Alright! This is John Kohler, from
! Today I have another exciting episode for you! And here we’re standing in suburbia,
and this is a very unlikely place to see a whole edible food forest garden with over
a hundred fifty (150) fruit trees on about a little over a third of an acre. Because,
you know, most other residences in this standard suburban tract home, you know, have like desert
landscaping with rocks and some even use a lot of water to keep their lawn green. And,
you know, whatever you guys want to do that’s cool. But I want to show you guys the best
way, the most sustainable way, to live is to grow your own food, no matter where you
are. And the house that I’m about to show you today proves it can be done wherever you
live. So we’re here in Phoenix, Arizona, and this
place is definitely a desert. It even gets warmer than Las Vegas, probably like by ten
(10) degrees hotter. So, you know, if I thought I had a hard time, they probably have a little
bit harder time here. Specially with the vegetables in the summer time. Although stealing some
of my tips from my play book they’re actually growing some vegetables really well. I’ll
be sure to share those with you guys also. And what we’ve got here is actually Jake
Mace’s place. And Jake here, on his property, this is his front yard, and his front yard
is actually quite small. And besides having over a hundred fifty different fruit trees,
one of the cool things is, i know a lot of you guys love tropical fruits, like the lychee,
the longan, the star fruit, papaya, the mango, avocados, and I could just go on , Surinam
cherries , jabuticabas. He’s got all these fruits growing here in Phoenix! So now you
guys don’t have to even move to Hawaii or the tropics, right, just move to Phoenix!
And you could grow those things, with a little asterix sign, because you know specially in
the winter if there is a cold winter, you will have to protect your plants. But they
will fruit here, as we will see on this little tour.
So, I guess without further ado, what I want to do is actually head into his front yard
and show a whole bunch of the different fruit trees he’s growing. I’m not going to be
able to go over and show you guys all hundred and fifty of them. But I’m going to show
you guys some of the highlights, and these are the ones that I want to encourage you
guys to plant if you guys live in Phoenix or other hot desert climates, like here you
know, that has you know that doesn’t get cold too cold in winter. That’s one of the
things that Jake’s got going for him. It gets really hot in the summer, and you know,
depending on the winter, it doesn’t get too cold. So that allows him to grow all these
awesome tropicals here in Phoenix, Arizona. So two of the existing fruit trees are already
here with these two big navel oranges , and you know it’s cool that Jake has these awesome
huge large navel oranges that produce a lot of fruit during the season. You know, that
wouldn’t be one of the things I would grow, because think about it, I want to encourage
you guys to grow things that cost a lot of money, right? Navel oranges are literally
a dime a dozen , or they used to be at some point. But even if in this day and age I’ve
seen , I don’t know, five/ six/ seven/ eight pounds for a dollar sometimes, in the season.
So that wouldn’t be the first thing I would grow.
The first thing I would grow is right next door. This is actually known as Moringa or
drumstick tree. You can see all these amazing seed pods growing off here. This also makes
flowers. So you could eat the immature drumsticks when they are very small, they’re a little
baby, and actually taste like asparagus. You could also harvest all these leafy greens,
right . And here’s the difference between growing a Moringa and growing like a Navel
orange that’s next door, right. The Navel orange, you’re going to have to wait for
this fruit to develop, to be green, to turn ripe, to drop off hopefully. And don’t pick
them before it drops off because it’s probably not as ripe as it could be and it’s going
to be acid. You know, and that’s what we’re really after for this tree, you know, I guess
you could use some leaves maybe for flavoring, but you wouldn’t consume a lot of those
leaves because they’re not good to eat. But with the Moringa, you don’t need to
wait for the drumsticks or the fruits of the tree, you just eat all these plentiful leaves.
And look, this tree has so many leaves. I know you guys might be buying lettuce or kale
or chard or spinach right? Why buy that stuff when you can grow your own Moringa and eat
Moringa instead, right? It’s going to save you a lot of money, because think about it,
greens in the store, like organic greens, a bunch of chard, a bunch of kale, right,
depending on where you live, $2.99 / $3.99 a bunch! And sometimes those bunches are like
six leaves, right? Oranges, they’re way cheaper. And the leafy greens they’re concentrated
with nutrition. So this is like, has more beta carotene than carrots, and you know,
yada yada yada, and it’s a lot more nutritious than like even Kale, the Moringa. So, this
is one of the plants that actually doesn’t do too well when it gets too cold. These are
two year old plants or trees here that you guys could see. Before, if it does frost,
Jake will actually just cut it down, take all the leaves, dehydrate them and powder
them up, and make super protein rich, amino acid rich, vitamin mineral rich, protein powder
, that he could then put in smoothies, and add to juices, take when he’s travelling,
so he could still eat some of the food he grew at home instead of having to buy stuff.
