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Garden Visit with Diane and Melissa

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Hi everyone, thanks for joining me today. I’m with my news friends this morning in their garden. It’s Diane and Melissa, mother and daughter. And they’re kinda showing us around their straw bale garden. Can you tell me a little bit how did you guys discover straw bale gardening?

Well I had a number of my friends that talked about doing this this last spring. And I guess it only became talk for them, and I kinda jumped in with both feet, and convinced my mom to try it, and then we we found the seminar that you offered at the state fair grounds. So we signed up to get our bales there and attended. And it was wonderful. We thought, why not?

So you guys came and listened to me speak at the state fair last year?

– We did.

– I didn’t know that. I didn’t realize that.

– We picked up our bales there even.

– We got the state fair coming around here pretty quick here in Minnesota, yeah exactly. It’s that time of year again. It looks like you have all kinds of stuff, but the one thing I found really interesting that we don’t see a lot in Minnesota are the tomatillos. Tell me why you decided to grow tomatillos.

[Diane] We both like the salsa Verde, and she found that you could actually grow them here. So she hunted them down, and found a nursery that actually handled them and there we go.

– It’s funny, in Minnesota it’s kind of strange because a lot of times people don’t know what tomatillos are. They’ll come over and they’ll look and they’ll say oh those are cute, those are nice, what are they? Because they’ve never seen them grow before. If you get more to the southwest, where people are more familiar with salsa Verde kinda have that Mexican cuisine, they’re more familiar with that, they tend to know what it is. I also see cherry tomatoes, the candy of the garden. You gotta have those when you come up to the garden.

[Diane] Oh yeah

Pop a couple of those in your mouth, that’s always delicious.

[Melissa] Let me tell ya, you don’t need much encouragement for them either .

Yeah . Yeah, they’re very good. And then your best crop this year has been?

– The cucumbers.

– Cucumbers, you guys are fans of pickles, or do you eat the cucumbers raw, or on salads? Or what do you do?

– [Diane] Pickles.

– Primarily.

– I like the occasional salad with, you know, a little cucumber, a little tomato, and the cherry tomatoes work very well with them.

– Yeah

– They do.

– You can get lots of them at the same time. But mostly pickles, I think we pickled like crazy already.

– Yeah.

– Are you refrigerator pickle people or do you actually pressure can them, or water bath?

– Water bath.

– Water bath, okay. So you preserve ’em so that you can have them all winter long.

– Mhmm.

– Which is wonderful, there’s nothing better than..

– And share with friends and family.

– Right, in the middle of winter, and you pop open a jar of fresh dried pickles.

– I know.

– Ah they’re so good.

– And they taste so much better than store bought I think.

– They do.

– But then we kinda over dill as well, so but…

– Yeah.

– We like that.

– You get to control that.

– Yeah.

– Yeah. You can make them to your flavor. I like mine on garlic on it.

– Oh yes. I put a couple of big pieces of garlic in. It’s always great.

– And the occasional jalapeno.

– There you go, there you go. Have you guys had any trouble with rabbits, or deer, or anything else in your garden this year?

– Just bugs.

– Just a couple of bugs.

– Yeah, some potato bugs, mostly on the tomatillos, and now we’re getting some slugs on the big tomato plant, and there, but otherwise no. The squirrels have been staying away and one bunny that I’ve seen in the neighborhood has totally ignored. I thought the strawberry plant would be really sensitive.

– Tempting.

– Yeah.

– Yeah.

– But definitely within reach.

– Yeah, well yeah,

– Yeah, well yeah, keep it away from the critters is a tough part of the garden, make sure to keep some for us to eat.

– Yeah.

– Were you guys gardeners before you did the straw bale gardening?

– I gardened when the children were young because it was an easy way to get extra food and vegetables into them. And put them to work and keep them out of mischief.

– Yeah.

– Yeah, keep them occupied.

– For me that’s the thing about gardening, is when I think about gardening, it makes me nostalgic for my grandmother Josephine who was the one who taught me to garden. My dad really had very little interest in gardening, it was my grandma that taught me most about gardening. And my mom somewhat, but you know, she kinda learned from my grandma also. So it was kinda of a thing, generational thing, and it brings back really good memories of that time of your life.

– But for me what I always tell people when I was a little kid, ya know, 10 or 11 years old, gardening was about pulling weeds.

– Because that’s all we did all summer long was pull weeds.

– Yeah.

– Grandma did help with the planting and the harvesting, but when to came to weeding, it was the kids that had to the weeding, and that part I didn’t like.

– And that’s what nice.

– Isn’t it?

– There’s very little weeding.

– That’s what’s nice about straw bale gardening, you don’t have to pull very many weeds, so it’s kinda nice. So how does this work? Do you guys share the produce, share all the work, or how does it work?

[Diane] Yeah, we pretty much get together on the weekends. I take care of the garden, ya know, a half hour out here every morning just watering and picking anything that needs to be taken care of. And then she comes over on weekends, or sometimes in the evening during the week, and we spend an hour, an hour and a half putting up some pickles and taking care of stuff, and it’s done. It’s not a big, huge chore when you do it in little pieces.

– Yeah, a little bit.

– Yeah

– Yeah.

– And I spend a little bit of time with retraining the direction of things, so they stay where we want them.

– Keep the tomatoes up in the air and not flopped over.

– Yeah.

– Yeah, I know that’s a full time job when they’re really growing fast.

– Yeah.

– And it’s kinda good mother-daughter time too.

– Oh yeah, absolutely.

– Good family time too.

– We enjoy having that time together.

– Well I want to thank you guys so much for letting us come over and see your garden and telling us your story about straw bale gardening. We really appreciate it. Thanks for having us, and thanks for joining us everyone.

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