JOHN KOHLER: Alright, this is John Kohler
with Growingyourgreens.com. Today I have another exciting episode for you. We’re on a field
trip. I’m excited about this episode actually, it’s going to be really cool. We’re in
Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a desert. In the summertime it gets up to 115 degrees, and
most front yards might look like the one right here. This is known as desert landscaping,
and maybe not even super well-maintained. Things dry out. It’s really hot. People
think, “Oh, this is what grows in the desert?” Not much. But this is going to change your
perception of that when we go to the next house over, where they literally have a fruit
tree orchard in their yard that, even despite 115-degree weather, does amazing. And besides just the fruit tree orchard, they
also have vegetable gardens planted. So what I’m going to do in this episode is actually
share what some homeowners have done on their property that they bought just four years
ago. They’re already having productive fruit trees. So let’s go to the next house and
share with you guys what they’re doing. So now I want to share with you guys the viewers’
house that I’m at today. They’re one of my followers and follow some of the things
I’m doing, so I think that’s really cool, and they’re using some of the practices
that I recommend, such as the nutrient-dense growing style, so that’s definitely really
cool. What we’re looking at here is their property, and their house you would never
know it. It looks so nice and they’re still in the
middle of construction because this was a fixer-upper. They were on half an acre, and
this half-acre with the house, and this is a definite fixer-upper with a lot of issues,
let’s say. Cost them $115,000. So if you’re looking for a good place to move, get a lot
of land, grow a lot of stuff like this, Las Vegas is the place, actually. There’s a
year-round growing season here, unlike the Northeast area where you’re probably freezing
in the wintertime. Yeah, it could get a bit cold here, but no problems with growing year
round. What they’ve done is they’ve taken this fixer-upper, that was a major fixer-upper,
this front yard was all rocked in. That’s what desert land’s giving you.
There’s rocked in places all over Las Vegas. So they had to move every rock, one rock at
a time, so they got a nice workout, and they basically pushed them to the side and they
might make a wall or do something later, but they basically got the house four years ago.
Then three years ago, that’s when they started planting out all the stuff. And I recommend
if you guys have a fixer-upper, if you’re living in a house now, plant stuff now, ask
questions later, because if you just think, “I’m going to plant a tree tomorrow,”
tomorrow never comes and that’s one day that the tree could’ve been growing and
producing fruit for you. What I’m going to do now is actually throw
up a few pictures of what this front yard used to look like. You guys can see that the
front yard was all the rocks. They had to move the rocks. The next picture you’re
looking at now is they actually dug big holes — three feet wide and three feet deep to
plant these guys. And the picture now, check it out, they planted the trees and look at
the trees. They ain’t trees, those are sticks they planted, but check it out now. Simply
three years later, following good practices, using good compost and nutrient-dense soil
mixes, and they’re on a nutrient spray program. These guys are fully productive after just
three years, and they’re looking quite bountiful. Let’s go up to some of the trees and share
with you guys what they are and the one I would pick if I were growing some trees like
this here. So this is their front yard orchard right here and they got six trees at present
time and they will expand to more. They also have expanded to almond trees that
they weren’t so lucky with, so they’re going to replant. Don’t worry if one of
your trees don’t make it. Depending on where you got it, it might have a tree warranty,
which is really important. They purchased a lot of their plants from Bay Laurel Nursery,
that has a policy that they will replace a tree once, so if it’s not growing to your
expectations, not growing well, doesn’t make it, let them know and they will replace
it for you. Many other nurseries also have a tree warranty, so be sure to check this.
One of my favorite nurseries with the best tree warranty above all others is actually
Osh. It’s a nursery, or a home improvement store located in California, and they have
a “Forever Plant Guarantee” on vegetables and fruit trees. So if you buy it there, no
matter whatever happened, you can get a replacement there, so that’s really cool. What we’re looking at here is six trees
they have, and over on this front row, they got a row of three and a lot of room to expand.
So hopefully next time I come back they’ll have a lot more trees up here, but the homeowners
have a lot to do and rebuild a house because it’s a fixer, but also they’ve been working
on the yard as much as they can. Their total goal here is actually mulch this and do all
this stuff, but they haven’t had time, so they just put in a temporary irrigation system
on top of the soil to get their trees watered while they’re working on their projects.
Then they’ll come back and finish these off one of these days. Guess what, until then,
these fruit trees are growing and they’re producing fruit that the family here can eat.
So this front row they have three different types of apple trees, and I don’t know about
you, but apples are a dime a dozen. Apples would not be my first choice of things
to plant in Las Vegas. This next row here, they have a fig tree followed by Asian pears,
and yeah, Asian pears a little bit more unique. I’d probably grow Asian pears before I grew
apples, but my favorite tree of them all in the front yard is absolutely the fig. So let’s
check that one out. One of the things you’re going to notice about this fig tree is that,
if you can see closely in the video, I don’t know if the camera could pick that up, but
in the back here, the tree’s white. That’s not because it snows here, well actually it
does snow, but that’s because they painted it white with latex paint because the trees
can be sun scald in the hot sun and even in the winter time. So they painted it white to prevent the damage
and another thing, because they painted it white, another cool thing is you could see
where the white stops, and that’s where they were done painting it. And you can see
all the new growth that’s occurred since they painted it. So this year’s growth,
you could clearly see the difference where it’s growing and guess what, all the fruit
is one this year’s growth. And I think I see an almost ripe fig right here. Let’s
see if one’s here. That’s not quite ripe yet. But this fig tree is loaded with figs.
I was actually eating figs off their tree earlier this morning, and they are definitely
delicious. I want to encourage you guys, if you do grow fruit trees, to harvest your fruit
at their complete ripeness. I was recently at a place that said it sold
locally grown figs. Had a sign in their front yard: “Figs, $4 a pound.” I went there,
bought some, tried some, and they picked them far too early. Yes, they’re good, but I
asked them, “Why are you picking your figs early? They’re not fully ripe. They’re
not juicy and sugary like they should be.” She’s like, “Because the birds get them
if you don’t pick them early.” The solution to birds getting your figs are not picking
them early. They’re to prevent the birds from getting in your figs, and I’ll show
you how the homeowners here do that in the back yard. But yeah, this fig’s quite productive
and I also want to encourage you guys to grow things that are expensive to buy. It’s quite
unfortunate that apples and Asian pears are fairly inexpensive to buy, but figs, homegrown
figs here in town, $4 a pound and they weren’t even that good. Think about what good-tasting
figs would taste like. Even if you go to the market, figs are like
$5. I’ve seen them for $8 a pound sometimes. But you could easily grow them and grow some
amazing figs if you have your property and simply plant a fig tree. So the fig tree here.
