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417. Listener and Backyard Gardener | LeeAnn Sanders | Yaak, MT
9th May 2022 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 01:04:07

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Zucchini Marmalade

yields 5 half pint jars

 

4 Cups zucchini, peels left on, seeds removed and coarsely ground

2 oranges, ground with peel

5 Cups sugar

 

Mix all ingredients well. Cover and let stand 8 hours. Bring mixture to a boil in a non-reactive pot and let stand another 8 hours (or longer if needed). Add juice of one lemon (2 Tbsp). Boil to jelly stage. Pour into sterilized jelly jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process 10 minutes, adjusting accordingly for altitude. 

 

Cooks Note: I prefer to use a food grinder to prep the squash and orange but have also used a food processor. With the processor you have to watch out for larger chunks of fruit. 


Little Jars, Big Flavors, published by Southern Living/Oxmoor House in 2013

Tart Basil Jelly Recipe

Southern Living Little Jars, Big Flavors: Small-batch jams, jellies, pickles, and preserves from the South's most trusted kitchen

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As We See It 

Curious incident of the dog in the night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

 

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VegetableGardenPestHandbook

The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook: Identify and Solve Common Pest Problems on Edible Plants - All Natural Solutions!

Susan's in the Garden

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Kitchen Garden Revival- A modern guide to creating a stylish, small-scale, low-maintenance, edible garden

Kitchen Garden Revival: A modern guide to creating a stylish, small-scale, low-maintenance, edible garden

https://www.gardenary.com

 

 

 

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Transcripts

st,:

5m 28s

LeeAnn Sanders

Sure. I am 66 years old, retired teacher. I come from California, but I've been in the upper Northwest part of Montana for almost 15 years. So I have learned a new style of gardening up here. Have always been mostly organic or tended towards organic gardening. That and gardening is a passion of mine. Love doing it. I love sharing what I've learned, but I also feel like I'm a lifelong learner in this process. I'm always learning new things despite having done it for 60 something years because I did start very early.

6m 15s

LeeAnn Sanders

So yeah, I love talking about it. I love sharing what I know. I love learning about it. I love growing things. I especially love growing food.

6m 28s

JackieMarie Beyer

Awesome. So many questions to ask, but I do always start the show asking about your very first gardening experience. Like for you, a kid, were you an adult? Who were you with them when you grow? It sounds like you were a kid.

6m 40s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. Well, my parents gardened and my first memories of being in the garden were probably as a toddler sitting in the dirt maybe before I could even walk, sitting in the dirt out there while my parents did gardening chores. And in fact, my mother tells the story, when I was little, when I was just learning to get myself up and cruise along, I would pull myself up along the window sill and she would catch me eating dead flies in the window sill. Which to her disgust and so she remembers having me out in the garden one day and she looked over and I was putting a slug into my mouth.

7m 23s

LeeAnn Sanders

And she said, you never ate any more flies after that. So apparently that's what cured me and maybe helped build my robust immune system. I don't know. But yeah, you know, I've just always loved being in the dirt and still love it today.

7m 45s

JackieMarie Beyer

I can still remember making mud pies. I loved to make mud pies.

7m 48s

LeeAnn Sanders

Me too!

7m 49s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like my mom had this little concrete bench that she still has in her yard and I can still remember like making mud pies and like pretending they were cakes or pancakes or, you know, whatever and stuff like that. Yeah. Just out of curiosity what did you teach?

8m 7s

LeeAnn Sanders

I bet you were those that also ate them just like I did.

8m 13s

JackieMarie Beyer

It could be. I think that I was a little bit older, maybe. I'm not sure, but what, what kind of teacher, like elementary or high school, or what did you teach?

8m 29s

LeeAnn Sanders

Well, a lot of my experience was in special education and that is because we have a son who's now 30, almost 30 with autism. And I homeschooled his two older brothers from kindergarten through 12th grade. And then I also have a teaching degree and did a lot substituting because I was working around taking care of my kids and homeschooling my kids. And then I did some various grades in a private school in California.

9m 9s

LeeAnn Sanders

So my experience has pretty much been like the whole nine yards from preschool through high school in a lot of different settings in special education.

9m 28s

JackieMarie Beyer

I just finished reading an awesome book , it's kind of by a teacher kind of like you who worked with kids with autism, but it's like told from the perspective of a, a child with autism and it's kind of like a mystery it's like, he writes this book about, he wakes up one morning and the neighbor's dog is dead. And so he goes through this whole mystery of like trying to figure out how the neighbor's dog dies and then it takes place in England. He ends up like getting on this train and going on this brief train ride to London. And it was just really, really good. It's called I think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Have you heard of it because it's not that new? I think it's like

10m 7s

LeeAnn Sanders

I have I've I've read it. I can't remember that too many details of it, but I have read it. Yeah. A little bit of a window into the autistic mind. Yeah.

10m 19s

JackieMarie Beyer

Yeah, totally. And then there's a really good show that came out. I think on Amazon prime called the Way We See It. And it's about these three adults. They're like 25 people who were like on the spectrum, maybe Asperger's and autism. And one's a girl and the other two were guys and they live in this apartment with this woman who was like, you know, it's supposed to kind of help guide them. And they, they just wanted to be normal show bad and they're, but they're, but they're kind of, you know, they all have their challenges. Like the one guy he never wants to go out and like his big goal is, like walking down the street and the other girl, like she needs to like maintain a job.

11m 1s

JackieMarie Beyer

And the other guy has like three goals. Anyway. It's really good. If you haven't seen that, I'm pretty sure it's on Amazon prime, but it's really, it is like, to me, I just loved the characters from the very beginning and just thought it really, it really just, it was always a tear-jerker, but it was always, always had really happy. I don't know. It was just it's really well done. The three actors are actually all autistic. They found three actors that all are, and then the guy, like the one girl, her brother is the like main character or one of the, from Crazy Rich Asians.

