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196. Gardening Know How blogger | Kristi Waterworth | Fort Worth, TX
23rd October 2017 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 01:09:40

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Kristi Waterworth grew up on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks, where nothing could top sneaking samples from the rows of onions, marigolds, tomatoes, okra, peas, and beans in her mother’s garden. When her father gave her a copy of “The Square Foot Gardener” as a preteen, her interest in gardening exploded. Kristi’s dreams of vegetation soon bloomed into a small commercial greenhouse, where she sold heirloom vegetables and offered advice to a steady stream of gardeners from all walks of life. Sadly, she closed the greenhouse in 2011, but continues to write about gardening while studying seed catalogs and experimenting with gardening techniques.

I found Kristi when I was researching Harlequin Bugs and found this great article she’d written and so I asked her to come share with us today!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a copywriter, I was trained as a journalist. the small town newspaper concept is not really a viable career path so I converted to copywriting about 7 years ago, which is how I got into writing for gardening channels.

grew up in SW Missouri on a small beef operation. So it was really important that we had a vegetable garden because it helped feed us throughout the year. The small town, everyone had a garden, my grand mother had a bajillion little pots of Oxalis (flowering shamrocks) and african violets. It always kind of part of the culture I grew up in. 

So when I was offered an opportunity to do gardening content for demand media that produces ehow I took it and then I went over to gardening know how…

Can I just ask are you a millennial?

I am 37 years old in betweenneers between the gen x’ers and little generation

I love millenials. 

marketing definition


marketing purposes I consume content in similar ways. I only got my first smart phone a couple of years ago but I was like I’m addicted to this thing!

So I read like a millennial but there are other things I do like a gen xer.

I didn’t grow up with a computer. We had an apple2E when I was 15 first time I had seen a computer in my life. One of the most millennials big definining characteristics

pc native

grew up understanding that language, we got it as teenagers, so I’m semi-fluents.

I got my first iPod Touch, I was working at the Apple store and I was like how did I ever live without it?

I feel the same way with my smart phone, there are several aspects of my business I run off my phone….literally it has more computing power then the bank of computers what sent up Apollo 13.

How did you learn how to garden organically or earth friendly techniques?

That’s the thing. Organic wasn’t really a thing then, or it wasn’t a thing we knew about.

When you messaged me, we weren’t really 100% organic. We did what was necessary, anti-biotic free and pesticide is fine until you have a problem and then sometimes it’s where it gets to the point when it’s cruelty to deny that. 

If you have a cow that has pink-eye don’t just force it to suffer, you give it anti-biotics. 

We had a lot of manure laying around, we had cow waste. We used what we had.  Compost and cow manure laying around, the hay that was rotting in the back of the barn. That’s what you have.

In south west Missouri, there’s lots of folk ways, not medicines.

We have folk traditions for how you deal with certain kinds of pests.

Natural Deer Repellant

There are so many deer there!

One of the ways they say is to put a fence up and hang onions on it. I think it works if you don’t actually have deer. But what does work is if you have old pie pans and you hang them off the fence, anything that will make a lot of noise and that will scare the deer because they’re skiddish pest animals.

It will work, only works to a point, rotate your scare traps.

kept in by a fence

rabbits and deer both is fencing

deer require an 8-10 foot fence


what you ought to do is dig a trench

wire 2 foot deep

45º angle with a bend

dig under

pests it’s a matter of control

don’t even have to get anything else involved, it’s al ot of labor. 

This has been so timely, they have been big questions in our Facebook group. Dropping lots of golden seeds. 

This is a lot of what I have done for the at least seven years. I somehow have managed to carve out a niche in Pest Management. I wrote over 1200 articles! I have done some research.

One of my listeners talked about burying wine bottles and the wind would whip through….

I haven’t heard of that in particular if it was really windy


a lot of people think moles are a big problem, it’s usually gophers.

Moles they live really low in the soil and they don’t really eat garden/plants. They usually eat worms and grubs so they can do damage if the water table gets too high. They don’t like to get up where plant roots would be. That’s just an aside that does not matter.

Gophers are really hard to deal with them.

