just feel like they’re so friendly and they just look so I don’t know. It’s just like a different, I like the bird seed sunflowers.
She’s in Virginia And I just, I don’t know. And it could be the seed she used, you know, she uses those pollen-less ones, which definitely the sunflowers I picked and brought in a bouquet, like there’s major pollen all over my windowsill, and my kitchen table where I’ve like put bouquets because mine, you know, that’s why she grows those pollen-less ones. Because like, if you’re selling them to like, people don’t want that. People don’t want them leaving pollen. I know I’ve taken him to school and given him a secretary’s before and they’re just like, well, you can get the pollen off my desk, I love your sunflowers, but like people are, parents are coming in to sign.
So I don’t know if that’s what it is? But it just seems like to me in Montana, that’s been my experience is that they all kind of bloom the first, the third, you know, first, second, third week in August, whether I plant them in April or plant them in June. I know she told me she’s like, I specifically asked her on her sunflower growing webinar. I was like, is this possible or is this my imagination? She’s like, yep it’s your imagination she’s like that’ not how they work, but IDK. The other thing that Lisa Ziegler, she’s the one that got me to buy the row cover, finally. I’m like, so I’ve covered my kale with the row cover this year and it doesn’t have the bugs.
It definitely is a healthiest looking kale, but I’ll tell you, like, I am still waiting for my plants to be big enough that like, I feel comfortable picking, like they’re just not getting any size to them. There’s just not, cause they’re not getting the sunlight I think. And then I think they seem to be getting, I don’t know, cause like now we’ve had rain. We had rain Tuesday, Wednesday, I think Tuesday, it just poured just torrential downpour like I have not seen in ages. And then Wednesday was pretty like I haven’t taken the row cover off since Monday. So I don’t know what they look like now. I don’t know how much rain they’re getting through the row cover, but that’s the one thing about them.
That’s kind of weird. Now, I also do have them in a bed that Mike one said has horrible soil and I should have took the soil out and replaced it with new soil. I grew buckwheat in it last year, hoping that that was going to like, you know, be the cover crop I chopped and dropped it. So I thought that was going to improve my soil, but he thinks that’s a big part of my problem is my soil is not, and it’s also under a tree, so it doesn’t get a lot of sun. It gets a lot of shade. It’s in a pretty shady place, but kale, you know, it’s supposed to, so I don’t know. My kale experiment is mixed as far as like, yeah, I don’t have the bugs this year. And then the other thing I did was I planted a row of sunflowers behind the kale and they were like getting so tall, the row cover, like I had to move them and I transplanted them and some survived the transplant and some did not.
My garden beds, I always add the kitchen scraps. Does that make sense to you? Like I put like little pieces of cardboard or toilet paper, you know, the rolls, you know that the cardboard part, I’m always throwing all stuff, materials in the beds too. So I’m kind of like creating like a passive composting in my beds. So I mean, it’s improving the soil, I think. I mean obviously cause I’m growing, you know, things are working. So I don’t know if you adding some things like that, like just some kitchen scraps, throw some cardboard or over it, you know, water it down in that area that you were talking about, and maybe you could replenish that soil.
I do. Well, Mike and I fight over kitchen scrap compost. He’s the priority because he obviously grows so much more than I do, but I do have a batch down there that I just turned over last night. That’s just about ready to go on a bed, but I’m not sure it’s going to go on that kale bed. Like there might be another priority bed that’s a waiting for it.
Yeah. What about what you’re going to be collecting from your new job? Just start throwing that in there cause then it’s not taken away from Mike’s stuff or the house stuff. It’s just something you’re bringing home.
Yeah. Well I throw that in our compost bins and we have two, we have two compost bins that are like the primary compost bins that get like the grass clippings and the food scraps and like all that kind of thing. And then he has three compost bins down in the mini farm. And then we have two that are outside of our garden that get kind of like the bigger stuff that takes longer. Like, you know, the corn stalks, the sunflower stalks, like anything that takes a really long time to decompose. But yeah, he definitely, we try to prioritize where it goes and just this year there just hasn’t been that much. And then I have to admit like a lot of stuff I’ve been like throwing out for the poor deer because they like all my beet green scraps that like, you know, the bad stuff.