11m 47s

JackieMarie Beyer

If you've ever seen that movie? He's one of the main characters in the story anyway, totally off. So we had told us, like, I'm kind of curious if you want to talk a little bit about like the big differences you've seen from Cal. Like, was it Northern California or Southern Cal? Like, I mean, there's a huge difference between like San Diego and like Humboldt county, you know, like Northern California?

12m 11s

LeeAnn Sanders

Absolutely. Yeah. We lived in the San Francisco Bay area for, well, we moved up here when I was in my fifties. So that's where most of my experience comes from. And yeah, certainly a difference. Like right now in California, I would be down at the, you know, the local nursery looking at plants and dreaming of putting them in the ground already. And can't do that here obviously.

12m 41s

JackieMarie Beyer

And the thing is like how close we live together? And yesterday we had just torrential rain all day and that you got snow, I'm so jealous because I wish we would have got snow instead of the rain, because it is just made icy messy, nasty.

12m 58s

LeeAnn Sanders

I know, I know you began mud season when that starts. So yeah. Oh, we have tons of snow on the ground still. And I talked to my mom the other night and she, I just started putting seeds in little pots inside the house last night because I start so much in the house. I call it my indoor farm and my mom's like, oh, are you getting ready to plant things? I'm like, mom, we have three feet of snow on the ground outside. No, you don't start gardening outside right now. It's still winter up here.

13m 37s

JackieMarie Beyer

When did we get the big snowstorm on Sunday? Right? So like on Saturday you literally like the most of our yard was like, there was no snow, like we were, it was like, looking like March was going to be a spring to be, you know, like where you were like chomping at the bit to get in the ground. And now we're back to a foot of snow on the ground, at least. Although, like I said, it poured rain all day yesterday here. So we have melting, icy, muddy, nasty ice. It's awful. Anyway, what'd you start in pots, tomatoes?

14m 18s

LeeAnn Sanders

I actually started a whole bunch of stuff. And what I do is I put them, I start things in four-inch pots because I don't like to keep transplanting it. I feel like disturbing their route repeatedly is not a good idea. So right now on my kitchen table, I have a whole bunch of different kinds of tomatoes. Most many of them San Marzano because I like to do a lot of salsa and tomato sauce and things like that. I have red cabbage, kale, broccoli, and some peppers, and I have a lot more to get going.

14m 59s

LeeAnn Sanders

So I'll start them. They're on my kitchen table right now. They'll move on to a rack with grow lights and they'll be in the living room until I can get them outside. And of course my cold tolerant things will go in the ground probably mid May and or maybe early May and then my tomatoes and peppers and then herbs, which I have yet to do will go into my greenhouse. Are you still there, Jackie?

15m 32s

JackieMarie Beyer

And how big is your greenhouse?

15m 36s

LeeAnn Sanders

I'm pretty bad with size, but it's good size and I have just one big bed it's centered inside the green house. I wouldn't exactly call it a raised bed. It's just, we have used logs to enclose the dirt in the middle of it. And I would say that it's about 12 feet by 15 feet and that, so all my tomatoes go in ground out there. And then my peppers and my herbs are we'll be in pots out in inside the greenhouse.

16m 17s

JackieMarie Beyer

So tell us about something that grew well, last year.

16m 24s

LeeAnn Sanders

I have to say last year was challenging. I think because the heat, the extended heat was so unexpected. I mean, it got, as, you know.

16m 35s

JackieMarie Beyer

Crazy right?

16m 36s

LeeAnn Sanders

It got warm so early and then stayed warm, you know, for three months, June, July, August were amazingly hot here. And so I have grown up to three, 300 pounds of tomatoes, which is too much for us. I've cut back a lot because it's like, I get sick of canning tomatoes in the fall when I do that to myself and I ended up giving a lot of way. But last year the tomatoes did not do well because of the heat. And I didn't approach it correctly. I should've covered my greenhouse sooner. I should've given them more water started all of that earlier than I did, but I was kind of basing it on past experience.

17m 22s

LeeAnn Sanders

But last year I did have success. My root crops always do well and root crops for me are carrots and beets. We don't grow potatoes cause we don't need a lot of potatoes. My cruciferous vegetables, the cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower and kale all did well despite the heat, amazingly enough. Of course the zucchini liked it. And I had lots of zucchini. My garlic and onions did well and I put sunflowers in every single year. I start them in ground just because I love sunflowers and they all did well.

18m 6s

LeeAnn Sanders

So, you know, I had an okay year. It's just, it took me a little bit by surprise.

18m 13s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well, sunflowers are really, really good for your garden. Like they bring in beneficial insects, they attract the ants that eat the aphids. They are, you know, great for the pollinators, like the bees. Like I think everybody should grow some flowers, whether you're growing food, whether you're a garden, whether you have a lawn, just if you have a lawn, I think you should grow sunflowers. Cause it'll bring, attract good bugs for your neighbor's gardens or whoever's growing the food here. You like, it's just a good thing for the butterflies.

18m 50s

LeeAnn Sanders

And they just, yeah, absolutely. It's fun to go out there and see they are, yeah. They make me happy and it's just fun to go out there and see the bees right on the flowers and the it's so funny, those bumblebees, how they just kind of nestled down in and spend the night there in those flowers. So we'll have

19m 13s

JackieMarie Beyer

Giant sunflower is like itty bitty, teeny tiny flowers. Like I don't know if people always realize that, but sorry, I didn't want to interrupt.

19m 21s

LeeAnn Sanders

No, no, no, no, no, that's fine. It's, it's, they're amazing. And I love them. So I plant them every year and I just saved the seeds. I'm not particular about, you know, whether they're the color, if I've seen lots of different, you know, shades of sunflowers or if they're the Russian giants or the, the ones that have a zillion heads of flowers, I don't care. I just like the flower. I just like them. So I just keep planting them year after year after year. But that made me think about,

19m 50s

JackieMarie Beyer

It's amazing how many people are sharing pictures of some flowers on Facebook now for the like in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. And did you see that video about that woman that like goes up to the soldier with the sunflower seeds, the Russian soldier, and she's like here, put these in your pocket. So when you die, you, your body, at least some, ssunflower will grow no mad at the Russian soldiers.