This is a Black Mission fig, and this tree has produced the best-tasting figs I’ve
ever tasted in Vegas. I’ve tasted probably about, I don’t know, half dozen or so cultivars
here growing in Vegas, and these by far are the best ones so far so at present time, if
you want to grow figs in Vegas, I recommend the Black Mission. Now, besides the front
yard orchard, which has six trees and they will expand later, the back yard is where
things are really at, so let’s head to the backyard and show you guys what’s growing
on. Alright, as you guys can see, we’re now in the back yard, and now only do they
have another fruit tree orchard here. They also have some raised bed gardens that’s
growing lots of vegetables, and yes, even fruit here in the desert, even through the
100-degree weather we’ve been having lately. So what we’re going to do now that we’re
in the backyard, we’re going to share with you more about how this came to be, how they’re
planting things out. We’re going to take a look at the orchard, some of the trees,
the best trees that are growing, how they’ve done this, and also, of course, the amazing
vegetable garden that they have in the back. And then we’re going to go inside and show
you how they start their plants all from seed, different rare and unique heirloom varieties
by using soil blockers, and we’re going to see some of their fertilizers and soil
amendments that they use to have this amazing plant growth. The first thing, let’s go ahead and maybe
sit down and share with you guys how they started this whole method to the madness to
make all this happen. So I want to take a minute and sit down and share with you guys
what the homeowners had to work with here. The house looks in fairly good condition and
they’re in construction and still modifying and making their house nicer because yes,
this was a fixer upper, and behind me is just evidence of that. What we have behind me is
a swimming pool, and you’re like, “John! Why are they filling in the swimming pool?” Well, while a swimming pool’s nice to have,
number one the swimming pool behind me was unpermitted as was many things else that was
done on this property that this homeowners are having to go through trials and tribulations
with the city unfortunately to make it right and to get work approved and to do things
to code and all this stuff. So, the swimming pool could’ve got torn out and put back
in, but that’s too much work so what they’ve decided to do was they’re just filling it.
And they’re all filling it by hand. This is manual labor. One of the things that
I like about gardening is that it gets you outside. Get some sun, make some vitamin D,
which is so good for us, but also gives us some labor. Some manual labor. I think in
this day and age, people sit far too long behind computers watching YouTube videos,
so go on and get out there after you watch this. People are designed to move. We’re
designed to move. We’re not designed to be sitting on a couch watching TV all day
or sitting behind a computer screen working at the computer all day. I’m lucky that
I’ve set up my life so that I work a couple hours or half the day then go and garden the
rest of the day. I encourage everybody to get out and do some real world activity because
it is that healthy for you. Nonetheless, they’ve had this swimming pool
that they’re going to basically cover up. They’re going to fill it up, and what they’re
going to do in there is they’re going to plant a raised bed garden on top of it. Now
one of the cool things they might want to do is because they already have a really nice
hole, if I had a swimming pool like this, I would probably just build a structure like
a greenhouse structure over it and then be able to have a sunk-in garden. Because the
swimming pool is so deep, it’s going to retain the regulated temperature, much like
if you go into a mine. It’s always cooler in the mien than outside. So at the lower
elevation in the swimming pool, we’re at a constant temperature, this can be especially
good for gardening in the wintertime, and they’ve already done the work and dug it
all out for you. So there are plans with people doing this already. I forget the exact name they call it, but
that’s definitely really cool and that’s what I’d use that space for instead of just
filling it up and building raised beds on top. And then I would build hoop houses to
put over. I would build a massive hoop house to put over that and then be able to walk
in down into my greenhouse garden or build raised bed gardens at the base of the swimming
pool. So that would be really cool, but anyways, that’s their plan. Let’s talk about plans
actually. Before they started this project, and I think everybody out there should do
this if they’re serious about growing food at their place, especially if they bought
it and own it. You want to have a plan, because without a plan, you’re lost. If a plane takes off to go to Hawaii and it
doesn’t know where it’s going, it’s just flying around for hours wasting gas.
