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227. The Vegetable Gardening Show | Vegetable Gardening For the Average Person & Seeds of the Month Club | Mike Podlesny | Burlington, NJ
10th June 2018 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 01:10:56

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About the Host

Mike the Gardener Enterprises was founded by Michael Podlesny, a 3rd generational home vegetable gardener and published author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person, who has been vegetable gardening himself for nearly 40 years. Mike`s vegetable gardening tips and tricks have been featured in newspapers, magazines and blogs around the world. He has also appeared on ABC and NBC talking about vegetable gardening and Mike the Gardener`s Seeds of the Month Club

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Vegetable Gardening Podcast

Be sure to tune in weekly to Mike`s Vegetable Gardening Podcast, where he interviews the experts in the gardening industry to bring you the best tips, tricks and techniques, so you will have your most bountiful harvest yet.

Mike Podlesny is the host of the award winning gardening program, The Vegetable Gardening Show where he interviews gardening industry experts to bring you the best gardening tips possible. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on  Twitter,  InstagramPinterest and Facebook.

Michael C. Podlesny The Vegetable Gardener Show

Vegetable Gardening For The Average Person: A Guide To Vegetable Gardening For The Rest Of Us




Tell us a little about yourself and your amazing channels and things! You have a lot of things going on!

Too much at times

Obviously gardening is my big passion I have been doing it now for 40 years

led to the website

I started the show as a podcast where it was audio only and like you you get to bring guests on and then it grew from there

about almost 2 years ago we started the youtube channel for the vegetable gardening show doing some basic tutorials, and with advancement of tech we were talking about affair made it easier to do the interview and it’s comes out as a video as well

I love it! 

We do 3 shows a week.

love talking to other people about gardening it’s a big passion of mine! 

It is amazing! That you’ve been able to do all that. For me just keeping my podcast going and doing the interviews is tough! So congratulations on putting out all that content! 3 shows a week! Wow!

I got this Podcast Workbook and it says to go to Google Trends and it says that the majority of people are googling or searching for garden beds, or raised beds, or raised garden beds! In the top 10 out of 15 searches?! That surprised me to learn this weekend.

That’s interesting – raised beds, I guess it is and it isn’t

Some people would do raised beds because someone told them to do it

other people where you are

Here in NJ

 we have clay soil

garden in the first season

  • inexpensively you can build up
  • compost
  • topsoil

things like that

overall as a trend it’s interesting to learn.

To be honestly IDK if that’s my site, I was looking at teaching later when I wasn’t logged into the organic gardener podcast and nothing came up at all for gardening so maybe it’s just my site.

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

When I say 40 years the first 10 of those I was just a wee little kid. I got it from my dad

started about 5-6 years old my earliest recolection before that my dad said I would just play in the dirt, sort of that as a kid that’s a good place to start. 

I just remember growing a few things, radishes, my dad was picking them 30 days later as a kid I remember that’s a quick win

I’ve been doing it ever since then every year I would learn a little more from him

married in my own house and picked up basically half my property is a garden and the other quarter is chickens is a whole other topic

I love growing different things

Maybe you do this as well, you have a certain number of things you grow every year

learn new techniques whether it’s a new vegetable or vegetable variety. That’s what I love is that no 2 gardening seasons are the same

over the 40 years that’s my expereinces. That’s my quick recap

That’s true. My husband Mike his goal is to grow enough food that we really love to eat like potatoes and green beans and broccoli, he grew these heirloom purple radishes he never grew before and also some fava beans as a cover crop he never grew before so it’s true no two seasons are alike and I think that’s hopeful for listeners who are like you and could talk gardening all day long!

What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?

It’s interesting when people hear organic, they think of this process where they are basically planting stuff and you don’t do anything and look at it and hope it grows! To me it’s sort of what everybody is doing at home anyway


most synthetic fertilizers are using natural techniques for weeding – whether your handpicking, or using from JM Fortier – the cover tarp

  • not using a lot of things to disturb the soil
  • no synthetics
  • pest control you want to
  • plant a lot of different
  • ecosystem

works in harmony with one another

that sounds impossible

I’ve talked to guests who were able to do it in one season

get that eco-system built up

grow food because you want to eat it


take to our local food pantry

We want to safe and healthy for those around us

You’ll never see me label it as organic and you really can’t because there is a  certification

comfortable when 

I love that answer, I’ve been trying to define my niche in my podcast, I just keep coming back to that building an organic oasis, building an ecosystem, caring about your environment,  it’s about more then just caring about your vegetables, I was just making an outro, if you want your neighbors to plant like you do, reach out to your local community or college radio station.