20m 13s

LeeAnn Sanders

I heard about it.

20m 14s

JackieMarie Beyer

And it's amazing to see her. She's really, it's like this people on Facebook and social media everywhere sharing sunflower pictures. But anyway, I want to see LeeAnn, sorry. Tell us about the bees.

20m 30s

LeeAnn Sanders

Oh, well that was one thing you kind of sparked my memory. I did not have good success with my tomatoes last year in the greenhouse and one thing we noticed was we had far fewer pollinators going in and out of my greenhouse.

20m 46s

JackieMarie Beyer

We had that problem too.

20m 49s

LeeAnn Sanders

Usually by July, I can leave, I've got a door on each end and I, we leave the doors open and you know, I go in and out and I see flies and bees and whatever, you know, dragonflies sometimes and things that fly in and out. We saw far fewer bees and I think it was, we think it was the heat that was keeping them out of there. I actually didn't see as many bees on my flowers outside either. So I don't know. I think the heat had something to do with it. It affected the activity of those bees and other pollinators, so.

21m 28s

LeeAnn Sanders

So what we ended up doing to help because you know, people talk about, well, I individually pollinate my tomatoes. I go along and tickle the blossoms. It's like, yeah, you don't have as many tomato plants. I do. I don't have time to go through and touch every blossom in my green house. So we put a fan up and we just started, you know, kind of blowing air through there from one end to the other. And, we think that that was helpful, you know, to do that. Of course, then we had to make sure I had enough water going in there. But anyway, that was our cure for not having a very, many bees.

22m 8s

JackieMarie Beyer

What kind of fan did you put up? Did you just buy like a box fan or a standup fan, or like a fancy fan?

22m 19s

LeeAnn Sanders

Nothing fancy. We don't do anything fancy here. And we go, we try to do everything as cheap as we can. I use a lot of, I reuse a lot of stuff and I had this old box fan that I've had for years that normally when it gets really hot, I set it up at one end of my greenhouse just to suck the hot air out. But this year we would turn it on in the morning or in the evening when it was cooler and just blow the air right through that place. So it's just a crummy old box fan, you know, that's what, two feet by two feet or something like that. And I, I stuck some bungee cords in it and kind of hung it up at the top of the door, you know, I don't, we just make do.

23m 8s

JackieMarie Beyer

Alright. I love all of that. That's great. So what's something you're so try next year that you haven't done before?

23m 21s

LeeAnn Sanders

Hm. I don't think I'm gonna plant anything new? I might start a few more flowers on my own. I have to tell you one of the things I've done for quite a few years is we go to the Amish auction over in West Kootenai every June. And have you ever been to that?

23m 49s

JackieMarie Beyer

I feel like we went once.

23m 52s

LeeAnn Sanders

Okay.

23m 52s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like 20 years ago.

23m 53s

LeeAnn Sanders

There's this Amish. Okay. There's this Amish lady that has a little plant stand. Her name is Doris and she's got beautiful plants over there. And so whatever, I haven't been able to get going in my indoor farm or flowers. I buy her flowers in particular and put in a lot of her flowers. Like I really love Rudbeckia, which makes sense because I like sunflowers in there kind of a similar look.

24m 31s

JackieMarie Beyer

Those are black-eyed Susans' right?

24m 32s

LeeAnn Sanders

So I usually get from her and then whatever else. Yeah. Yeah.

24m 34s

JackieMarie Beyer

There was one year after the auction, they came to Stein's, which is like our local grocery store if listeners don't know and set up in the parking lot and they had a ton of flowers left and I think I bought a whole bunch of black-eyed Susan's from her and some other flowers.

24m 53s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. Which tend to be fairly deer resistant. I mean, all my gardens are fenced in, but I can put those out in some pots and the deer pretty much leave them alone until come, you know, like November or so. Like in my potting shed is open and I've kind of grabbed all my pots and shoved them in there and the deer will actually come right underneath my potting shed and eat whatever they can get to. So, you know, they'll eat that kind of stuff and my sage they usually leave that alone. But you know, in November they're starting to get pretty hungry. They'll eat anything. So, yeah.

25m 33s

LeeAnn Sanders

So anyway, I, I love to buy that from her. So flowers, I might try some new flowers, you know, and maybe starts finding new things in pots and see if I can be successful.

25m 52s

JackieMarie Beyer

What kind of herbs are you growing?

25m 52s

LeeAnn Sanders

Well, the typical parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Rosemary is I've found is a little bit harder for me to get going from seed. So I usually will buy a plant, at least a plant every year. And I have to say with rosemary, I have tried year after year after year to keep that stuff going year round. Because when I lived in California, I had a plant that was like five feet tall, a huge bush, that was perennial and stayed green year round. But I cannot do it here. I can not even, even in a, you know, a bigger pot and bringing it inside, I have not had luck keeping them going year round. So I usually buy a rosemary plant every year because I love, I love to cook.

26m 39s

JackieMarie Beyer

If you ever go to the Kalispell farmer's market, I can't remember what, but she has herbs that are just the best! What do you like to cook?

26m 54s

LeeAnn Sanders

Hmm, I do. Yeah. Oh, what do I like to cook? Well, you know, I like to cook from scratch and so I like trying new recipes. I can't say that I have any favorite things I love to cook because I just like to cook in general. I do really like to can, that's kind of one of my favorite hobbies. And so I put up lots of tomatoes and salsa and tomato products every year. And then I'm an instant pot lover. I do lots of bone broth in my instant pot and I put my herbs into that and let's see what else?

27m 41s

LeeAnn Sanders

I make a ton of jams every year, which mostly I give away.

27m 46s

JackieMarie Beyer

What kind of things do you make into jams?