So, plane has a destination in mind when it takes off, and you also should have a destination
in mind when you’re planning out what you want to grow at your home. So what they’ve
done is ardently, judiciously, whatever the word is, they basically made a plan, and this
is 8 ½ by 11. They basically have it all to scale as to their backyard, their front
yard, and their house, and this is a half an acre, so their house doesn’t take up
too much space. So they have a lot of space to play with, and a lot of it right now is
basically gravel, dirt, nothing, and they’re working on slowly growing things out. And they’re doing this in stages, so they’re
not doing it all overnight. I don’t recommend you guys do it all overnight either. Do a
little at a time, learn as you grow, plants things, you’re going to learn, “Oh, when
we did it this way, it worked so good, and now we’re going to do the other half of
the garden a little bit differently so we can improve it and make it better.” So anyways,
their current plant has about 40 fruit trees on this half acre property, as well as a lot
of placement for raised bed gardens as well as placement for perennial edible crops such
as blueberries and goji berries and asparagus, and artichokes, definitely really cool. They
got the irrigation, where that’s going to be running to, already piped in under the
ground ready to grow for when they do expand and that’s definitely very important. So have a plan. So once they have their plan,
then they basically started planting the trees and building their raised beds. So next let’s
go on over to the orchard and share with you guys some of the trees they’ve planted,
the spacing they’ve planted it, and how they’re keeping their trees smaller, how
they’re protecting it from birds. Oh man, this is going to be so much fun. Let’s go
ahead and check this out. So what we’re looking at now is just a small section of
their backyard orchard. They have over a dozen fruit trees here in the backyard, and I love
when I get to visit a new place because I get to see the different trees, see how they’re
growing, see which ones are healthier, see which ones are producing more. I can share that with you guys and share the
best of the best because they’ve definitely learned by planting different varieties which
ones do the best and which ones maybe don’t grow so well. As you guys can see behind me,
what they’re doing is they’ve got a structure made out of EMT Conduit and some connectors,
with some standard clips that hold on some bird netting so that helps keep the birds
out and maybe we’ll do a close up on it so I can show you guys. They have different
things like apriums, apricots, plums, and some peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, currently
planted in the backyard and some of them are fruiting right now at this time. Let’s go
over to one of the fruit trees that’s loaded up with fruits and talk more about it. What we’re looking at now is a pluot tree,
and I know you guys can see some pluots here. They’re not quite ripe yet, but this tree
is loaded with fruit. I don’t know if you guys can see that on the video, but this thing
has so much fruit it’s totally insane. And guess what, yes, these were only planted three
years ago. Three years ago. In three years, you can have this much fruit, so plant a tree
tomorrow if you haven’t already. And these were started from a bare root, from little
twigs that came out of the ground. Now, you might be thinking, “John, is that a multi-graft
tree?” Can you have a tree with different varieties on it, because we got certain variety
of pluot on this side and on this side we got a different variety. But no, these are
actually not two varieties. What they’re doing is a technique that they’re
doing a two tree, one whole technique, so like two girls for one guy, it’s kind of
the same thing. The guys will like it, and the trees like it, because they help pollinate
each other. So on one side of the whole, which is 18 inches they plant the tree, and I’ll
show you a really good example of this, each side of the whole, and they keep it pruned
back so that it makes a full tree and then each part of the tree is just half. So they
prune this back judiciously to keep one on one side and one on the other side, and no
comingling. And it’s doing pretty well. Looks like these trees got fully pollinated
and they’re producing quite nicely, so the pluots they’ve been doing quite well for
them in Vegas. Let’s take a look at other experimental
trees that haven’t produced yet after three years they’ve been in the ground. So here’s
a really good example to show you guys the concept of two trees, one whole. Basically
they got a three-foot wide diameter circle and three feet deep hole that they’ve dug
out of this hard soil here, and we’ll show you guys how they did that to make it super
easy. Then they got a little recessed area that holds the water, and they fill this up
with compost and they basically planted the trees in there. What we’re looking at here
are two cherry trees that produce like a total of one or two cherries this year after three
years. Maybe in future years they’ll grow bigger
and produce a lot more fruit, but if you want your fast return on an investment, then definitely
the pluot or maybe the next one I’m going to show you guys that’s probably the number
one fruit tree to plant in Vegas if you want to plant a fruit tree that’s really easy
to manage and take care of. So I could show you this tree and the greenery behind me,
but I’m not seeing any fruit on it. And this is the tree I would recommend you guys
plant if you want to have a productive tree that does really well here in the desert.
This one is known as an aprium, and this is known as the Flavor Savor aprium. This tree after three years produced a bountiful
harvest of the apriums and in addition, the reason why the homeowners like it here is
because this tree was trouble-free. The apriums, the fruit came in really early, it wasn’t
bothered by pests, diseases, or birds or anything. Produced a lot for them, and now it’s here
to live the rest of its years and grow larger so that it can produce for them again next
year. So because this is an early tree, it didn’t have all the challenges that the
other trees did have. So let’s go ahead and take a look at the high-maintenance tree,
much like that high-maintenance girlfriend you might have had back in college. So this
my friends is what you call a high-maintenance tree, the one behind me. It’s done fruiting
for the year. This is known as the Saturn peach. The Saturn
peaches are the ones not like the round peach, but they’re more like the flat peach, and
I love Saturn peaches for me to eat personally, but knowing what I know now, I would never
grow one in Las Vegas. Saturn peaches, they’re one of the most delicious peaches to me. They’re
the sweetest, they have a good flavor, but they’re high-maintenance. Who wants to deal
with a high-maintenance? I want to go for easy right? I want that easy girl instead
of that high-maintenance girl. Anyways, so, the Saturn peach, as you guys can see, they
basically had to put bird netting over it and even the bird netting they use, which
I’ll show the diameter on that, small birds were still able to get in there and eat the
fruit, because the fruit was highly desirable to the birds. In addition, what happened was because the
fruits are so small, they would drop off the tree after the birds plucked them because
they were damaged, and they would ferment on the ground, so they weren’t able to harvest
as many of them as they would’ve liked. And it also had some other challenges with
some bugs and some pests, so you could choose, “Okay, I want Saturn peaches because they
taste so good,” but then you got to do a lot of extra stuff; you got to cover it, you
got to spray it, you got to watch out for the bugs. Or you can grow an aprium tree like
they did here, very little maintenance, very little care. Produces bountiful harvest with
much less effort. So I want to encourage you guys out there
to grow trees that are a lot less effort that are going to produce for you so you can spend
more time doing other stuff, planting different trees, tending to your vegetable garden, instead
of playing with your trees and protecting them all the time and not even getting that
much fruit off of them. So I want to talk about bird protection, or bird netting, and
this is the bird netting they’re using. It’s a fine weave, looks like maybe a half-inch
diameter. Now this was not small enough to keep out the smaller birds. Next time they’re
going to go to maybe a quarter inch diameter to keep out the smaller birds, and this is
very easy setup. Basically they stuck a couple rebar stakes
in the ground and put this EMT conduit and EMT conduit is relatively inexpensive at a
local big box hardware store. Then they got the special connectors up at the top which
you can order online because many stores or nurseries won’t sell these, but just order
four connectors online, EMT conduit at a local big box store and some bird netting, and you
got an instant protection from birds and other wildlife. SO you can build something like
this to put over your raised bed vegetable garden. You can also put up shade cloth on
a structure similar to this that we’re going to look at in a second, over their vegetable
garden, and this is the easiest way to control for certain pests. Birds and large insects
can’t fly through the netting to get your stuff. If you’re on the ground, you can put rocks
on it as they have done, and wildlife can’t get in to eat your stuff. This is not rocket
science; you don’t need to spray toxic pesticides or bird deterrents and all this kind of stuff.
Just simply build a little screen house for your trees and plants and keep them inside.
You don’t want pests in your house so that’s why you shut your door at night. So build
a little house, outdoor greenhouse for your trees and plants to keep them safe as well,
and it is really that easy. So despite having the bird netting up over their trees, they
still have challenges with ground squirrels, so what they’re doing is, instead of using
toxic, poison baits and whatnot to kill the squirrels, they’re catching them here and
they can choose to release them or do whatever they want with the squirrels once they got
them to get them off their property to somewhere else. To greener pastures, let’s say. Please keep
in mind that relocating wildlife that you trap on your own property, if you do take
it somewhere else, it’s illegal in many places, so I’m not necessarily recommending
you do that, but if I was to capture wildlife and creatures, I would just want to rehome
them somewhere else other than my property and do it under the cover of darkness. Alright,
what I wanted to share with you guys next is a jackhammer. They got a jackhammer to
jack up here and why they got the jackhammer was literally digging in this hard soil here
would be backbreaking labor, but they’ve done it themselves easily with this jackhammer
they got off Amazon. I will mention the brand name; it’s CMT
Model 10309. 65-millimeter demolition handle.112 volts, 240 watts. Made in China. So this jackhammer
basically an interchangeable bottom. They got a pick end on this currently but they
also have a shovel to dig and basically you put it down and jack int. Check it out, it’s
really that easy, so yes, buying some tools to save you tons of time is definitely worth
it in my opinion. This thing has already paid for itself because they’re getting plenty
of fruit off their trees and they still have plenty more holes to dig with this jackhammer.
Even get more benefits out of it. So that’s how they dig some of their holes. Let’s go ahead now and share with you guys
their luscious vegetable garden that’s growing lots of vegetables here in the summer in Las
Vegas. So as you guys can see behind me this is their vegetable garden area. Basically
they’re building a lot of square-foot raised bed gardens, four feet wide by what looks
like 20 feet long on some of these beds, and then they have beds that are just 10 feet
by 10 feet, which are actually quite large. Each one of the beds are growing something
a little bit different and over part of the garden, they actually one of those similar
structures up that they’re putting the bird netting on to keep the birds out, but this
one actually has a shade cloth, a small percentage shade cloth, I’m going to guess maybe 30
percent shade cloth, to keep some of the heat and the sun off some of the plants so that
may do better with production or not. It’s my personal opinion that I’m not
a big believer in using shade cloth. I want to make my environment good for my plants,
including building the soil up so that they can be more resistant to the hot weather instead
of giving them some sun protection like sunscreens do for people. It’s my personal belief that
we’re not made to have sunscreen. Plants are not made to live in the shade, except
that they’re shade plants. A lot of the fruiting crops really love the sun and by
shading them, you may be limiting your production, but also you may be helping them. So that’s
what they’ve decided to do here, and I think it’s cool. I think you guys should always
experiment, and I like that they had some in the shade, some that are not, and they’re
specifically planting plants under the shade cloth and the same plants outside of the shade
cloth to see which plants will do better. Maybe in the shade cloth plants will do better
and not. And it looks like a very simple and easy structure to put up if you do intend
and want to shade your crops. In addition, this is also valuable because this structure
can be used in the wintertime with some Agrobond or some other material to make a mini greenhouse-like
structure that would be a good thing here in the desert in the winter. Let’s go ahead
and take a look at the raised bed construction and some of the things they’re planting
in this time. So now let’s talk about the raised bed construction. They’re using basically
2 x 6 lumber. They have a lumber stack three high, so this makes probably a little bit
over a foot of depth, which I believe is a really excellent depth to have here in Las
Vegas. And the wood they’re using looks really
cool. It’s nice and finished and stuff. Now this is all nontoxic stains they’re
using here, and what they’ve done is simply bought inexpensive cheap pine lumber, and
the pine is a lumber that’s normally used for construction inside your house and not
necessarily recommended for outside use, but this will save you a ton of money by using
pine lumber. Now the pine lumber will probably not last a lot of years. You might get five
years out of it, especially if you treat it properly, and it’ll be interesting to see
how this garden holds up, but that’s what they used, it’s inexpensive, and it looks
relatively nice using the special mineral-based treatment that they used. Later in the episode
we’ll go into the house and share with you the specific products they use to make all
this happen. They basically have a header, a drip system
here, and they basically have drip emitters every twelve inches, and it’s the drip tape,
or the drip line with built-in emitters, and in this garden, they have a lot of different
things planted. I like to plant one plant per garden. Here they like to intermix things,
and I like intermixing things, but for me the challenge is if you intermix plants, they
grow at different plants, so some may get shaded and some will not get shaded. In addition,
what you’re seeing here, they have a little hoop house here. This hoop house is specifically
meant for use in the wintertime to keep things a little warmer, and they’ve built this
hoop house themselves out of the same EMT conduit. They didn’t buy these already preformed. They actually bought a tubing bender, which
I’ll show you guys in a little bit. You guys could bend your own EMT conduit and make
professional-looking hoop houses like this for actually very little money. So next we’re
going to go ahead and go in some close ups of some of the different beds and some of
the crops growing at this time here in the summer. So the first thing I want to show
you guys is although they have a half acre here, they also want to conserve space and
grow things vertically, especially when they’re planting a mixed raised bed with eggplants
and onions and basil and marigolds and Swiss chard, tomatoes and sunflowers. I mean all the different things I’m seeing
in this bed, they’re all mixed up. So if the tomato’s sprawled all over, it would
literally cover some of the things that are nearby, so what they’ve done instead is
they’re trellising it up. So one again, they basically made a system using the EMT
conduit with some connectors. This is just a T-connector here, and they have the bar
going up the top and they’ve made a little frame and they’re using one of my favorite
nylon string trellis as temporary use, though in the future they will use hog panels. And
this is removable, so after the summer season they can take this down and they can basically
utilize their hoop house. In the meantime, this hoop system provides
support for these trellises to go up, so they have a tomato trellis on the side you can’t
see. They have this tomato trellis here, which is doing really nice, so it’s offering minimal
shade for the plants below it. It’s also not sprawling out, which lets these guys grow
below. They’re also pruning the tomatoes that they can grow and behind in the back,
there’s an amazing cucumber plant, which they’re also trellising up. It looks like
it’s growing amazingly as well. So here’s another shot of the raised beds here, one
of the four foot by twenty foot raised beds. And what I want to show you guys in this is
they actually planted some heirloom sweet potatoes, so they ordered heirloom sweet potato
slips, which are little plants from a company, and they shipped it to them, and they planted
them, and they’re growing really well. They got a bunch of rare and unique varieties of
sweet potatoes. I always want to encourage you guys to grow heirloom, unique, and rare
varieties of things, and save your seeds to pass those one to future generations. Plus
you’re going to see how the heirlooms grow for you, plus they’re also maybe even taste
better than some of the commonly available commercial varieties today. Now besides just
the sweet potatoes they got here, some of these crops I really want you guys to focus
on in the desert are some of the ones growing here. Number one, the Swiss chard. Swiss chard’s
the number one leafy green to grow in the winter, and even in the summer in Las Vegas.