Yes. I planted seeds, Nanticoke squash from Experimental Farm Network. That’s where I got the seeds and they, if they grew and they’re still growing these big, huge green squashed, their winter squash. And I had one that started very early, like a month ago, you know? Well, didn’t it start if I picked it a month ago. So, and I started in the spring ambulance last night, Bobby said, oh, let’s try and cut this open, see what it looks like. So he cuts it up and it’s this beautiful orange flash.
And the smell was just like, you were like, oh, you know, this is going to be good. So like, there’ve been the oven, he cut them off. He put them in the oven and he also did some spaghetti squash that I had too. And he put olive oil, a little bit of pumpkin spice and salt and put them in 400 degrees for two, two and a half hours. And then we shut off the oven and then let them call down on their own overnight. You know, they were covered. And this morning when I took it out, I took out one piece and put in the microwave for just a minute. There’s no salt on it. And all my goodness, the taste was amazing.
Soft tender. Oh, it was delicious. And it smelled like Thanksgiving because of the pumpkin spice was just delicious. And then my son woke up and then I made a piece for him, you know, in the microwave really quick. So he could eat something. And he was like, mom, this is really good. I was like, your father is like chef for the future. So I’m very happy. And they’re growing like crazy now because they said like, if you take, if you pick one squash or one zucchini or what to it regenerates the plan to grow more fruit, you know, pushes the plant. So that’s what happened because now there’s so many out there so many insecurities, so many squash coming up.
I’m so thankful, so thankful. And these are all in straw bales, mind you there, you know what I mean? They’re growing out of straw bales. It’s pretty amazing. And I’m also using fish emulsion. You know what I mean? I do that every other week or so or three weeks, you know? So I put some bone meal, blood meal, like real sprinkle here and there. So it’s healthy. It’s all working out. I’m thankful. It was delicious.
That sounds so good. I can’t like, I’m like trying to picture, I’m like, where’s my phone? Did I take a photo of it? But I don’t have my phone here, but the only, I guess my recipe this week would be Mike’s pickled beets that were just so good. I don’t know. He makes like this like vinegar and cinnamon sticks and all space. And I don’t know some
I know, but I ended up finding like a sack of all spice that I had here. And it was, I don’t know if the health food store does have all spice. I don’t think so. Cause I think all spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clothes mixed together, just like he ended up using was the all spice that I had in the plastic bag that I had bought from the grocery store. And then he’s going to make bread and butter pickles for me out of the cucumbers. We have so many cucumbers. It’s just awesome. So he made regular pickles. Those were so good. And then pickled beets that I put on my salad with, like, cause I just basically been eating a rugala.
I do have like this bed of a rugala that I planted that I thought was going to be a fall bed, but I’ve been eating on it for over a month and it’s still growing like crazy. Like every time I harvest it, I think this is going to be my last harvest. And then it comes back and I’m still getting, I got a huge salad of it last night, just super easy. And like this morning, you can’t even tell that I harvested the solid last night and I got enough for salad last night and there’s salad in the fridge for today. And then again, like I said, it almost looks like it’s growing back again already that you can’t even tell where I harvested it. I just have this tub right outside my kitchen that I just learned. So, but I did pick like a flower too last night.
So that, that tells me it’s it’s not going to last that long. And then I have these two other pots that I planted in March that I finally gave up on and I’m going to replant them maybe today, hopefully one I’m going to put up with a regular and one going to play it with lettuce, like a bromine or some kind of head lettuce. I’m just so disappointed. My headless, I put where I took that broccoli out. Didn’t grow. Like I was like, ah, I thought it was working and then it didn’t now I feel like I’m almost back to like September 1st or I put it in last year and it didn’t make
I could, I could do that. Like I have these trees where I planted that. Bazell just sitting here with the dirt and like, they never like finally I brought them in the house. Cause I thought they would do better in here. And like, so I’m thinking like maybe I should take that dirt re like take the dirt that I grew the rugal and put it somewhere else. Fill those buckets tubs with this dirt. And then, and then try, I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing. Who knows? You never know. I’ll be like, this is my plan. And then when I actually do it and go do it, it’s like a whole nother thing.