27m 50s

LeeAnn Sanders

I like, oh, well I have strawberries and raspberries that I grow here. And like, I just come across, I have a friend that's a foodie and she sent me and she actually worked in the cookbook publishing business and she sent me some, some really neat canning books that she worked on herself. So like I have this cool recipe that it's a tart basil jelly. And so I used my basil in that. I make pesto and put that in the freezer every year. And in fact, one of my neighbors will come over and say, will you sell me some of your pesto? And I don't, I don't garden and do any of this for profit. I do like to share with my neighbors.

28m 29s

LeeAnn Sanders

And, but you know, if he wants to buy a jar of pesto, I'm like, sure, I'll sell you a pesto. So, yeah, so that, you know, I also like to bake bread and I do sourdough bread. I just do, I do a lot of stuff from scratch. And so we, we use our canned products and are a lot of the vegetables, which I've blanched and frozen for over to hold over the winter. I dehydrate some of my vegetables too. So that's what we do scratch.

29m 10s

JackieMarie Beyer

Do you own animals?

29m 12s

LeeAnn Sanders

I do. I have 14 hens and a rooster, so yeah, they keep me in eggs and some of the neighbors in eggs. So, and we have raised pigs in the past too. Not for the last couple of years, but we enjoy raising pigs too and having our own pork to eat. And then my husband and I are both hunters and so we try to fill the freezer with venison or elk. So I buy very little red meat because of that, like hardly ever, do I buy red meat.

29m 54s

LeeAnn Sanders

So the only meat products that I buy are chicken and fish basically. So,

29m 59s

JackieMarie Beyer

So is something that didn't work well, the tomatoes from the heat, or is there something you wanted to tell us about, something that didn't go the way you thought it was gonna?

30m 15s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah, one summer I had something coming in to my garden and eating the tops of my carrots down, over and over and over. And it was a real mystery to me. We never saw any rabbits. I mean, the gardens fenced, I knew there were no deer getting in there and I usually have really good success with my, my root crops, but this one summer, something kept coming in and eating down the tops of the carrots. You have any ideas?

30m 48s

JackieMarie Beyer

We had that problem last year, we've never had critters before like that. And like something got all of Mike's peas and kept eating our cabbages, and got all the broccoli, like, yeah, we had a problem. I don't know if it was like voles or gophers or what it was? We kind of thought he down and there was like a big brush pile there. And I'm not sure if it wasn't gophers that got in from that brush pile.

31m 17s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. We never solved the mystery. Although one day I did look out the window and I did see a tree squirrel in my strawberry bed, which is a raised bed. I'm like, Hmm, wonder if that was it? Well, we shot the guy because it's like, I'm sorry, I'm not sharing strawberries or anything else with you. So, you know, and I thought maybe he had just developed it, he or she had developed a taste for what, whatever was in there. So what we ended up doing was my husband made these probably 12 foot long hardware cloth cages, you know, that we were closed in on three sides and we just laid those over the tops of the rows of carrots.

32m 6s

LeeAnn Sanders

And then they came back. They didn't, I didn't get as good of a harvest as I would have hoped the carrots didn't develop. You know, they weren't nice big roots, like I had hoped, but we got some, you know, we got some carrots out of that and it seemed to have salvaged what we had planted and kept whatever was eating them down out of there because I couldn't figure out, was it an insect of some kind? I never saw any residue out there never saw any insects on the plants. I mean, they just like ate and they started at the very tip top and just ate way down.

32m 47s

LeeAnn Sanders

So I don't know, anyway, that was the mystery, but we now have these hardware cloth cages that we can put over the tops of them. And so I think I'll just grow my carrots and there about probably about eight inches tall. They stand about eight inches tall when you sit them down over the plant. So I think I'm going to grow my carrots underneath them until they get so tall that they need the space and then I'll pick them up. So that's the plan that, that was our solution to that one. I have had other issues, a few years ago, we had a terrible problem with flea beetles and I use a lot of diatomaceous earth, you know, to combat and neem oil.

33m 39s

LeeAnn Sanders

Those are my two favorite go to's, neem oil and diatomaceous earth to combat insect invasions. But a friend told me last year that if you plant arugula as a detractant, an attractant, I guess you'd call it. They'll go for the arugula. So I did that, and they did, I had flea beetles on my arugula, but they didn't bother my other crops, you know, my broccoli or kale or anything else. So it was worth it to me to plant the arugula, attract them to that and keep him out of the other stuff.

34m 20s

LeeAnn Sanders

And then what happened was the arugula was so robust that after a while, it just kept on going and the flea beetles were gone. Now I may end up with a problem in that area because of them being in the soil, over wintering in my soil, or laying eggs in the soil. I'm not really sure of their life cycle, but anyway, it was a solution that worked for me that summer that we had, and I haven't had any more flea beetle problems. So, and that was actually last summer that I planted the arugula. I'm trying to think what else?

35m 1s

LeeAnn Sanders

Oh, I use a lot of row cover. And in fact, every year I keep my cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower and kale covered with floating row cover. I don't put up any kind of supports. We just draped the stuff over it, and then we stick rocks or sticks or something to hold them down on the sides. And it really keeps those cabbage moths, those white butterflies, from laying too many eggs on my cruciferous crops, my cold crops, that's been very effective. And I recommend that to all my friends up here. I mean, we started out with them early on, you know, when it's cold and then I just keep them on there, you know, throughout the summer.

35m 50s

LeeAnn Sanders

And it seems to really help keep the pest problem under control.

35m 53s

JackieMarie Beyer

And then do you just want her on top of the row cover? Or do you have like under like drip irrigation? You use water on top. Yeah,

36m 6s

LeeAnn Sanders

I do. No, I don't do any drip irrigation because we have a lot of sediment in our water and it just would clog up emitters like crazy. So, well, when I was in California, I almost used that exclusively because I had to be more careful about water usage down there, but here I just, I turn on sprinklers. I overhead water. It's just the simplest way for me to do it. And that's water permeable. So I haven't had any problem with doing overhead watering here.

36m 44s

JackieMarie Beyer

How big is your guys place?

