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239. Angel Garbarbino | Organic Gardener Podcast listener and backyard gardener | Boise, ID
29th July 2018 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:53:34

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June 14, 2018

I’m so excited to introduce this guest from the Organic Gardener Podcast Facebook Group a listener and a fan!

Tell us a little about yourself.

To start off I am the beginner gardener like all other gardens. This is really my first year gardening. About 3-4 years ago we bought a home in Idaho, we were living in CA

The house sat on a farm plot, it was 2 1/2 acres just weeds, when we first moved in we rented it out and then we just moved in officially about 2 years ago.

just one tree


this last year took a gardening class trying to grow my own food.

Are you a rockstar millennial? I figure 1980-1995.

I just learned I am on the cusp, born in 1983.

So you did some landscaping and took a gardening class, and I love that you came on today, because the lessons you have learned are going to be relevant and fresher in your head. And also landscaping is a question people have been asking me about a lot this summer, how to have an organic lawn.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

I watched my boyfriend, we lived in California, I didn’t know, it was easy to grow things.

we had a small apartment, and he had a whole bunch of pots and he grew tomatoes, that grew so tall and I was just like gardening was so easy so when we got to Idaho, I thought I’m going to grow a garden!

This is my first intro to growing food

Growing up dad always had me out there weeding

always learn

growing taking care of the garden. This is pretty much my first experience.

How did you learn how to garden organically?

My boyfriend is always in the organic

I’m kind of book nerdish

as soon as I decided

ten books I just went through

different audible books

Lab Girl

Lab Girl

not specifically gardening

female scientist talks about plants in general and how they communicate

listening to books about gardening and trees

bought a lot of books

learning the details from a class I took on  how to garden Judy Allen

not specific on organic gardening but on the principals you learned

kickstarted my garden this spring

Tell us about something that grew well this year.

I’ve got a 10 x 3 plot. I’ve got a lot of lettuce, carrots, beets

The lettuce is up and it’s doing really well

I never thought I would grow that much and have enough for salads every night.

  • variety of arugula
  • red fire lettuce

I kind of cheated I got Cosmic Apple starters

a little bit of cheating

I tried to grow seeds inside this spirng and they didn’t go very well

  • I ended up getting lettuce starters
  • beets
  • carrots
  • onions
  • horseradish
  • cilantro
  • peas – sugar snap
  • garlic

As a teacher, there’s no cheating! You’re not taking a test right? There’s no reason to worry about cheating! In Idaho, we had a really late winter, Mike’s had a really hard time germinating lettuce this winter, he’s finally getting everything in. (FYI we’re talking on June 14, 2018) To me you’re doing amazing because are you not a higher elevation then we are?

We’re Teton valley microclimates base of the east side of the Tetons

5-6000 feet. It get’s cold but I’m told it gets less cold here, then some places that are closer to the river in the valley

last week we had we had 2 frosts, we had to cover things and teh whole bit.

Last week we were worried we would have a frost and we’ve been getting firewood all week, and I always say there’s like a couple of weeks in July where we don’t have to worry but we can get a frost anytime!

Tell me about something that didn’t work so well this season?

I got really jazzed up! I took this garden class in February, March

There’s a topic we talked about growing seeds 

in Idaho you have to do that inside with lights to some extent

  • I read the packages 
  • did all the research

I’m kind of nerdy like that, and I converted a room that wasn’t supposed to be for gardening. All morning and night, turning lights on 

no idea why why I had no success in seeds? I have been thinking about doing another batch if it’s not too late?

It’s not too late! If you want to put a fall garden in you want to start seeds in July. One thing that Mike does that helps peppers that like a hotter climate, is he makes like these little mini terrarium/greenhouse things. Starting from seeds is not easy!

I feel like there’s a combination mystery, I don’t understand why this one is doing well and that one’s not doing well. I think you need a lot of time to see what works and experiment. We live in a core foam house I think we just don’t get airflow.

What’s a core foam house?

