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157. Instant Organic Garden | Don Rosenberg | North Carolina
21st October 2016 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:58:59

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I’m so excited today because I haven’t done  an interview in a while so I’m so happy to be here and this guest sent me two books that I know you are going to love!!!

The Organic Gardener's Cookbook

The Organic Gardener’s Cookbook: Easy Growing Tips and Delicious Recipes for Your Home-Grown Vegetables

No Green Thumb Required Don Rosenberg

No Green Thumb Required: Organic Family Gardening Made Easy

And we all know I love convenience and easiness because we are all so busy out there! So welcome to Don Rosenberg from Instant Organic

Instant Organic Garden Shop

Instant Organic Garden

Don Rosenberg Instant Organic Garden with Onions

Thanks! I’m honored!

I was so honored when you sent your books. I think it’s a fit for my listeners who I call Green Future Growers because we’re all looking to grow a greener future so whether they grow a small box garden like me or a giant mini farm like my husband I know you’re gonna help us make it easier.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Charlotte, NC

What I do obviously applies pretty much everywhere… part of it, I have been gardening organically for the last 35 years… I had a little house, in the back of it was a traditional garden… maybe 20×30 feet. 

In the Carolinas you have:

Carolina red clay

So I dutifully set about growing a garden, watched all the

  • victory garden
  • and gardening shows on PBS
  • bought the books etc.

I borrowed the neighbors tiller and started grinding up the soil…That’s basically all everybody knew…You get your 10-10-10 pour it in the ground, maybe if your really smart you add some compost and I was totally unhappy with the results!

I would start to plant, I’d put in some lettuce seeds. The soil would look good after I tilled it  and I’d plant the seeds and 4-5 days later things would sprout… The problem was I didn’t know what was mine and what was there’s what I’ve learned since then is, and it’s an ongoing process I’ve learned that weed seeds are dormant in your soil for 20-50 years. 

When you expose them to sunlight they sprout and weeds are always gonna grow faster then the domestic vegetable seeds you plant!

So your life as a gardener 2/3 of work in the garden is weeding and pulling the weeds you woke up when you tilled it!

That’s interesting because there’s the big no till movement I learned about when I podcasted maybe that’s where it’s came from?

Part of what you are going to learn about me, is not really flattering… for one I’m a guy and I don’t want to be lazy…

If I can have a more productive garden with less work in the same space… I’m a happy camper! What I’m trying to do is make e life easier for myself alright!  If I get a better result, and healthier plants!

Well, well see if we really believe that your lazy…  I’ll bet your really not as we talk! But even if you do want to grow efficiently and effectively is important. Even on the flip side if you do want to grow a huge garden,  the more tips you learn will help!  It will help you grow more why not try to be the most productive person you can be?

TOTALLY… the other thing is my business is to build vegetable gardens for you in your  backyard!

My clients are basically city folk gardeners, they’re moms with 2-3 kids, and they want to grow a garden. They have a big house and a tiny yard and they don’t have room for a traditional 20×20 garden that is just beyond their capabilities. So

What I have been able to do we will certainly go into this in more detail. Is show them how to grow a 400 vegetable from my square foot garden in about 50 square feet of ground area. 

I don’t know why I love to hear about business ideas  right now in my life, IDK, people might be excited to be potential clients if they are in your area, or maybe to look for someone in their area doing it or maybe start their own business in a different area! 

I do have Local Affiliates I teach them everything they need to know about my new approach to gardening!

Instant Organic Gardener Map

I really do think it’s a new approach to gardening!

  • all the techniques on marketing
  • set them up on my website
  • business in a box

Then they have to get out there and pound the pavement and meet people

  • go to craft shows
  • spring fairs
  • schools and give talks
  • drum up some business.

That’s definitely something that we do!

If you’re not good at math this is the only part of math that will confuse people. 

You can grow 400 sq.  feet worth of garden in about 50 sq. feet on the ground.

A 400 square foot garden to think 20 x 20 garden that’s a lot of work!


  • dig
  • till
  • water
  • weed

My solution … when you think about a 400 sq. 20×20 feet garden and about 100′ is paths, to get to you from one part to the other so you can’t grow so what we’re really talking about is an effective 300 other foot garden.

instant Organic GArden Logo

Instant Organic Garden

My secret is building raised beds

Instant Organic Garden raised bed

if you don’t have an Instant Organic Garden Affiliate  in your area and you want to do this, you can go to the website Instant Organic and buy the books and they show you how to do all this

These are the 3 secrets of what I do

  • raised beds
  • weedless soil – I’ll give you the soil recipe
  • limited space which means: using tips and techniques of planting times to get most productivity out of a small space.