36m 45s

LeeAnn Sanders

Well, we actually sit on almost 30 acres, but I certainly don't garden it. A lot of it is forest we're actually right in the middle of the Kootenai forest. My garden, I have two main gardening areas and the garden is pretty big. I've got 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 large garden beds and two raised beds. And then I've got four rows of raspberries in my main garden. And then right up close to the house, I've got three more raised beds.

37m 28s

LeeAnn Sanders

So, like I said, I'm really bad at numbers and square footage and all of that. It's big. I grew a lot. My mom comes here and she's like, oh, Leeann, you do too much. Plus I have a greenhouse and I'm like, I know I'm a slave to my garden, but I love it.

37m 48s

JackieMarie Beyer

It's beautiful to hang out in the garden. So this is the part of the show we call getting to the root of things. So do you have like a least favorite activity have to force yourself to get out there and do?

38m 4s

LeeAnn Sanders

I don't love weeding and so I use a lot of mulch, so that's basically my solution to weeding. I mean, I do, I do weed and I use a hoe. I mean, I'm 66. It's bending over at my age is getting harder and harder, but I hoe some weeds, but I do really my main solution, what I tell everybody is, you gotta use mulch. I mean, and it is beneficial too, because it's holding the moisture in the ground and protecting the roots of your vegetables. And I mean, it's just like a no brainer as far as I'm concerned is using mulch.

38m 40s

JackieMarie Beyer

Where do you get your mulch? What are you using?

38m 50s

LeeAnn Sanders

Well, a lot of different stuff I'm opportunistic when it comes to that, because I have chickens, I usually have some hay here to use for their bedding. So I have used hay. I've used some wood chips, you know, just on top. I try not to use too much of that because I feel like I might be messing up the nitrogen balance in the soil, but I have used that I've even used when we first moved here and I didn't have hardly anything. I saved newspaper and just spread newspaper out in between my rows of vegetables and weighted them with stones, you know, just to keep those darn weeds down.

39m 41s

LeeAnn Sanders

So cardboard I've used cardboard before. Oh, we have a friend in California that started using old carpet. He actually did a lot of remodeling and so when he would pull carpet out of people's houses, he would use that and then just kind of plant in between. So I actually don't put carpet down between my rows of vegetables, but I will put it around the outside of my beds to keep the weeds from kind of creeping their way in. So we have like 12 inch wide strips of carpet that I've just laid out there just to, just to keep it, you know, keep the outside edges of my beds cleaned up and then I'll use other things in between.

40m 26s

LeeAnn Sanders

This last fall, I went around driving around Libby and they were doing their leaf peak pickup day and people had their leaves bagged up and sitting out on the curb. So I knocked on some doors and said, can I have your bags of leaves? Cause I don't, we're in the, you know, evergreen forest and I don't have a lot of hardwood trees around here to collect leaves from. So people would be like, sure, take all you want. So I have bags of leaves that I've scavenged and I'm hoping they'll work out, you know? And we do have a shredder. I think I'll put them through the shredder and try using those on some of my mulch, as some of my mulch, like I said.

41m 15s

JackieMarie Beyer

Good for you keeping them out of the landfill.

41m 17s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. You know, it's like, I'll take all the leaves I can get. And I would love to have more of a Back to Eden approach where I'm, but we actually still just use our rototiller out there every spring to kind of loosen things up and, you know, get the beds ready for me to plant. So, but I would like to try that maybe one bed at a time, you know, where I'm not having to till and just you, you know, spread mulch on there and I've composted forever. I can't even remember a year when I haven't saved kitchen scraps, you know, and put them into compost bins.

42m 3s

LeeAnn Sanders

That's like a lifelong thing I've been doing. So, so I make my own compost and sometimes I'll buy bagged compost too. So anyhow,

42m 15s

JackieMarie Beyer

On the flipside what's your favorite activity to do in the garden?

42m 23s

LeeAnn Sanders

What's my favorite thing to do? Sit in a chair out there and watch things progress. No, actually let's see. I just love, you know.

42m 30s

JackieMarie Beyer

That's perfect.

42m 30s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. I mean, I just love watching the progress. I love watching things as they come up and it's like, oh good. That I was successful at that, that terminated. And can you hang on just a second, Jackie, Mike? No worries. I I'm trying to re to be on a recording here. So he's got something going on on the phone with somebody else and said I was on speaker phone. So I love just sitting out there and, or standing and walking around and surveying. And it's like, okay, those are doing well. And you know, kind of just watching the progress and, you know, making sure things are coming up and are progressing as I expect.

43m 22s

LeeAnn Sanders

And then dealing with dealing with whatever is a problem, you know, as it happens, harvesting.

43m 29s

JackieMarie Beyer

It's important to enjoy your garden.

43m 31s

LeeAnn Sanders

It is.

43m 31s

JackieMarie Beyer

I think that is the whole key to, you know, people like, my husband, Mike has like this part, I call the mini farm where he, you know, it's more like a production garden. And then closer to our house, we have the area where the garden beds are that I kind of hang out with more. And I just feel like if you're not like really enjoying it, like he doesn't have anywhere to sit in his mini farm and really relax and enjoy it, you know? And I just think they're like two totally different places, on our property. Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you. Do you want to talk about harvesting?

44m 3s

LeeAnn Sanders

Absolutely. Because when you say stuff like that, it reminds me, you know, that I did the same thing. I mean, that's, that's what I love, but actually I have to say my favorite part of it is harvesting because it's like, oh, wow, look at this. You know, we're digging up the carrots or the beets. And it's like, I'm filling the wheelbarrow with all this food. And it's just, we're filling, you know, like almost 300 pound boxes, three boxes with almost 300 pounds of tomatoes. And actually, I don't even keep track anymore of the tomatoes I used to weigh. I'd bring them in and weigh him. And I, you know, keep a running total of how many tomatoes I'd harvest harvested.