We had a dog that would give them up! Get a dog and teach it to dig them up!

That’s kind of what keeps them out of our place. I think cause the dogs keep them at bay outside the fenced in area.

That’s what worked on our farm. My grandfather had a couple of big old beagles. We had a big ol farm dog, half collie and half german shepard. We always had a bunch of dogs running around.

Do you have a garden now?

Right now we are in a rental

don’t have a garden

a couple of plants

Blood Banana ~ Musa zebrina!

I never been able to grow a banana. I have a Musa zebrina it’s called a blood banana. It has big green leaves with red splotches I have that growing in a pot because as soon as I saw it the Home Depot, I sort of squealed and ran towards it in sort of slow motion!

My husband is like what are you doing?  I was like a Musa zebrina!

He was like what the hell is that? We had a fight at the Home Depot.

I do a lot of looking and learning

drive through neighborhoods

don’t see a lot of trees

a lot of prairie

can’t think of the other thing that they call it when we pull it up on the map. There’s lots of prairie and decent farmland colliding here. The prairie is soil is really sandy and I think it’s gonna be trickier to grow things here.

In sw Missouri, you learn how to grow in really bad conditions because there is almost no top soil. Your garden is going to be more rock then dirt and what dirt you have is probably clay. When I was a kid my dad used to pay us to pick rocks out of the garden. Not a small garden, probably bigger then my yard here in fort worth.

I have chickens so you can guess how happy my neighbors are! We’re gonna buy a house here in a year. 


what’s best here

The summers are really hot. There are like two separate growing season, have starts ready for February and then harvest for May or June and then it’s gonna get hotter then the sun! Then in Sept start dropping again. When I got here in February spring dresses because it was so hot and humid.

I think this will be a good place to two season cut gardens. I don’t have any friends that are local or that have any gardening experience so I don’t have a good feel for that.

I was gonna say, I have a lot of listeners in Texas, you should tell people how often you blog for Gardening Know How?

What I do is I work for the woman who owns the site. She sends me a packet of 5 questions that need to be answered I usually do about 10 a month.

she gives me 10

gardning know how experts

someboedy who knows stuff will get back to you. Whether it becomes and article depends on how frequently that question is asked. If someone asks something that’s way out there, Heather will just jump in there but if 40 people come in and ask how to get into palmetto, they are gross, super gross flying cockroaches! They are nasty.

People ask about a specific kind of  bug, may not be immediate… may take a while

I only get so many a month, not the same fairly close to demand media


gardening doesn’t change a whole lot year to year. Many have decent content

designed those questions by aggregating questions out of google.

How much compost do I need to put into my garden?

If enough people ask that question it will filter back into their system which is automated and then people do manual checks on it and it will come down to the writers. By the way the answer to that question is 

about 25% of the depth of the garden your gonna have

8” deep across

organic materials in the fall not in the spring that way they have time to break down. Then you do a soil test in the spring, to make sure everything is cool!

I have had this question asked so many times I thought I’d just answer it.

That’s interesting so if you have a bed that’s like 2 feet deep you’re gonna put 1/2 foot of compost?

Up to 25% depending on the compost you use, some of it has a high salt compost

if it’s from an animal source

  • cows,

  • goats

  • llamas on my farm

they all need salt supplements and then they pass that in their poo and urine so you don’t want to over salinate your garden that will kill everything.

almost 7 years…

I think you should put a book together!

I have considered it, I have one that I am working on, I don’t want to quote it wrong.

REemember what JLD says, if you have a choice between clear and clever, be clear and if you can be clever too!

I thought I was

That’s the number one rule in journalism

first goal is to communicate

and then goal is to entertain

Liar Liar Plants on Fire 10 Common Gardening Myths

working on it

Out there in Canada they used to have the Red Green show… pro duct tape

would love the Red Green show. He was a Canadian who duct taped everything

find him on youtube

probably on netflix…

fake fix it like program made you just cry

his big stick was the duct tape

I was on pbs

my dad growing up on a farm

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Let’s Get to the Root of Things!

Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden?


When you see articles that I’ve written, I always give this advice, this specific advice.

To keep disease down, at the end of the growing season you have this