Think if you had a house built of big foam blocks, covered with plywood

6 inches thick these huge panels of  foam

thick foam

it’s great for insulation but it’s really poor for circulation

no way for house to breathe

if you’re cooking

notice with seeds they just struggled from mildew

I had a rosemary I brought in this winter that had 

  • mildew on it
  • experiment soil

Want to hear the tip my friend Nola gave me for growing a rosemary plant. She’s an amazing master gardener. I had a really nice plant at school last year but it died.


Difficult seeds. I grew difficult things too. 

  • rosemary
  • thyme

I was trying to grow all these herbs from seeds, but I guess they are harder to grow

maybe better to sew outside

seed thing

  • it’s expensive
  • I got the heating pads and lights.

If you drove by my house at night you would be like what is going on there?

Still trying to figure it out!

That’s good to know, I have struggled for years to get herbs started like lavender. On the flip side, basil and oregano, they grow like crazy for me. 

Another great resource for growing herbs is one of my favorite blogs The Empress of Dirt. She has a pdf to help you on how to grow herbs indoors here.


Let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors and affiliate links


Seed Voyage

Good Seed Company Seeds

The Good Seed Company

Now Let’s Get to the Root of Things!

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

I would say my least favorite is also my favorite weeding which is weeding! 

I work at home and so during my lunch break or if I am having a  frustrating day

I can just zone out with an audible book or podcast, put it on for 60 minutes

relaxing experience working in the garden.

how many weeds we have

2 1/2 acres of weeds

If I could sell dandelions

what kind of grasses I have a lot of weeds! 

It’s been a struggle to keep true to 

  • soil conservation
  • organic practices

So you’re actually pulling the dandelions

last year

for getting landscaping

cardboard mulching, I laid down a bunch of cardboard. Like the crazy woman going to the recycling center, you know it’s bad when you pull in and their likethe cardboard lady is here!

I would spend time ripping off the tape

  • top soil
  • compost
  • mixed it together 4 inches on top of that

I got kentucky blue grass

water as much

don’t want to be a slave to water!

now I have that grass

weeds that have blown in


so easy to pull out

trying to keep on top of that and actually have some grass around the house.

So do you wish you would have put some clover into it to have some mixed in?

I think I would have gone goat fescue which I had never heard of but I heard from local gardeners.

clumping fescues

I didn’t think they did well in cold climates. I read things that contradicted themselves all the time. But I’ve heard from people around here that have it, it’s awesome!

grows very tall

clumping not your average

not your average turf grass.

It doesn’t need watering and mowing

  • stays green!
  • Slow growing
  • starts late!

started their plot

With Kentucky Blue Grass, I’ve been battling weeds because it grows so slowly

  • a lot of watering
  • dry
  • windy
  • not super hot


What’s fescue?

if I was gonna try to explain it, I wouldn’t give it justice. I even called seed centers and ask them all sorts of questions, and I learned people who don’t practice organic gardening are gonna have different perspectives because they’re ok with using herbicides to keep their turf looking the way they want it. I’ve learned a lot

the best thing I can say, is find the organic gardeners in your area and ask them what they’re doing? In hindsight that’s what I should have done. 

You should start a podcast, or video, I think you would do well, you have that curiosity. And your willingness to share and your mistakes! This is awesome!

So weeding is your favorite activity to do in the garden?

yeah because it’s relaxing to me, 

I listen to podcasts, or audible. It’s really easy to pull the weeds because of the mulch. 

I can’t remember the name, It’s like a sickle, it has a blade and it cuts down the tops of the weeds

go out there it’s a good work out for 30 minutes

for thirty minutes


I’ve learned when it blooms, to mitigate it’s spread tops of before it goes to seed! 

I always think it’s best to get the dandelions before they go to seed. Of course there are always ones that bloomed and they pick them and then they blow those…?

What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?

I have a tendency to go all in

  • patience is a big one
  • I read all this stuff and I want to go for it and do it all at once
  • having patience
  • taking it easy

focus on one area – I’m trying to conquer landscaping and vegetables at the same time can be overwhelming at times

So I don’t appreciate it, just feel like there’s a lot of work that needs to be done

what do you want to do really well



Judy Allen gave me that advice after meeting me at a dinner party. She said, just so you know you’re trying to do everything and I was like it’s not that much and then after spring came!