44m 47s

LeeAnn Sanders

And I don't do that anymore, but you know, it's just, it's rewarding to see that you're able to do that. So, so harvesting is my favorite thing. And by the way, that reminds me, you asked, you asked earlier something new I want to try. And that sparked my memory. Something I've never grown before and I would like to try this year is celery, but I think I'm going to try to find some celery already started. I'm not going to try it from seed cause it's probably a little bit late for that. So,

45m 23s

JackieMarie Beyer

Okay. It's definitely not too late.

45m 26s

LeeAnn Sanders

Cause my neighbor grew celery last year.

45m 28s

JackieMarie Beyer

I'll give you a tip on where to show us celery seed at the health store. Like, you know, at the health food store, you can buy celery seed for like seasoning your food for like making potato salad or whatever. Yeah. For cooking. It's like the cheapest celery seed you will ever buy. And it grows. I do not think it's too early for your celery. I mean, to start your celery seeds.

45m 57s

LeeAnn Sanders

Okay, well maybe if I get some this week, I can do that because that's what I'm doing right now.

46m 4s

JackieMarie Beyer

They have all the cool herbs and spices there.

46m 6s

LeeAnn Sanders

That's a great tip.

46m 6s

JackieMarie Beyer

Cool. Yeah. Cool. I'm glad we said that. I like to grow. I was kind of successful growing celery last year. It was the first time I had taken on this garden project for like a client. And I bought her a bunch of celery down at the farmer's market, some starts. And they did do really well better than I've ever had, but I've always like, I just usually grow Swiss chard. I liked the ruby red Swiss chard and I just used that for celery for me, but I know other people, some people think it stuff, but I kinda, I kinda just, I don't know. It usually grows really well. That being said, my chard and kale last year did horrible.

46m 47s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like partly because I tried to grow instead of my husband growing it. And I should've just let him do it in the mini farm like he usually does. But yeah, he usually gets really nice, just huge stalks of, it's Swiss chard for me. I really liked the red and the orange and the golden. I'm not a big fan of the white Swiss chard, but which is interesting cause my mom's the total opposite, she only likes the white and doesn't like the red and the orange and those, but anyway, what's the best advice you've ever received LeeAnn?

47m 34s

LeeAnn Sanders

Hm. I don't know if I've ever heard this, but this is what I tell people myself is when you first start gardening, limit yourself, you know, start small and then add to it is what I give people advice you don't, you don't want to otherwise it could be very discouraging if you are a newbie to the whole process. So, that would be, and I don't know that anybody ever told me that, but then again, I started very young and have been gardening for a lot of years. So I would say start small, you know, and have success at small, small gardens and be successful and then, you know, keep adding to it and try new things.

48m 18s

LeeAnn Sanders

I think, keep trying new things, like I'm going to try the celery this year and I'm going to take your advice. I'm going to go buy some seed at the health food store and do it that way since you're encouraging me to do that. So that's what it would be. It's don't go too big to begin with.

48m 42s

JackieMarie Beyer

What's your favorite tool if you had to move and could only take one tool with you, what could you not? Was there anything from California when you moved up here?

48m 56s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah well I brought like all my tools with me. My husband's in the background. He says my husband! And actually he's really great for getting my garden beds opened up for me in the spring. He gets out there and he tills for me, but I have to say, I have this hoe that has a pointed tip on it. It's not a traditional squared off hoe, but it's pointed. I don't know what they call that. And I use that for a lot of stuff. I use that for most of my planting, when I'm transplanting things outside, I can make nice furrows. They can be, you know, a half an inch deep, or they can be five inches deep using that thing. And it, and I don't, and it saves me having to bend over a whole lot.

49m 36s

LeeAnn Sanders

So I used that and I would say, I don't know if you'd call it a tool, but my other favorite thing to use that I mentioned before is floating row cover because it helps encourage my little baby plants in the spring when it's still kind of cold. And it protects them all summer long from a lot of pests. So floating row cover and my pointed hoe, and those are probably my go-to things.

50m 8s

JackieMarie Beyer

Those are great ones. Definitely floating row cover. I was amazed at how durable and sturdy it is. Like when we first bought it, I was like, oh my gosh, I can't possibly afford this. But I mean, I think I've had it for a, well, let's see, my podcast is so six years, five, six years now, and it's still in really good shape. Like I was, I was surprised that the durability of it and I finally last year, bought like a really inexpensive garbage can and I, so I keep it in there now. And so that makes a huge difference having a place to put it when we're not using it. So

50m 47s

LeeAnn Sanders

That's a great tip. Thank you. Thank you. Great tip. I usually stuff mine into feed sacks, you know, and then just yank it out when I need it. And yes, we use it year after year after year, until at some point it does start to kind of, you know, get snagged and get holes in it. But yeah, putting it in the garbage can.

51m 9s

JackieMarie Beyer

The garbage can like picking the stuff up everytime. Yeah. Well, I like we had a grizzly bear come through and get our chicken coop. And so we had two baby chickens that we were like bringing in the house and keeping in the bathroom at night, in like these little cat carriers. And so every day I would like change out, I would put like a fresh piece of newspaper and some fresh straw in there for them every night and change up their bedding. And so I started keeping, I bought like a whole bunch of garbage cans to like keep the straw in and the newspaper to keep it fresh for them. And then I just, I had an extra one that I was like, I'm going to put the row cover in here.

51m 49s

JackieMarie Beyer

And so I don't know, it just worked out really good. Anyway, did we talk about a favorite recipe? We kind of talked about some.

51m 57s

LeeAnn Sanders

You did ask me. Well, I just like to make so many different things, but I will say every year I do can salsa. I have a favorite recipe for that. I do make pickled beets every year. I have some favorite jams that I like to make from our berries. And, like I said, even my herbs,

52m 25s

JackieMarie Beyer

I know that jam sounded good, what was it?

52m 26s

LeeAnn Sanders

The tart basil jelly it's called tart basil jelly. And so it's kinda like, I'm kinda like a mint jelly, you know, like you would use as a condiment with meats, but it's basil, and it's just, it's different and it's good. And my, I give it to my mom and she even puts it on toast. So it's unique. And I like making things that are kind of different and complex. So, and then pesto, I grow tons of basil. I make a lot of pesto and put it in the freezer and, and we use it. We give it away. I sell it. But like I said, I don't do any of this, you know, as to make money, I just do it because I love it.