So I mean, there’s ways to be smart and actually utilize the produce you’re growing.
And that’s one of the things I like about Jake, and I’ll be sure to interview him
at the end of this episode, is that he actually grows this stuff, and he just doesn’t grow
it for show, he’s actually growing to eat! And that’s what I recommend you guys do.
That’s what I do, right. I grow my food to eat, not for show, not because gardening’s
my hobby. I want to be able to eat the best food, and I really appreciate that about Jake,
and I wish more people in this whole gardening movement ate more of this stuff instead of
like showing processed food recipes on how to make apple pie and all this kind of crazy
stuff. Why don’t you make recipes out of all the food you grow and show how you use
it, you know. Because that’s the greatest benefit of food you’re growing is to get
it in you , in your body, in your family’s body as well.
Anyway. Let’s go ahead and tour through some of these Moringa and see what else we
can find. Alright, so here’s some Moringa pods that are dried up. And I want to show
you guys these, I mean these Moringa trees were started with like little baby plants
that were started from seeds. And when your Moringa pods get too mature , right, – these
are the green ones you might be able to cook and eat ,when they’re younger you could
eat them fresh- but when they’re older, and you guys can see the color difference
on that, these are turning white, you literally just open this up. And look at that, this
is super cool, look at all these little seeds. These seeds are like winged seeds here. And
that’s what they look like. And down in Florida, at a place I visit called Echo, and
you want to check my video on Echo out, Echo, and actually they use the seeds to purify
water and do all kinds of crazy stuff. And actually, you could actually even eat the
seeds. Mmm. It’s like eating peanuts. Alright, so some of the other fruit trees
that Jake has planted here in the front yard, I mean, some of these guys are just six feet
apart, are this amazing fig tree here. And, you know, fig is another tree that you guys
should consider growing. I mean, have you guys priced figs lately in the store, like
organic figs? I had just seen them the other day, like $5 a little basketful. The basket
couldn’t have had more than five or six figs. That’s like a dollar a fig, man. So
this is definitely really worth growing. Let’s see if we can find a good one. This one’s
a little bit dry. Oh yeah, here’s one right here. Pick this baby off. And look at this.
Nothing better than fresh fig! I mean, I used to have Fig Newtons when I was a kid, and
fresh figs are way better than Fig Newtons. Look at how juicy and delicious that’s going
to be. It’s so good that the ants have already found it. So let me just blow them off. Mmm,
that’s one delicious fig! So the next tree I want to show you guys is
this one right here. This is actually called a loquat tree. And this is a tree that’s
going to do very well in this climate. This is an evergreen. So unlike some of the trees
like the Fig that lose their leaves in the winter, they keep their leaves. And I really
like trees that keep their leaves in the winter time. Because to me, I was not raised in,
you know, the Eastern United States with all the deciduous trees that lose their leaves
every year. I had grown up in California , where we always had green leaves on trees all year
long. So i really like the ones that keep their leaves. It just kind of makes it more
brighter and chipper in the winter time, instead of just looking all like, you know, just skeletons
of trees hanging out. So , this is a couple of years old now, and it even produced, I
think, earlier this year. And what else I want to show you guys, it’s really important
about this episode, is besides just all the trees that Jake is doing, he’s doing in
the most intelligent way possible. Because literally he’s feeding the trees the best
plant food for trees. And what is that? Miracle crop fertilizer? Is that the Azomite, it that
the Worm Gold Plus or Worm Castings? I mean, what, he uses those too, but in addition to
those, the best food for trees is other trees! So if you look down, his whole yard is basically
just mulched with the wood chips. And , you know, I know a lot of you guys might be doing
wood chip gardens, you know, and I’m not the biggest fan of wood chip in vegetable
gardening for some reasons. But wood chips on trees, you have to do it. If you have trees,
you must, must, must get some wood chips and put them down. Even here in Phoenix, where
it is an arid climate, it’s quite dry right? We can go right between the trees where he
doesn’t really water, it just gets the rain water, and we can go down here and dig. And
all we find is just more wood chips, right, they’re not breaking down. And this is not
necessarily a good thing, you know, it’s not a bad thing either. But I would want my
wood chips to break down. So if you live in a place where it rains all the time, it would
break down. Like in Hawaii, if you put all these wood chips down, it would break down
almost instantly into soil, right. So, in between, it’s not breaking down. But now
let’s go next to where the tree gets watered, right over here. We’re going to go ahead
and dig up, you know, near the base of the tree. And all I’ve got to do is go down
like, man, not even like three inches, and look at this. This is nice, rich and black,
and look at that! There’s worms in here. Here’s a worm right here. So the wood chips
are breaking down into this nice fungal dominated compost that’s literally feeding the trees.