It loves the heat, it does quite well. The next one here we got is Egyptian spinach,
or molkhiya. It’s also known as the jute, and the leaves are quite good. Have a nice
mild, small mucilaginous flavor, best eaten raw in my opinion. And behind there, a little
ways back, it’s actually known as the New Zealand spinach. This is the first time I’ve
seen New Zealand spinach growing in Las Vegas, and it looks like it’s doing quite well.
I always recommend you guys to grow your leafy greens. I know in the summertime many of us
focus on the fruiting crops, like the peppers and the eggplants and tomatoes and watermelons,
and we forget about the leafy greens, but leafy greens are quite important. It’s the
name of my channel for reason. I believe we should eat leafy greens every
single day in our diet, My goal is to eat two pounds of leafy greens. Most days I definitely
get to one, but my goal is two pounds. By juicing the leafy greens or putting them in
a blender in order to make a green smoothie, you can definitely up your leafy green percentage
quite easily. So what we’re looking at now is a 10-foot by 10-foot raised bed. You might
be thinking, “John! That goes against all your principles man! Because you can’t reach
in and get to all the different plants on the inside of the bed.” And I think they’ve
done quite a good job with a 10 foot by 10 foot bed. They might have to walk around the
bed to get some parts of it. I’d probably have a four foot by four foot
bed with a little walkway down the middle, but it’s doing quite well. What they’re
growing in this bed, and there’s a reason for the 10 x 10 is they’re growing heirloom
rare and unique varieties of melons here in the desert, which are all heirloom varieties.
And the melons like to vine out and sprawl. And while you can trellis them up, it would
be a pain, so they’re letting them just sprawl out. This is also good because the
leaves of the plants will protect the fruit from the fruit burn, which can also be a challenge
here in the hot desert sun. So what I wanted to share with you guys in this bed is they
have these irrigation flags. So I think this is a really good idea. I haven’t
seen this done anywhere else before. The yellow irrigation flags behind me so you know where
the plant was planted, so when you go in to water, you could water in that general are
to hit the root zone of the plant. Next they have little orange flags. The orange flags
denote the fruits that are growing in there, so they can check them as they find them so
they can find any ripe ones. Let’s go ahead and see how they’re protecting some of the
fruits from damage, against some of the bugs and creatures in the soil. So now I want to
show you guys what they got here. They got a little melon and it’s not sitting on the
soil because I’ve had melons that have gotten eaten out by the bugs. What we got here is, and let me see if I can
lift this up without doing too much damage, is they got these little trays. You might
have had these when you were little kids. You could put a little paper plate on here
so it has structure for the paper plate, but basically what this allows is it keeps the
melon off the dirt to get less bug damage. The holes in here let water drain, so they
water or it drains, so you won’t get the rot. So they just put it this way up, I might
put it this way up with the melon on top so there’s a little bit of air circulation
underneath, but nonetheless I think this is an excellent method to keep your melons safe.
And this is just a watermelon growing, and they got at least a half dozen varieties of
heirloom melons, and they got all the seeds from the Baker Creek Seed Company. They’ve started all the vegetables and plants
you’ve seen in this video, they’ve started from seed, and I always encourage you guys
to start your plants from seed if you possibly can. Sometimes if you’re too late for the
season you got to buy some plants or whatnot, but starting your seeds is by far the best
because you can know the plant’s whole history, especially here in the desert where it is
quite hot and hardening off your plants can be challenge. So actually next let’s go
ahead and show you guys how they start their plants inside and how they harden them off
before they plant them outside to get hits amazing growth. So another very important
component to having fruit trees in and orchard and even vegetables, which we’ll show you
in a little bit, is having the bees. So the bees help with the pollination. Without
the pollination, 30-percent of the crops available in America today, you would not be eating.
It’s quite sad that bees are under attack from, in my opinion, the chemical pesticides
and herbicides and all this kind of stuff. It’s really good to keep your own bees in
my opinion to increase pollination for your crops and also maybe get a little honey out
of it, but more importantly to preserve the bees and provide them a home where they’re
not being doused with chemicals every day or being trucked around the country and being
enslaved to pollinate fruit for your. So here they’re going to have a nice home and they’re
going to be able to not even have to go that far to be able to have the pollen off the
fruits and vegetables and in addition, if you look closely behind the hive you’ll
see a chicken feeder, a chicken water feeder. And that’s not for chickens, that’s actually
for the bees because the bees do like some water. So it’s nice that they have that
there for the bees. They’re giving the bees a happy home and at the same time the bees
are working for them to pollinate and increase the fruit production. Now another thing that
no garden should be without is a compost pile. They have a small compost pile here. What
I would recommend in their orchard-like situation here is probably getting a wood chipper and
definitely expanding out their compost pile so that every branch, tree limb, leaf, vegetable
clipping that comes off their plants here go back into the pile to enrich and break
down so that they can refeed their soil some of the excellent nutrition and nutrient density
that they’re growing in their soil. So while they’re growing some peaches here,
not everything is peachy keen when you’re growing your food, and I wanted to share this
with you guys. What we have here is two empty lone holes. It’s quite unfortunate they
spent the time to dig out three foot wide by three foot deep holes, they planted some
fruit trees, including some citrus, like a Myer lemon, and it didn’t quite make it
due to the freeze. And that’s alright. You lose a tree, guess what, you try, try again. So they’re going to try another tree in
this whole, probably another citrus, and they’re going to protect it better when it’s younger,
maybe put lights on it build a structure, and then the other hole, which I’m looking
forward to, they’re going to get a cold, hardy variety of avocado to experiment with. And yes, it’s not guaranteed to make fruit
like some of the other ones I showed you guys, but if you have extra space and you love avocadoes,
you might want to try to get a cold- hardy ones. So I’m really looking forward to when
they put that in and maybe I could come over and grab an avocado or two off a Las Vegas-grown
avocado. Probably one of the only trees that’s producing in Las Vegas if they’re successful.
So what I’m looking at now is some other trees I would highly encourage you guys to
grow in Las Vegas if you really want low-maintenance and you really want to get delicious and nutrient-dense
fruits with a lot of anthocyanins and antioxidant pigments contained within them. We all know
that the pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits. Pomegranates, unlike apples, sell for a lot
of money in the stores. They store fairly well also, which is really a good thing, so
you can keep some of the fruit longer rather than having to eat it right away, like say
the plums or the apriums. And pomegranates, they do amazing in the desert with very little
care. Next I want to remind you guys when you go buy a pomegranate tree, don’t just
go to the Home Depot and buy the pomegranate tree they got there. You’re only going to
get one variety, probably the Wonderful variety, which in my opinion is the not the tastiest
or best variety to grow. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of pomegranates. I can think of a place, Exotic Fruit Nursery
in southern California that has 200 varieties of pomegranate trees growing that they make
available for you guys. I mean 200 varieties, that blows my mind. All the different flavors,
all the different colors, all the different textures of the fruit. My personal favorites
of the pomegranates are actually the White Palms that are more sweet than tart, and that’d
be my choice for growing here in the Las Vegas desert. So now I’m going to go ahead and
share with you guys how they start their seeds indoors. This is very important to get your
seeds started early when it’s still too cold to plant them outside so that your seeds
and your plants that you’re going to grow are at the right height at the right time
so you could maximize your growing season. This is a little 2 x 4 structure they’ve
built with fluorescent lighting. We’re going to go ahead and give you a close up so you
can see how they’re growing and behind you can see a whole bunch of color-coded buckets.
They have a lot of different soil nutrients then I’m going to go over a few to share
with you guys what they’re using here and how they’re storing, which is quite neat.
I need a system like this personally. So how they’re starting their seeds is they’ve
got a special fixture, fluorescent light fixture that uses a T-5 lance. This is normally used
to hydroponic or indoor gardening. It’s actually quite bright. This is a specialized set up that can get
expensive, but feel free to go down to your local big box store and get some shop lights
with some good bulbs, and they’re going to perform maybe not quite as well as these
guys, and they basically built these shelves that fit this whole light system. And they
have these trays here, which is really cool. They got these bottom green trays that the
water can’t go through, plus they have some special tongs here. They also have a heat
mat underneath here to keep the right temperature, especially when you’re starting your seeds
in the cold wintertime, this is going to keep them warmer because some seeds like to germinate
when it’s warm out. And then next what they have here is quite
ingenious. They basically have a little tray with holes in it that they put in the tray
without the holes in it, so that when they water, the water doesn’t seep down. And
then what they’re doing here is they’re using these things called soil blocks. So
instead of using more plastic, they basically got a soil-blocking tool here that they make
a special mix of the soil. They wet the soil, they put this in here, which basically makes
a mold, then they basically push this out and it puts a little dip in the top so you
can really plant your seeds fast. Also, this will reduce the transplant shock
because now you don’t need to remove the plants out of the little plastic container
and in addition, in the soil block, the roots really won’t grow out of the soil block
because the roots will hit the air so they’ll probably air prune themselves. So you’re
probably going to get healthier plants because of it. And this is how they start them all
in here. All the plants you saw outside were started in here under this light setup. Now
besides having the lights, the proper way to store the plants, the blocking tool, having
a heat mat underneath. Another very component which they’re doing,
which is very cool, they have a layer of insulation on the bottom, which I like a lot, haven’t
seen in too many places. You can put insulation or aluminum foil on the back wall that’s
white to reflect some light, which is cool. They’ve kind of done that on the side. It’s
white. But another thing that’s very important that many people do not do to their plants
is put up a fan. Air circulation is very important for plants. You may get diseases if you don’t.
Circulate some air, plus I also think that circulating some air on the plants and giving
them some resistance which would happen outside makes them a little stronger when they’re
growing up. Now another thing that they’ve learned that’s
quite important is hardening their plants off. Hardening off your plants, meaning you
just take your plants, grow them inside until they’re nice and yay big and you take them
outside and put them in your garden, they’re going to freak out because the weather inside
is a lot more different than the weather outside, especially here in the extreme Las Vegas.
They need to harden off their plants early, instead of later. So as soon as the plants
start getting their first set of true leaves, they start taking this whole flat out, maybe
for an hour a day, putting them outside and bringing them back in. They might keep this
up for a week and then the next week they might do it two hours a day. And everybody has their own scheme on how
much or how little to do this, but basically you want to get the plants acclimated to the
weather. It’s like if you’re in Alaska, it’s freezing and you go to vacation in
Hawaii and you get off the plane and you’re like oh my gosh, it’s so hot, because you’re
not used to, so we need to get these plants used to the weather. And that’s important
no matter where you live. I see a lot of challenges with new gardeners thinking “Oh I got these
new plants, they’re doing really well. Just going to plant them out and they don’t make
it. And one of the biggest reasons why is because they’re not hardened off properly.
So another thing I admire about the gardeners here is they’ve really taken a nutrient-dense
approach to gardening. So many of you guys may have not heard that
before. I do talk about this on my show by adding the rock dust and the trace minerals
and basically providing everything the plant needs besides just the NPK fertilizer that
many of you guys hopefully are not using right now. You just buy it in the blue powdery stuff
that you just mix in, right? That doesn’t give the plant everything it needs, especially
here in the desert heat it’s very critical. The healthier you can have your plants, the
healthier they’re going to be, they’ll be more resistant to the extreme heat, to
the weather, to the pests, than just putting down a standard NPK fertilizer. It took a
lot of time to dig three-foot holes, put the soil in there, mail order the trees, put them
in the hole. I mean, if you have a kid, are you just going
to kick your kid out of the house at 18 and let them go and figure out, or are you going
to save money for them so they can go to college. You’re going to invest in his future. When
you take care and nourish the soil, you’re investing in the future of your plant, the
future of your plant’s health, the future of its production and more importantly, the
production of nutrient-dense foods that are higher nutrients, taste sweeter, taste better,
and will give you a greater level of health in my opinion. They have a lot of this stuff
here. In my opinion, these are not simply fertilizers. These build the soil, which is
very important. I have a really good episode on building the soil versus fertilizers. Maybe I’ll put a link down below but they’re
using a lot of the same products that I use in my home. They got actually a few new ones
that I haven’t seen before, which is cool, but basically one of the main programs they
did when they started growing was they started using the John and Bob’s products. They
heard a local lecture here, John and Bob’s rep talking about the products, including
the Nourish Biosol, the microbes and minerals, and some of the different John and Bob’s
products including the penetrate liquid biotiller, which adds the beneficial microbes in the
soil. I actually sprayed those in my garden this morning, but really we want to build
the soil. Here in the desert this soil is crap. It’s
not that good for growing so they’ve enriched, and they’re bringing fertility back in the
soil by adding many different things. Some of the other things we have here is a soft
rock phosphate, Azamite, Glacial rock dust, they got the worm castings, Optimize, the
John and Bob’s products, and they got them all in these cool products here. Let me show
you guys what these buckets are. These are just standard five gallon buckets but these
are like the ultimate supreme five gallon buckets because they’re transparent, very
high quality. They got these at the Winco Foods here in town. In addition, they got
these cool lids. Most of the time with buckets you got to pry them off, it’s a pain. These are basically spin-off tops that you
basically spin the top off and you can get to everything in your bucket. These are food-storage
grade, if you’re storing food, your rock dust, or whatever, you guys can do it with
these tops. These are actually called the Gamma Seal lid, Gamma Plastics Corporation
in San Diego, so I highly recommend these. I own a couple myself. Really nice way tot
keep all your nutrients for your garden safe and contained. They have labels on all of
them so they can see what they are. I really need to do this to all my bagged products
because they’re al in bags and the bags are folded over and half rotten out. They even color-coded the handles here. Definitely
really nice that they’re doing that to keep everything nice and organized so that they
can get on with their program by adding these to the soil. So besides all these fertilizers,
they have some other products they spray on their crops as well. They’ve read a few
books about the subject they’ve followed that’s basically given them the results
that they’ve gotten here. So we’ll share those with you guys, but I want to go over
and share one of the products they’re using to repel the pests that I actually really
like a lot that I spray in my very backyard last night. So the Neem oil is one natural
organic pesticide that I would recommend you guys use. It’s the one I sprayed actually
just last night in my garden. They’re also using it here. This is the Ahimsa Organics Neem Oil cold
pressed wild-crafted and 100 percent organic and Armory listed. I definitely like this
stuff a lot. Now besides the Neem oil, they also have the Orange Guard, which is what
I used to control ants in my place. It also works very well. It’s basically extracted
from orange peels, the D-limonene. So it could be used around food and it’s pet-safe. So
I always wan to encourage you guys to use pet-safe and human-safe natural alternatives
to chemical pesticides and these are just two of them that can cover a wide range of
challenges. Now aside from some of the pest controls,
they also have liquids they put in foiler feeds on to their crops on a weekly feeding
cycle. I don’t know if they put this on a weekly feeding cycle. This is actually called
the Sea-Crop Concentrate. This is basically a sea mineral-based solution that is sprayed
on to the crops whether they’re using the Sea-Crop, the C90 or ocean-growing solution
product. I think that’s very important and essential to use in your garden. Now, besides
just the Sea-Crop they’re using, they basically have a spray recipe. So they’re quite organized
here, which boggles my mind because I’m not super organized and have everything organized. It’s just all in my head, a little more
spontaneous. But they have a holistic spray recipe that they came up with from one of
the books that I’ll show you at the end of this video with Neem, Sopam oil, molasses,
C90, liquid fish oil and Sea-Crop, and they have actually the plant that they needed to
do to make it, the recipe, and putting it in back sprayer, and putting it one once a
week. So I think regular fertilization of your crops can be very important. We eat every
day and our crops also want to have some nutrition, as much as I like to add things to the soil
to have it available for the crops, I think foiler feeding is very essential and also
very important to have the utmost level of plant health here in the desert to give your
plants every possible advantage to thrive in 115 degree that we’ll be having in just
a few weeks. So now I want to talk about one of these specific
soil additives that they have that I’ve never seen before and they say costs a pretty
penny actually. It’s called the Transplant Formula and it’s from Mineralized Gardens.
It’s Mineralizedgardens.com is the website, and this is simply for adding to the transplant
soil so that the transplants have all the nutrition they need. One of the things I really
want to impart on you in this episode is that it’s very important to help the plants,
not only for their long-term stability when they’re adult and producing food for you,
but even more importantly when they’re children. Whether they’re children and child plants,
or whether they’re real children, we know that when your child eats a healthy diet now
that’s going to affect him for the rest of his life and he or she is going to have
a higher level of health later because he has a good foundation he started on. And just
like the plants you are growing from seed, or the tree whips, the trees that you’re
starting and planting out, it’s very important to provide them everything they need, all
the nutrients they need when they’re younger because when they’re stunted when they’re
younger, they’re not going to be as productive and as healthy when they’re older. And so that’s why they use this Transplant
Formula despite the high price, and I’m definitely going to look into this to see
if this can help me make my transplants healthier, whether I’m just going to put a transplant
formula with some of the other products that I already use because in all my transplant
mixes that I make, I put a lot of common products — the Azamite, the glacial rock dust, the
worm castings that I normally use anyways. It might just be an all-in-one product that
you don’t have to mix, but it might be something new and different that I’m going to look
into for sure. Alright, now we’re inside out of the hot heat and I want to share with
you guys some of the different books that they’ve learned how to garden because they’d
never really gardened before they bought the property and starting growing food here, and
they’ve learned as they grew. And that’s how I encourage you guys to do
it. And of course they learned from probably some of my videos, but they also have many
different books that they refer to to keep them on track, so one of the books they really
like a lot is “The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Ways”,
so I recommend the biological style of gardening and Michael Phillips the author here is primarily
an apple orchard grower, but the things he says in this book not only applies to apples
but also applies to other fruits. So they like this book a lot, probably their favorite
book for orchard growing. In addition, another one they like a lot, and this is having to
do with the vegetables, is the “The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient-Dense Food.” Now I’ve talked about nutrient-dense food
before, and many of you guys might now that I often claim that leafy greens are nutrient-dense
food and yes, leafy greens have more calcium than calories and more phytonutrients and
minerals just by nature, but when we’re using the term “nutrient-dense” here,
that means that the given kale leaf, for example, compared to a kale leaf from the store, kale
leaf grown here has more nutrients in it. So some of the studies I’ve seen is that
protein in a store-bought versus nutrient-dense leaf, there could be double the amount of
protein in the same leaf or the same green bean for example, just by having the proper
nutrients in the soil. So if you’re going to be taking the time
to dig three foot by three foot holes and to invest in bringing in soil and wood chips
and buying mail order trees and doing al this stuff, then you might as well do it to the
best of your ability to provide young guys the best food with the most nutrition so you
can eat half as much. Some of the other minerals in the food that are growing, the minerals
can be double as much as something store-bought, so you literally need half the food. You will
not need to eat as much food because it will have more nutrition in there in the same amount
of leaf. Plus of course nutrient-dense foods taste
better and these are just benefits for us, but the benefits go far behind us. The benefits
also go for the plants because the plants will be more disease-, bug-, pest-resistant
and more weather-resistant, especially here in Las Vegas, which is very important and
unfortunately there are not that many nutrient-dense growers here. So “The Intelligent Gardener”
is basically their guidebook to make it all happen. It has recipes and specifically what
to do, I give a lot of generalities in my show and frankly I haven’t read these books.
I’ve done a lot of research and I have my own way of things, which comply a lot with
these guidelines, but everybody’s going to garden their own way, and I don’t care
how you guys garden. I just share mine with you and I want to share
with you guys good resources in case you need a step-by-step guide, if you don’t just
like winging or doing it like I do, because I’ve done it for so long. And I definitely
think it’s helpful to read a book like this. Another book that they’ve bought is maybe
more technical for your tech heads out there. It’s called “The Ideal Soil: Handbook
for the New Agriculture” by Michael Astera with Agricola. So this one is basically from
SoilMinerals.com, and a lot more technical for those tech heads out there. Now some of
the things I wanted to show you guys was this guy, this guy’s a tubing bender. So you buy this tubing bender once, it takes
standard EMT conduit from Home Depot or Lowe’s to bend your own hoop houses or hoops for
your raised beds. This will save you a lot of money instead of buying it yourself because
the EMT conduit is actually quite expensive, so it’s definitely wroth investing in one
of these hoop house benders or hoop benders. Another thing I learned about here which is
very interesting today and I actually didn’t realize this earlier is they’ve got this
locally produced western organics gypsum product that comes in a bag and this is sample of
it and in this Western gypsum, basically what this company’s doing is they’re taking
the wallboard out of people’s houses, they’re recycling it, crushing it, putting it in a
bag, and selling it back to you. Now, I probably wouldn’t have a problem
with this if this was like 50 years ago when wallboard was really wallboard and made out
of real gypsum, but wallboard is coming from China with who knows what kind of chemicals
in there, and they’re taking this and powdering it back up and selling it back to you guys.
So you want to watch out if you’re buying gypsum that it’s not just recycled wallboard
that’s crushed up, because there’s pieces and fragments of paper in there and all this
kind of stuff. So what we’re going to do next in this episode
is we’re going to get an opportunity to talk to one of the gardeners here that made
all this happen. We’re going to ask her some of the things about gardening in Las
Vegas, what she’s learned, and some of the reasons why they’re growing in the fashion
they are, and also we’re going to share with you guys their garden blog website where
they share what they’re doing all the time here in the garden to get the results that
they’re showing, really cool articles, sharing a lot of different kinds of trees, they’re
sharing different techniques that they’re doing and hopefully they’re going to share
the amazing deals they’ve gotten on clippings and stuff because like me they’re good deal
hunters and they like a good deal as well. So now we’re here with April, the artistic
gardening, one of the gardeners that make this whole place happening. It’s her and
her husband, and we’re going to ask her a few questions. So the first question for
you April is why do you start growing all this food? This is a big job and many people
think you can’t grow in Vegas. APRIL: You can grow, trust me, I mean you
can see. But the reason why we started to grow was for health reasons. A couple years
ago, I got really, really sick. They couldn’t diagnose and totally gave up on conventional
medicine and went through an integrative doctor, and part of my health regimen was to eat more
produce, more greens, but at that time I could not eat raw or fresh greens, so I had to eat
it more in the form of soups. So we went to the local grocery store, got
our vegetables, and I did notice improvement in my health, but it wasn’t until we started
to grow our own, which was always our intention, but as my health got a little bit better,
a little bit better, stronger and I was able to get out into the garden and just started
really growing our own. And as soon as I started eating my own vegetables, the improvement
in my health was phenomenal. Grocery store produce compared to what we’re making? Huge
difference. And my progress in my health is just continued to get better and better the
more I eat from the garden. JOHN: Okay, we were talking about that a little
bit earlier. Nutrient-dense foods. You have to think about growing your garden doesn’t
automatically means it’s going to be more nutrient-dense than the produce from the store.
It depends on the practices you’re using. So April do you want to share some of the
gardening practices you do that specifically make healthier plants that have more nutrition
than store-bought or many other gardeners here in Vegas that may not be doing exactly
what you’re doing? APRIL: Sure, sure. I mean, my husband and
I truly believe in mineralizing your soil, and in the soil health, which is the microbes
and feeding those, which in turn feeds your plants. And just using no pesticides, no chemicals,
nothing that can harm the soil microbes and even our beneficials that we have with our
bees and stuff. So we’re very, very sensitive to them and what products we use and I had heard of the nutrient-dense
foods before, but just wasn’t really sure how to
quite take [cuts off]