I think my listeners are gonna love what you’re saying you’re dropping tons of golden seeds! I want to hear about JM Fortier’s technique.

This was a fascinating technique

I was doing an on location show at Kranzhill Farm which is in Deleware

John Detwiler

He was giving me a tour of the farm

He runs I think it’s 3 acres

takes these big black tarps

occultation covers – that’s what he calls them 

  • They allow water to go through the tarp
  • water and air but not sunlight
  • lay this tarp out
  • water, air is allowed in so all the weed seeds germinate
  • surface of the dirt after they break down
  • no sun, they end up dying

really clean way of getting rid of

organic farm

no tilling

did some more research on it


I invited JM Fortier he is not the pioneer of this technique but he gets the most credit because he put it in his book Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming. 

It explains exactly how to use it

saw it alive

  • saw this field
  • pulled the tarp off of
  • completely clean
  • then he plants
  • more of the weed seeds
  • plants are so big
  • shadow out

It was an absolutely amazing technique!

You’re probably not gonna use it if you have a couple of 4×4 raised beds it might not make sense to put that time and effort in!

If you have a 1/4 acre or more

  • large
  • beds garden beds

its a great technique

I forget he’s out of Montreal or Toronto – one of those two cities

highly recommend it

I have read that book like 3-4 times and I still haven’t got a full grasp of it all. I was thinking of doing a study guide. I want to say he’s in between Montreal or Toronto. I interviewed him a few years ago, and he is by far the most donwloaded. 

But I think it’s like you said, he’s out there educating people and he’s just passionate about growing a lot of food in a small area and teaching people and my listeners are that kind of person who have a whole backyard garden etc.

My listeners

They have really big gardens and have been gardening for along time for the most part! Although I’m getting new listeners all the time so who knows?

Who or what inspired you to start using organic techniques?

It actually started with my grandfather

grandparents were origianlly from Poland. My grandfateehr was a coal miner and when thye shut it down he moved to NJ which is hwere I ‘, from. 

His technuiques when he was gardening I would just watch him, that’s how they did it wasn’t called organic

he had great tasting everything so why wouldn’t I do it that way and my dad was the same way!

  • they would do basic gardneing
  • rows and columns,
  • no fertilizers they would

my dad loved to fish!

The only fertilizer they put in their garden was the fish waste that he caught

really good soil with that!

learning more

I realized

  • it’s ok to plant a lot of flowers
  • learning
  • building on that just a lot of the things

yeah, brought me to today with a lot of things that I would do.

So fish waste, if listeners are worried about putting fish waste in the compost? Because my mom gets raccoons or rabbits, she’s over where you are on Long Island do you have any recommendations for listeners on how to not worry about pests getting into your compost etc? Did he bury it, I know someone talked about the 3 sisters thing.

What he would do is actually bury deep holes just put it all in a hole and burry it.

We’re in Trenton

we had oppossoms.

a raccoon was rare

in the city

didn’t have a whole lot of that

south of trenton now

more raccoons and foxes

I like to do,


people can protect

fish waste in a t

other things I’m gonna bury trench composting thing I put a piece of fencing over the top of it

That works for me

I did it without the fence and they dug up my hole the next morning.

so I put a piece of fencing over the top

technique for about 4-5 years

Once the

  • raccoons,
  • fox
  • possums

figure out the fence I’m in trouble.

What happened at our house is the chickens and squirrels jump over the fence, but that’s different your talking about fence like netting laying on top right? That’s actually what Mike does to keep the rooster out of our regular garden. 


Tell us about something that grew well this year.

This year! I’ll tell you what ~ It’s been phenomenal!

Strawberries are amazing I’m picking maybe a pint of strawberries

4×4 bed of strawberries

I just have been getting a ton

The interesting thing is the birds are snacking on them too

strawberries amazing this year!

only thing

asparagus is just ok, not phenomenal