And that truly is the best food for the trees is other trees. I mean, you ever go in to
the forest and walked in the forest? There’s no fertilizer pixies spring fertilizer doing
anything. The trees drop their leaves, you know, branches just fall, it breaks down and
then it gets basically returned to the earth. This is called nutrient cycling. And, you
know, while you could just take sticks of trees and put them underneath your trees,
specially in this climate they’re not going to break down that fast. So, you know, basically,
he gets free wood chips by tree trimmers that normally have to take and dump these at the
dumps and pay money to get rid of them. And he’s like, yeah come on over man, dump them
off for free. And he just takes and puts these around all his trees and all his open ground
to also conserve moisture. And that’s another reason why the wood chips are better besides
providing nutrients for the trees. They’re conserving moisture. And so, you know, he
didn’t always grow in this fashion before he started growing with the wood chips, right.
He had brown thumbs. But just by adding the wood chips, his thumbs turned green instantly.
You guys should sell that. Sell wood chips. They’re free! You guys just need to use
them. Alright, so, the next thing I want to show
you guys , another one for desert climates. Number one, my number one top pick, this is
one of my favorite fruits of all times. This is known as the Jujube fruit, also known as
the Chinese date. So you could see here, there’s some little small fruits starting to grow.
And if we go down here, these are like the fruits like candy harvested. And when they
are in this stage, like all yellow, you could harvest them. And you could eat them kind
of like crunchy like an apple. Maybe I’ll pull off one that’s kind of like ready here
and show you guys. It’s like crunchy like an apple. Mmm. That’s pretty good. I don’t
know if there’s any out here, but what happens is, they dry on the tree. So you can eat them
crunchy, but you can also let them dry on the tree. And when they dry on the tree, they
get to be like this , I don’t know like, Angel food cake like, spongy like consistency.
If you get them at the perfect stage then they’re quite sweet. This one’s still
not quite dry yet. But they’re one of my favorite, they actually are my favorite dried
fruit of all time, the Chinese dates. Now, be careful because these guys they root out
everywhere and they may become invasive. So you want to watch out. Don’t plant it near
your foundation or anywhere. I’m glad he actually planted it at the border of his property
so the roots could just spread out wherever they need to grow. Like on the property next
door with all the rocks. So while Jake specializes in growing fruit
trees, and does that very well, he definitely needs to take a few lessons for his vegetable
garden. You might think that there’s nothing growing here, but this guy is actually alive.
These are actually some native I’itoi onions that have been growing for over four hundred
years here in Arizona. This thing makes some amazing sweet chives to eat. It’s definitely
heat tolerant and does excellent in this climate. And we could just come over here and if we
look closely, we could see all the little onions that are just down below. And now you
guys could eat these, which are like a sweeter onions. You can also take these and replant
them. So I’m going to go ahead and take a few so I can plant them back in Vegas and
add them to my perennial onion bed. But, yeah, so you can see some of the vegetables.
Now, Jake has an extremely challenging time growing the vegetables through the heat of
the summer. So right now, it’s July, and you know 110 degree weather. It’s not looking
so well. Most of his vegetables, there’s a few that are actually doing exceptional,
I’ll be sure to share those with you guys. And in my opinion, and this is for one primary
reason right, he’s still hand watering, right. You can hand water, and I don’t care
if you guys do that or not with trees you can get away with it, because trees are a
lot more forgiving. But the vegetables, they really need their water, and if he goes on
vacation, like he just actually came back from Hawaii, you know. And the people were
supposed to come over and water, and they didn’t. Things aren’t going to make it.
So one of the top tips if you live in a desert environment, the first thing you do when you
set up your beds, besides securing the highest quality bed soil you can, is set up an irrigation
system. So I really hope Jake gets on this really soon so he can be more successful , and
be that showcase garden , you know, like he should be all year long, including in the
middle of the summer. Because I know you can grow in the middle of the summer. I do it
in Vegas. And it was like 110 just a couple weeks ago. And all my plants are doing, most
of my plants are doing amazing. Alright, so let’s see next what I want to
do for you guys is actually show you guys the backyard. Because that is really where
the magic happens. He’s got a lot of cool stuff in the front yard , but the back yard
it’s completely awesome. So we’re going to enter the backyard, and
he has of course a little swimming pool. And in the shade, if you want to get out of the
swimming pool and be in the shade and not be in the hot sun, which you could get sunburned
very fast. So I want to encourage you guys to you know wear a hat, use some sunscreen
if you’re out in the garden a lot. He has this, and so he built basically a little arbour
over this . And this is just plants that have grown earlier this year. And you guys can
see all the amazing vines that are growing up this. And what these are, these are the
passion fruits or the lilikoi. And all you have to do every morning is just come out
and look on the ground, or look on the table, because these guys would drop when they’re
completely ripe. And here’s one that’s ripe right here. This is an excellent crop
to grow here in Phoenix. Let’s go ahead and open that guy up. This is warmed by the
summer sun. And let’s see here, oh here’s the passion fruit right inside there really
juicy. Wow! That’s like passion fruit tea, it’s so warm, it’s been sitting in the
sun. Wow, it’s actually even not that bitter. It’s good.
But yeah I mean, he just comes out here and, you know, like harvests the fruits and eat
the food that his garden is producing. And once again I want to encourage you guys to
do that. And along the edges here, he has fruit trees
like every six feet. And this is actually also what I try to model. I try to plant fruit
trees a little closer than they would normally be planted to get maximum production. So he
has like a peach here, he has a native plant here that’s good for pollination, and then
he has like another fig tree here. And another ornamental here, this is probably like the
only ornamental on the property, but it’s used for growing like making essential oils.
And we’re going to go through this little trellis here. And I want to show you the best
part of Jake’s vegetable garden, which is in this section here. And , you know, this
is no surprise to me that it is doing really well. Because these are some of the crops
that I want to encourage you guys to grow during the hot heat of the summer. These are
some of the crops that I grow in Las Vegas myself. So, his eggplants, I mean if he just
didn’t do anything else but grow only eggplants, his vegetable garden in the summer time would
be awesome because they’re looking great. Of course, the basil, another crop that does
really great in the summer time. And, I mean, the number one crop Jake is growing better
than me in the summer is this guy right here. I’m thoroughly impressed. This is probably
like my favorite summer leafy green vegetable. This is known as the Egyptian Spinach or Molokheiya
, I can’t pronounce that right. But where I learned about this originally was actually
a health food trade show, and they were selling little tablets of this Molokheiya or the Egyptian
Spinach and trying to sell it to you in a little capsule because it’s like a super
food. And I thought to myself, but wait John why should I buy this in little capsule pills
when I could just go out and grow it myself and eat the fresh greens. Mmm. So I started
growing it man, and it’s one of the best crops to grow in the heat. Jake grew these
once and now every year they just re-seed on their own. He also has excess seeds. He
saves the seeds and distributes those to other people. Because this is the number one leafy
green, you know, annual vegetable you want to grow in the summer time during the heat.
You could pick this stuff, it’s so mild, it’s like this stuff is better than lettuce.
It’s more nutritious than lettuce, it doesn’t have a strong flavor like Kale, it’s just
really mild and nutritious, maybe a little bit tad mucilaginous, but you can’t really
even tell. And I mean, look at this, the bugs are not even touching this stuff. Easiest
thing to grow if you guys live in any desert kind of climate. You got to get these seeds,
trust me. So yeah, it’s doing amazing. