I’m so excited I have a listener on the line who is going to share a ton of golden seeds! I talked to her before from Florida and she is going to share with us about her Sustainability Project!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
By day, I’m a REALTOR® and beekeeper.
I’m also a 3rd generation farmer.
My grandparents owned a 100 acre wheat farm on the prairie in rural Dufresne, Manitoba. My family lived off the land, they grew their food seasonally in a 1 acre vegetable garden. After the local community collectively brought in the fall harvest, they would busily preserve and can their produce for storage in their root cellar.
These people were a hardy bunch, they managed to survive the brutually harsh winters with minimal resources using a wood burning stove for heat, crude electric and no running water or indoor plumbing. They kept and cared for livestock and only took what they needed to survive, my ancestors practiced “The Tragedy of the Commons” method. That’s how they managed to raise a family of 8 in rural Manitoba.
And Manitoba is where people go to see the polar bears right?
Yes Churchill Manitoba is where the polar bears are.
Then you went to the opposite end of the continent practically to Florida.
Yes I did I got hired to work for Disney at the Epcot Center back in the early 80s and that’s where I met my husband two weeks later and we’ve been here ever since!
That’s so romantic! I always wanted to work for Disney, I tried to get a job or get into art school at the California Institute of Arts in LA.
Well, they must have liked me! I managed to beat out 64 other people fro the job! So yay for me!
And you worked there for a long time right?
Yes 35 years!
2. Tell me about your first gardening experience?
We used to visit the farm in the summer time every two years, however my mom! When my mother moved to the big city of Toronto, Ontario, she became a backyard farmer and composter carrying on her family farming tradition. I began helping my mother garden as a young child, she taught me valuable lessons in planting, harvesting and food preservation skills. All these years later I’ve been utilizing this and it’s been working out fantastic for me. Luckily for me, both my parents were award winning gardeners so pulling weeds or fresh carrots comes naturally.
So then is it challenging down in Florida? Do you have to learn different practices to grow in that climate?
Well, gardening is pretty much the same wherever you go. IT’s just the conditions and the climate. In Florida there is a sandy soil, where my parents lived it was a deep rich soil. You have to plant things things that grow well
I’m in climate zone 9b, it’s way different climate. They get snow and here we don’t get any snow, we hardly get any freezes?
3. How did you learn how to garden organically?
My mother taught me, she was a big time composter of our organic kitchen waste. In fact, she had 3 bins under the sink.
- regular trash
- recycables and
- strictly for organic waste
She didn’t use toxic chemicals as there were few available when she grew up, instead she did pest control by hand and by natural methods. She would plant different plants with different vegetables using companion planting as well.
They had to learn how to grow their own food and preserve it or they didn’t eat. So they had to learn quick!
And probably some of it was passed on from generation to generation!
Yes, of course.
4. Tell us about something that grew well this year.
It is winter, but you can grow crops in Florida all year long.
Adding 2 beehives to my garden mix was a huge plus this year.
I grew delicious Beefsteak tomatoes just like my mother did. We also had great success growing a wide variety of herbs, including our own organic oregano and basil.
- salsa garden peppers which are super hot!
- bell peppers
- mini oranges
- fruit and nuts
ended up growing delicious
What are pineapples like to grow?
Pineapples are so easy to grow
- leave like an inch of the top
- seed in some water
- keep adding water
- transplant to pot or soil
- Next thing you know you have a new pineapple growing!
So you can just eat the pineapple and grow a new one?
Yes there’s no waste! You can do it with onions and some other things. Including strawberries as well.
I think I knew that about strawberries, or at least I thought they would send runner out.
Yes, it’s like recycling the whole plant!
And fruit is so expensive, I hoping to add more fruit to our garden next year!
my sunflowers did great
they are wonderful
especially for pollinators!
5. Is there something you would do differently next year or want to try/new?
I would like to design a permaculture garden to maximize my urban growing space.
Right now I have 2 raised beds, and when I mean raised beds they are like 3 feet off the ground, you don’t have to bend over at all! Using raised bed gardens is a great way to grow food and not injure your back in the process!! My husband built these.
Me Too! What’s he building them out of ? What’s he making them out of 2x4s?
I’m excited to take the soil out next year and paint them like my beehives! We want to do the same thing with our raised beds! Make it more impressive!
My husband’s a graphic designer and they just look great!
I painted a mailbox for my mom years ago I thought would be a great place to keep my pruners and tools.
6. Tell me something that didn’t work so well this season.
Pumpkins, they were devoured by some grey larvae. I haven’t had any luck with pumpkins.
They start to grow, they’re great if you sprout them chop off the leaves and eat them! But as far as actually growing any pumpkins they just keep getting eaten!
I don’t like to use any pesticides, or use chemicals on property
- non-toxic and organic
Last year my friend Dacia gave me a pumpkin right after Halloween and that’s what I am hoping is going to work for us. She got it from a local grower and it grew right out of her compost pile.
Someone recommended to me, that I could actually spray pumpkins with a kaolin clay and that would coat them and prevent them from eating by this larve.
I have to do some more investigation and see how that’s used and applied.
Let us know or I’ll see if I can do some investigation. My mom’s biggest struggle is the squirrels want to eat them when she puts them out at Halloween. I told her put clay pumpkins out.
I’m gonna look in there.
Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking
you can actually grow a seminal pumpkin
They’re like mini gourds
they’ve been growing them and selling them
heat will kill them when it’s 90º+ but it’s great for growing peppers! Peppers grow like weeds. We grow bell peppers and jalopenos!
Do you make salsa? I need a good salsa recipe. What do you do with all your peppers?
We eat them in salad
sauté them with other vegetables a lot of time
I make my own salsa
- grow my own cilantro
- salsa peppers
I chop them all up, not the corn, I grow corn, not too much it’s an experiment. We’re growing peaches and cream corn this year.
- take the corn
- add that with the salsa peppers
- agave nectar
It sounds delicious!
And it’s good for you, it’s excellent for you!
almost everything is fresh!
not too much that I don’t grow
I like to eat organic that’s why I grow a lot of stuff I want to know where a lot of my stuff is coming from!
Let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors and affiliate links
Please support us on Patreon so we can keep the show up on the internet. It cost close to $100 a month just to keep it up on the internet for the website etc so if you could help by supporting it with an $8/month contribution or $10/month to join the Green Future Growers Book Club where we can delve deep into some of the best gardening books that have been recommended on the show! GoDaddy even is bugging me for dollars just to have the domain name…
Getting to the Root of Things!
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?
Pulling weeds and deterring pests!
I don’t like pulling weeds, it used to be a chore of mine when I was little.
I never wanted to do it!
They never did anything with toxic chemicals! They were all organic. It was like a little garden tool! It was like a little weed popper! IDK what you call it but it was almost like a golf club but it has like a hammers head and throw them in the compost bin!
Do you feel like you do thing now to reduce your weeds like mulch etc. I find with mulch and having such a water shortage at our house if there is no weeds where you don’t water.
Just recently when I bought my
Florida’s Edible Wild Plants: A Guide to Collecting and Cooking
There are a lot of weeds that I used to pull that in the last couple of weeks since I’ve been following the guide, I’m actually not pulling them and I have bees
I notice that on my wood sorrel they have flowers that are pink! I thought why would I pull this, it’s bee food!
it’s right be side my behave
sorrel looks like shamrocks
it’s bee-fedd and I’m gonna keep them
thistle with the little yellow flowers
I haven’t been pulling them, I have been leaving a good portion for the bees and butterflies
trying to keep my bees nourished and healthy!
Is that part of your Sustainability Project? Do you want to tell us about that?
It’s called the Sustainability project
It’s a community composting project, where I encourage all of my neighbors to drop off their compost so i can compost it in the garden so I can grow fruits and vegetables that nourish bees and butterflies and keep them healthy so I can grow organic food and return the surplus! IT’s fantastic.
How is that working for you? Do you give them a bucket? I love this idea! How is it all working?
People can drop off their paper bags, drop off to me, on my door step, really any day of the week, my husband is retired and he can turn it to them.
I just turn it into garden soil. I know some people, they have a few acres of property. I take them the excess if I can’t use it all.
we should composting food on the surface of the earth!
instead of sending it to the landfill
this is how people created garden soil
keep bees and pollinators healthy and nourished.
The big questions people have been asking me, with my garden course, because I start with healthy soil, and I think composting and personally I think it’s an easy clean garden job. But they are worried about getting animals in it. Do you get animals in your compost?
no I started experimenting with a tiny little old-fashioned apple barrel!
I started composting originally in that, I wanted to see how it would do?
it doesn’t smell
eat a banana and throw the peal into the grass, it disintegrates back into the ground
bucket or something, something that breathes, because wood breathes
that’s why I picked that little basket the first time.
it doesn’t smell it doesn’t smell at all
if you are just using organic scraps it doesn’t smell. If you add, potato peels,
don’t add potato peels
that I learned quickly
potato products will attract rodents!
But if you just use vegetable clippings and scrape them into the bowl and add to your compost pile. Just turn it once in a while
whenever you can.
We keep our pitchfork in there so it’s easy to turn when you walk by.
don’t get a chance
what I did
it’s so funny
metal lid that had a little hole
I was seeing lizards sitting on top of the lid where the whole was, waiting for the fruit flies to come out so they could eat them.
I start to see this whole ecosystem developing!
then I have all these black soldier fly worms they were voracious. They ate through
- tea bags
- anything organic
- they ate every bit of it
I thought this is nature at work!
what I ended up doing
I needed more
put stuff in a bigger area
go back with a rake and I turn everything! It’s really great!
I agree and I love your enthusiasm! I love also that it is so forgiving! If you can’t turn it for a few days. I don’t find that it smells.
The only thing is if you put onion peels in there they will smell for a couple of days, until they start decomposing, other then that it doesn’t smell,
I have never had an issue with anything getting in there, any kind of vermin
What I do, I have a fake decoy owl sitting on a pole. Maybe that’s why!
8. What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?
Say hello to all my plants, and my bees, and all the butterflies in my garden!
I wanna make it a really pleasant place!
We’re all a part of nature! I like to connect with everything, including the trees!
I have my favorite trees!
I want a really good vibe in my garden! Kind of following in my mother’s footsteps.
I love all of this, we talk about building an organic oasis, not just growing vegetables because we want you to create a beautiful place to hang out in.
I go barefoot in my garden all year round. I want to feel the dirt under my feet and between our toes.
You and I are different there!
I also live in Florida, the standard shoe is flip flops.
That was actually one of my biggest garden barriers, I finally got some awesome shoes from the Animal Rescue Site in Seattle. Because what I would do is wear my sandals down to the garden. These shoes even though they are open toed, they actually have a cover around your toe, the rest is open! That’s great that you like to be barefoot in the garden!
9. What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
This is funny! Water everything well. My husband is the one who taught me that!
water everything well!
Don’t overwater! That’s gonna help things grow.
make sure everything
That’s what happens to a lot of people they don’t water their garden’s enough and then they wonder why it dies?
It’s true, mike is always yelling at me, you have to water again today!
- watering property and enough
- have different water requirements
- rain barrel by my potting table
We have a 50 gallon barrel. Every day, I grab a bucket of water, we have a hose that runs out of it, spigot but I like to see what is happening so I do it by hand a lot. I water all the plants!
In Florida, stuff gets dried out so fast you could water in the morning, everything is gonna be dry
everything is moist and nothing is wilted and everything is watered well. Everything needs to be happy
And if you have a plant that is stressed because it doesn’t have water it won’t be healthy and it makes it susceptible to bugs and pests and diseases. A lot of my guests have talked about this.
That totally makes sense! Absolutely. They are going to come and say, it’s weak! Just like in nature the weakest link goes first!
10.Is there 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?
My trusty spade, my trusty green spade!
It’s a little chipped, and rough around the edges. I have another that’s bigger and plastic
This is metal and I just love it.
I thought you might talk about your potting shelf. I think that is a great idea, I saw one at my friend Nola’s her husband built her a whole shed and it was so cool. Mike wants a washing bench in the garden I know.
I do, in fact, there’s a local home improvement store by my house, they sell them, we bought one from there, it was easy to put up, and pop it up, put it in place, put some screws in. We painted it with outdoor paint, a couple of good coats to preserve the wood!
On the top shelf for potting, I have some clay pots on there
- middle shelf
- what I do I keep all my soil bags.
- I keep all my trays in there
- keep them stacked up
- on the bottom
- store all of my garden soil bags
- on each side I have hooks
- my husband built it for me
- all the hooks
- all my garden tools
right beside where my table is on the other side of my door so I can water it’s great! It works well for me.
I know when Mike transplants starts it helps to put water in the hole and when your transplanting it’s dirty so it’s nice to be able to wash your hands etc.
11. A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
We make delicious Margarita pizza with our own freshly grown toppings like our hot and spicy oregano, basil, tomatoes, jalapenos and bell peppers. You get a burst of flavor with every bite!
My husband will go out and pick some sprigs of spicy oregano
all these toppings
- finely chops it
- little tiny pieces
- minces all the vegetables us with the herbs
Then we put that on pizza dough
chop it fine put it in there and with every single bite you get a burst of flavor.
The oregano is so strong and sweet it gives you a burst of flavor
both sat back and said wow and were like so fresh!
I like that idea of chopping all the vegetables together! You can’t go wrong with fresh!
A lot of pizza places
they’re gonna give you a slice of mushroom! Or tomato, or what ever they are putting on the pizza, they are gonna put a whole piece but if you chop it finely, it gets evenly distributed and you get a burst in each bite!
12. A favorite internet resource?
My local county agricultural extension office is terrific.
ok, as far as gardening goes I have fallen in love with my local county extensions agencies! I know some of the people that run them. They are just a wealth of knowledge, just for your local community and what grows well in what season!
They have master gardeners
that you can have come out to your house or give you advice.
You can email them. They are just terrific resources
A lot of people, it’s volunteer will volunteer to come out and give you a helping hand sharing your garden. It’s great helping people and sharing your knowledge about gardening and growing food!
I think it’s a great resource and mentioned on my show but I think it’s just such a great resource and I think you can even buy trees etc or sources to buy thing for your climate.
They can help with resources on where to get seeds or buy plants or identify plants
I had some basil plants the leaves were turning brown and I took it to the extension office and they recognized it was a fungus and told me what to do.
I know I was visiting my mom, who had a tree that was struggling and these spots on her lawn and I wanted her to take a sample to her extension office.
13. A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website you can recommend?
Permaculture groups on Facebook and online, they are a wealth of knowledge..
I’m involved with several with them
I love the permaculture group on Facebook
one thing I love about permaculture
it embraces three ethics
- care for the earth
- care for others
- share the surplus
I would encourage anyone to look up permaculture! IT’s all done organically and I find these people to be very holistic.
I hadn’t even heard about permaculture till I started my podcast and Kelly Ware came on and talked about it and it’s been one of the most downloaded episodes. I agree there’s lots of research and people sharing their knowledge!
I find it homey! I just find it kind at home there! I can be ME there!
My mom was my inspiration she was an amazing person! She grew enough food in our urban neighborhood just outside our home in summertime, to feed our neighborhood! She would say, take this to so and so I don’t think they are eating enough. This was how my mother grew up, always shared with neighbors, and for the greater good of everyone!
That’s awesome! And you share it so eloquently.
14. If you have a business do you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?
I personally signed up as an online vendor at www.veggievinder.com , also contact your local agricultural office for tips and I would suggest locating your nearest farmers market for vendor requirements.
I know you interviewed Sam Lillie, I’m actually one of is Veggie Vinders.
I’m online as a seller. If you are interested for starting a business, then go to your local market, find out what they require. If they require insurance to sell products there.
I know mine locally requires insurance. I haven’t sold anything to them yet, with the farmer’s market.
actually asked for insurance
all of them down here.
mine is here
I like to share my food, not so much into selling it
share or barter
trade for some jelly or jam
trade people for product and services
Mark and I, we have been doing this for year, we used to do this when we had our business. We would trade people for services and products a then buy.
That’s interesting we were just watching a Grateful Dead show on YouTube yesterday and when you used to go to a dead show there was like a giant community in the parking lot you could trade for thins there was like a whole little barter market. And you can barter a lot of things online in facebook groups these days etc.
You can acquire a lot through trading
- when you grow up in rural community
- get a hold of your nearest neighbor
- if you can do it it helps you connect with your neighbors
- somebody is going to need something
We actually just traded for a wood stove, I’m so glad Mike held out because we got a great one with a glass door and you can see the fire. And I just replayed an interview I did with Jim Swanson about his llamas and he talked about trading fencing for his place and thought I need something to keep here. And now that I think about it Mike traded fire wood for our bee hives. It was crazy in the middle of August hot summer hauling all these loads of wood.
It’s a great way to go local and keep your carbon footprint down!
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 you’re 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?
Wow, that was a loaded question!
Firstly, I am getting ready to launch a community composting program called “The Sustainability Project” .
This is where I encourage all my neighbors to drop off their organic kitchen waste and paper products in a paper bag so that I can compost it, then turn into rich garden soil in allowing me to grow pollen and nectar loaded bee and butterfly friendly flowers and plants as well as vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, nuts, seeds and foliage. The program goal is to feed and nourish our beloved pollinators to help them regenerate, thrive and survive as well as feed ourselves and share the surplus with our neighbors.
habitat loss, poor nutrition, environmental toxins, GMO’s, plastic waste and climate change are impacting gardeners and growers world-wide. We need to be very concerned about the health of our air, lands and oceans. What we have now is a massive pollution problem on this planet which no one is addressing in any purposeful way and our very lives may depend on us collectively finding solutions.
I believe that food security is going to become a huge issue for many global communities in the coming years with the instability of more frequent droughts, floods, heatwaves, wildfires, sea level rise and stronger storms that will directly affect how we grow food. I would suggest to your listeners to get educated now on alternative, organic growing methods commonly practiced in permaculture.
Keep honeybees, add a rain barrel or two for potable water, install solar panels to generate your own electricity, learn how to grow microgreens, sprouts and herbs indoors, learn as much as you can about hydroponics, aquaponics, biochar, vertical gardens and other cutting edge growing methods and green building designs. Take a classes at your local county extension office to stay well educated on our collective gardening future.
I love this, I feel like I am struggling with this, about eating fruit that comes in a plastic container. I feel like I love that Alexandra Cortez Ocasio, I call her ACE, with her green new deal. I feel like we need leadership and things put into place, we’re tired of waiting.
16.Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
Yes, know where your food comes from!
Do your research, eat organic, grow your own food, opt out of the industrial food conveyor belt for your health and well being. Give a more plant based diet a whirl on #MeatLessMondays.
The future is in “we” instead of “me” by working cooperatively together towards common goals for the greater good of everyone in our communities. We can all be “Rainbow Warriors” and together we will turn the earth green again.
Bee a part of the solution!
How do we connect with you?
Carolyn “Care” Bellamy, REALTOR® G O GREEN!
Connect and “Like” us on Facebook at “The Sustainability Project” Check out my community composting project website at: www.thesustainabilityproject1.org
We’d love if you’d join Organic Gardener Podcast Facebook Community!
The Organic Gardener Podcast is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
If you like what you heard on the Organic Gardener Podcast we’d love it if you’d give us review and hopefully a 5 star rating on iTunes so other gardeners can find us and listen to. Just click on the link here.
and don’t forget if you need help getting started check out our new
Remember you can get the 2018 Garden Journal and Data Keeper to record your garden goals in our
You can download the first 30 days here while you’re waiting for it to come in the mail.
We’d love if you’d join Organic Gardener Podcast Facebook Community!