To try the base gun. The one good thing is like, I do have this patch of like a hundred Bazell plants, all in like a space of like three feet down below that are coming up that are like an inch and a half high. And so I’m thinking any day now I’m going to go down and scoop those out of there. Because if we get a frost, they will all freeze and bring them in. And so use them show that. I mean, maybe that will take off because what I want to do is make like little Beeson plans for people for like Christmas gifts. Then I can be like, here’s a visa plan for your window. So because our grocery store, like I know, and I know people that buy like one of those little living Bazell things once a week, like they use so much Faisal that they buy it and I’m like, I don’t understand why you buy that and why you don’t grow a plant on your window.
You got to utilize that because that’s what I’m utilizing for the sand room. And you know what I mean? You pack, you make, do the pots, put the, you know, soil, put the seeds and then you put a plastic cover on them and it has to make like a humidity dome. That’s what
Know, I don’t like to waste stock. Like why waste it? Why throw it in the garbage when you could reuse it? Like, that’s always my big thing. I don’t want to throw something in the garbage that I could use.
Yes. And it’s very easy to come in all sizes. I use Ziploc bags, Ziploc bags, and you know that we might’ve had something in or I reuse everything. So that’s it just put it, you know, cover it, let it, it’s kind of like a humidity, you know what I mean? And your soil has to be wet. It has to be moist when you put the seeds in.
That? Totally. Oh, winter sowing. Yes. Did you do that? Like in November? Yes. October, November. You could start winter sowing, literally take, I take myself through bottles, any kind of milk jugs, put holes in it, you know, open the top where you can, like, it ha it has a hinge. Like when you’re, when you opened like three times,
Cause then you’re going to tape it up. You’re going to tape that whole scene, cut it off because all your soil and your it’s going to make a humidity dome in there. So the actual seeds are going to germinate when it’s their time. And the thing is to make sure they are in a nice, well protected area. Like not like in a, in an area that’s going to flood and it’s going to play out your seeds. You know what I mean? If you could put them up on something so that they can just grab some rain water when they need it, but, and not in direct sunlight, it’s, you know, it’s going to vary because depending on the, you know, the weather outside, you know, but you don’t have to really move them.
You know? So the winter sowing, that’s why I could say winter sowing, you can look it up. It’s amazing. And Esther’s, there’s a YouTube channel Esther’s garden. I think I sent you the link that’s who got me started on the winter sowing and was looking at our YouTube videos and see,
They need to be outside. They can’t be in the greenhouse, has to be outside of the environment because they have to get cold. As you know, nature takes its course. And then in the spring it will, they will come up when they need to the
Cool it came up like that. My Phil came up. I mean, I did quite a few things like my sunflowers, you know, I did those in the house. I did a couple outside, but they weren’t so great, but you can do a lot, you know, peppers. I did a lot of peppers that way too. So I was not completely successful on the peppers. I think, you know, I have a learning curve to deal with peppers. They have a different, and I didn’t know that, you know, they’re perennials too. They like, you can overwinter them in the house. He cut them back peppers, and then you can overwhelm them in the house. And then in the spring you take, you know, when, when it gets warmer out, you take them back out.
No, no idea been like my star performers this year, I planted these like really skinny Johnny or Delo. I think they’re called that are like Wong and skinny. They’re the sweetest peppers you’ve ever had. And they’ve been like turning red for like a month now. And now they’re getting like really big in size, but I’ve been putting those on everything. And then my green bell peppers, like I have this one plant and I went down there about, I dunno, three weeks ago and took all the bottom leaves off. And when I went down two days ago, there were huge bell peppers under there that I picked two giant green ones. And then there’s still like three or four coming on. And this plant that I didn’t even realize, like there were peppers on it, but pulling those bottom plant, those bottom leaves off.
Whenever you told me, pull the bottom, leaves off the tomato plants. I did it. And it was like, I can’t believe the success there’s one plant has had, and there are other, like, I’ve had good luck with peppers this year. That’s awesome. And those Johnny drawers, I mean, they’re just so sweet. They’re long. They look like hot peppers, but they’re not, they’re super sweet and just super fun to grow and they just keep turning red. And I have an abundance of them too. Whoa, we’ve been talking longer than I thought we would show what’s wrapping up. Anything else you want to tell us?
It was nice to talk to you, Jack. It was so fun to talk to you. This is like the highlight of my week, so, and I’m glad it worked and I love your garden friend forever. And I’ll talk to you and waving to you. I know we don’t have our cameras on, but I’m leaving. Bye.
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About the author, Jackie Marie
I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.