53m 10s

LeeAnn Sanders

And, if I make a few bucks here and there, right, that's fine. Those would be my favorite things.

53m 17s

JackieMarie Beyer

How about a favorite internet resource? Where do you find yourself surfing on the web?

53m 24s

LeeAnn Sanders

So I don't spend a whole at a time doing that, but I have found a few. Like somehow or other I found you one of my favorites, if you, and you should look her, I'll send you a link. It's called Susan's in the Garden. I don't remember how I found her, but she sends out a weekly newsletter. She writes for the Spokane Review. I think it is. She writes, she's a master gardener over in Spokane. And so she writes for their look, a column for their local newspaper. She has a YouTube channel and she sent, and then you can sign up for her emails and you get her newsletter and all the stuff that she's doing.

54m 14s

LeeAnn Sanders

And she's a fabulous gardener over in Spokane. And I think she's in zone 5A is what she says. And so it's close enough to what I do here, that I can get tons of tips from her. And she's a proponent of organic gardening, I think that's the only thing she does is organic. So, you know, I get lots of ideas from her. Like we started using her method for tying up our tomatoes in the greenhouse to, I think she uses, I don't remember if it's cattle panels or something like that she uses that in entice her tomatoes up to those, to stick them up and support them in any way.

55m 3s

LeeAnn Sanders

Like, I get lots of ideas and I love the information that I can get from her. So Susan's in the Garden. And well, I also like to watch

55m 15s

JackieMarie Beyer

Tell you and tell listeners, I actually have her book right here because I am interviewing her on Friday. So listeners be ready to hear from Susan Mulvihill. So she'll be coming up soon. She wrote a book called The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook: Identify and Solve Common Pest Problems on Edible Plants - All Natural Solutions! So awesome. Sorry! I didn't mean to interrupt you.

55m 38s

LeeAnn Sanders

Oh, well that's okay. Actually, I just want to say I have her book too. And last year I did find some pest. It was a green caterpillar looking type worm on something in my garden. I don't remember where actually it was in my greenhouse and I'm like, what is this? And I wasn't sure. And I looked in the book and I couldn't identify it. So I took a picture of it and I emailed it to her and she got right back to me and answered my question. So she's a great lady. So also on YouTube, I like, I have a favorite YouTube channel and it's called living traditions and they're homesteaders.

56m 18s

LeeAnn Sanders

So they do a lot of similar things to what I do with, you know, we've raised pigs, I have chickens, I have a big garden, so that, and I love to cook and they do a lot of cooking on their show. So Living Traditions, I also have gotten the emails and blogs stuff from Melissa Norris on Pioneering Today. And she also has a YouTube channel, but mostly I just, I get peoples I prefer to read.

56m 52s

JackieMarie Beyer

She also has an awesome podcast.

56m 55s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yeah. Yeah. So I don't listen as much as I read. I love to I prefer to just, you know, in my spare time, sit down and read what they have to say, but nevertheless that's, so I listened to listen or read what she has and that's about it. Those are my three, three favorite. Susan's in the garden, living traditions and pioneering today. Occasionally I'll see something else that's worked. Those are my interests.

57m 28s

JackieMarie Beyer

You might be interested in is a woman named Nicole Burke and her, I can't remember her business is called Gardenary. She kind of coaches people on how to start like garden design businesses. But she also, like she wrote a book called the Kitchen Garden Revival that's I just love, Nicole Burke.

57m 50s

LeeAnn Sanders

I'll look that up. Thank you. Okay.

57m 52s

JackieMarie Beyer

How about a favorite book or reading material that you want to recommend? I guess we kind of covered that, but anybody else out there that?

58m 2s

LeeAnn Sanders

Well, I do have Susan's book and it's really good. I mean, as you, you have it too. I like that. It's really well written. It's simple.

58m 11s

JackieMarie Beyer

It is well written.

58m 12s

LeeAnn Sanders

I love the pictures in there. Yeah. I, other than that, I don't have any favorites. I'll check things out from the library, you know, to look up specific if I'm having a specific problem. And I honestly, I can't tell you, you know, from memory, you know, what I've checked out and looked up and nowadays, you know, obviously you can go online.

58m 46s

LeeAnn Sanders

I remember in years and years ago, you know, enjoying publications by Rodale and I'll go, I like, there's just magazines, Organic Gardening, you know, things from the library, magazines. I can't tell you specifically. I don't get, I don't have any subscriptions or anything.

59m 3s

JackieMarie Beyer

That's alright that's a great resource.

59m 5s

LeeAnn Sanders

I just, I've got several books, you know? I mean, it's just, yeah. You know, just picking things up over the years.

59m 10s

JackieMarie Beyer

Here's my final question, LeeAnn, 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 you're 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?

59m 40s

LeeAnn Sanders

Okay. I think as far as food production, there should be more biodiversity and less monoculture. I mean, I think that what I love from growing up with my parents being gardeners and trying new things and different varieties of things every year, and especially my dad. My dad was a wonderful gardener and he's like, oh, LeeAnn, I'm going to send you seeds and try this and try that, that that's just so important, you know, to, to not have simply what they have to offer on the produce shelf at the grocery store, which this is the same thing all the time.

1h 0m 30s

LeeAnn Sanders

And I would say, I'm totally against genetically modified food. So no GMOs in our food sources and the animal feed that I get from my chicken is non-GMO. And so, you know, just food production in general, I would love to see more diverse and not genetically modified. So that would be my hope. And that's the way I try to feed my family. And that's the, you know, I mean, I just think it's the healthiest way to live

1h 1m 4s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well, LeeAnn, I can't thank you enough for being such an eloquent guest and knowledgeable and sharing all your information and inspiring everybody today. And I hope we get to meet in Eureka in person one of these days and share some seeds and some books and some other stuff and maybe some flowers or something from our gardens and just to have a wonderful day, thank you for everything you're doing.

