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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Wisdom and Love of Simple Home Living

Garden Gurus Joey and Holly Baird

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Joey and Holly Baird are garden gurus; masters of the reused, recycled and renewed; organic chefs; and devotees of simple home living. They pride themselves on sharing the wisdom and love, making it look easy via weekly YouTube videos and podcasts (bepreparedradio.com), a Facebook page and a website (thewisconsinvegetablegardener.com). Off the Cuff sat down with the Bairds to discuss glued wood chips, old computers and blushing zucchini.


Who’s the better gardener, him or her? 

Her: Joey. 

Him: But Holly is a kitchen rock star.


Can anyone garden? Even condo-dwellers?  

Her: Of course! There are many space-maximizing growing methods, including large tub containers, portable raised beds, boxes for patios/balconies/fire escapes and traditional window flowerpots.

Him: And don’t forget community gardens.


On this thousand-mile journey, what is the first step? 

Her: Desire. 

Him: And having no fear of mistakes.


One thing every new gardener should know? 

Her: It is a learning experience. Even someone with decades of experience learns new things. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 


Five tips? 

Him & Her:

1. Seasons are unique. No two are alike.

2. Grow what you know you will eat and use.

3. Go organic on fertilizers and pesticides. It’s more cost-effective and easier.

4. Get your family involved.

5. You don’t have to put a lot of money in it. Simple is best.


Why grow your own? 

Him: Save money, live healthier, interact with nature. Live local. You can’t get any more local than your backyard. 

Her: It’s also good for the environment and the community, and it builds self-esteem in children. 


What are the three strangest things you’ve ever (re)used? 

Him: Box fan grates cut in half protect plants and keep pests away. Aligned neatly, they look pretty cool.

Her: We like old dresser drawers with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. Placed together, they make a nice raised bed. A single, simple spray-paint coat on any old boards or containers brings new life. 

Him: There’s an old computer in the garden right now, actually. As long as it’s intact this spring, we will plant in it again.


Anything you can’t use? 

Him: Tires, particleboard, anything with glue and wood chips. You also want drainage holes, always. 

Her: If you aren’t sure, email us at thewisconsinvegetablegardener@hotmail.com.


How do you balance aesthetics and function? 

Him: Think about where you live. Some items do not look appealing. But again, have no fear. Try something before you assume.


Most challenging aspect of gardening? 

Him: It varies. Soil conditions and pests vary. Years always differ. Knowing your area, I guess.


Got any good zucchini jokes? 

Her: Hmm…why did the zucchini blush?  Because he saw the salad dressing.