So back to our math. Each of these beds is 3 x 8 feet 24 sq.’ so well consider 25 sq feet on the ground.

One trick is to add a trellis for climbing plants and we have special trellis netting.

Climbing plants for the spring is gonna be 

  • peas
  • peas.
  • and
  • peas

Instant Organic Garden Shop

And for the summer it’s gonna be

  • green beans
  • lima beans
  • cucumbers
  • sweet potatoes that don’t grow up on their own but you have to train them if you weave them through the netting.

The trellis is 7ft x 8ft wide so you’re adding 56 square feet of growing, for math purposes we’ll lower down to 50 feet.

If you think about a trellis, if your a green bean you don’t care if your growing up a trellis or growing on the ground…. You can grow bush beans that are 2-3 feet tall. that pop out all at the same time 2 weeks and you’ll have your harvest and be done. Pole beans then 5-6-20 feet tall and grown they produce over a long period of time.

All the plant cares about is how many square feet of leaf surface is getting the sunlight. So if you grow your pole beans up a trellis your getting 50 square feet of growing surface fro your pole beans, lima beans or your sweet potatoes… so that 25 foot bed, when you add a trellis is more times 75 square feet.

Are you staying with this?

I’m totally there, I’ve been teaching 2nd grade so maths pretty fresh and we’ve been teaching algebra, I’m like you poor kids! Ah! 

Oh good this is x sqaured x3

So one bed is 75 feet

Now let’s go back to 25 feet

Instant Organic Garden trellis bed

Still use vertical growing! 

I grow all of my tomatoes up stakes, and you can do that with  peppers and eggplants!

If your good jackie, I I will teach your listeners to grow an 18 foot tomato that is 7 foot tall. 

OK! A tomato plant right?

Yes! but it’s 7 feet tall!

So we now have a 75 foot trellis garden, and a 25 foot regular garden. So that dds up to 100 square feet which is pretty small math. 

When you are growing in a raised bed and the rails are 11 inches tall and soil is 10 inches deep with organic soil…fertilized with organic fertilizers its never stepped in, never compacted. In those conditions. the plant roots grow straight down.

Did you say 11 inches tall?

The rails are 11 inches tall…

So what are the rails? I’m thinking 1 x 12? 2 – 2 x 6s?

How to build the beds in the book. The easiest thing is to do a 2 x 12. (it’s heavy)  You cut it and cut it, make it 9 feet, it’s 12 feet long, cut it to a 3 foot by 9 foot so that becomes a 3×9 bed…

Back to our math… I have something to prove.

in that hundred square  the rails are 

  • 11 inches tall

  • soil is 10 inches deep

In those conditions the plant roots easiest straight down which means you can actually plant 3 times closer together! So that 100 square feet becomes 300 square feet of productivity.

Instant Organic Garden trellis bed

Let’s build a visual picture in our minds of what one of these trellis beds

On the back you’ve a trellis garden…

In a summer garden

  • 2 grow of green beans
  • 1 variety of lima
  • and 2 varieties of cucumbers

Maybe each varieties variety occupies 1 1/2- 2 feet of space on the ground but they’re only using about an inch and half of soil surface becasue it’s planted on the back edge of the garden and those roots will fill in the garden…

So that’s the back wall where the trellis is…

in front of the trellis you might have up to 4 tomato plants growing on stakes right next to it. In front of the tomatoes – those plants you can put maybe 5 of

  • green peppers
  • eggplants

those are a little shorter, growing right in front of the tomatoes and still off to the right you have 

  • room for one really big zucchini or squash plant

that is just the single trellis bed. In the other beds you can grow

  • summer lettuce
  • summer crops

or any other summer crops, whatever you want. It’s amazing how productive one trellis bed can be…

I can totally visualize it, we have a lot of beds like that. For years we’ve been gardening in deep beds… his range from the size your talking about or hip high..

When I talk to people, people say I don’t want to bend down, I want beds that are waist high.

My listeners know I talk about that a lot… We have many that are low.

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