1h 1m 30s

LeeAnn Sanders

Thank you. I'm glad to be able to be a part of this. And I would hope that you have great success this summer as well. And we should meet up! Come over to Yaak sometime.

1h 1m 41s

JackieMarie Beyer

What was I going to say? Well, I'm glad you persisted because I feel awful like so listeners, LeeAnn sent me an email February 2nd, I guess that I totally missed, after I'm always asking you guys write me, write me and I somehow just completely missed it. Didn't even see it. And then she wrote me back because I guess the email link on my, like, if you, if you sign up to the organic gardener podcast subscription, like the updates you get, like the first nine emails automatically go out and I guess it still has my old calendar schedule link, which I will try to remember to fix. I still haven't fixed it. So I'm glad that you reached out there and said, Hey, I couldn't schedule.

1h 2m 24s

JackieMarie Beyer

So I'm sorry about that. And I apologize, and thank you so much for sharing with us today because you just dropped tons of golden seeds and I know listeners are going to be and learned a ton and, and yeah, we'll, we'll meet up for sure. I might make it up to the Yaak this year. I actually was up there was it this fall or last summer looking at my kids were looking at a house to rent up there. So, but it sounds like you're the way he's up in the Yaak. They were just kind of like right past the garbage, the green boxes, you know, where all those people are living in that little community down there.

1h 3m 17s

LeeAnn Sanders

Yes, we are up past the Dirty Shame and past the merch. So I'm pretty far up.

1h 3m 20s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well cool, I'll bet you get to see lots of animals up there. Do you have bears breaking into your chicken pen? Like we have.

1h 3m 27s

LeeAnn Sanders

No, well, we did one year before we electrified, like you had a grizzly bear and come in. Yeah. We had a grizzly bear come in and turn over a very heavy coop and, and ate a couple of my chickens. And so we we've rethought that whole thing and we electrified after that. So no problems since then.

1h 3m 49s

JackieMarie Beyer

Yeah. That's what we need to do. He ripped the whole back door off of our pen. They came, they like, we've lived here. It'll be 30 years. Mike and I were married in '93, so 30 something years and never had a problem until two years ago. And then they've come and at first they just kind of like made some damage and then they came back and then the last time they were here. And so we haven't had chickens since, like I said, we had those two last spring that we were like carrying back and forth and bringing in the house every night and then my dog actually ended up getting both of them. So sad. But yeah. And so we, we're not going to have chickens until Mike figures out, how to our problem is, is we have 260 feet of fence that go like from one corner of the house, to the other corner of the house.

1h 4m 40s

JackieMarie Beyer

And Mike feels like we need to electrify that whole thing. Whereas I feel like we could just electrify down where the chicken pen is a much smaller section, but he does have a good point. Is that even though we didn't have the chickens last year, they still came in and got the orchard and we have like 14 apple trees, cherry trees. And so he's like, they're still going to come in. So I don't know what we're going to do. And yeah, we've never had a problem in all these years. And then all of a sudden, they just, I don't know if the bears around here just have a taste for chickens or there's just so many people have moved in or what the deal is.

1h 5m 22s

JackieMarie Beyer

But yeah, I miss them so much, especially like after all those years, I never had anything to do with the chickens until the last two years, we, that one chicken, I called him little eagle and he would like, literally sit on my shoulder and like, watch me when I was on my computer or painting. And like down when I was reading, like in the house or down in the garden, like, he was just like my, I don't know if it was a he or she, but anyway, I became so in love with the chickens and like, and going down there and changing their cages out. Like I just, there was just like something about usually like, that's not my thing. And I always, like, I stayed away from the chickens, cause I always felt like, oh my gosh, I can't believe we're keeping these chickens in this cage and I always wanted to let them out. Mike was like, no, they have a huge arch chickens do have a huge cage.

1h 6m 4s

JackieMarie Beyer

Like the amount of space that our chickens have. They're like the most pampered chickens. They have like tons of shade. They have trees, they have bushes, they get what, like, they have a really nice life. They don't need to get out and that actually let in the predators anyway. Yeah. I fell in love with the chickens.

1h 6m 25s

LeeAnn Sanders

I like them too. They're fun. Aren't they? I just go out and kind of listen to them.

1h 6m 29s

JackieMarie Beyer

And I never thought they would be soft and they were going to peck me and bite me and just like, they are not, they're like, so sweet and I totally like can't wait until we get chickens again. Like, it just seems so that I finally thought. And like, they would like literally be in their little cat carriers.

1h 6m 45s

JackieMarie Beyer

I would go down there every night. And, then what happened was one night I was working on my computer cause since pandemic started, I've been working from home for two years, which is probably helped part of how I missed your email. Well, I don't know because when I'm working, I busy too anyway, and I was late and I went down there after dark and we think that the one chicken, like he flew out and was looking for me and that was how the dog got her. And then again was also another case of like, I let her walk down to the chicken cage one day and she was like, oh man, there's some nice grass out here and so she also flew over the pen and my dog got her. So that's how we ended up losing her too.

1h 7m 29s

JackieMarie Beyer

But it was just a whole like taking care of them and giving them the fresh hay and feed it. Like it just, I don't know, it became something that I just really loved to do. And anyway, LeeAnn your probably like we've been on the phone for over an hour, so I will let you go.

1h 7m 47s

LeeAnn Sanders

I'm fine.

1h 7m 47s

JackieMarie Beyer

And thank you so much for sharing with us. And I don't want to leave on like a sad note. So just, you've been a wonderful guest and good luck with everything and till we meet, I'll talk to you and I'll send you a link when this is open when this is my, it'll probably be two the end of March, the beginning of April.

1h 8m 2s

LeeAnn Sanders

Okay. Sounds good. Thank you, Jackie. It's been fun.

1h 8m 5s

JackieMarie Beyer

Well, thank you. Have a great day. Bye.

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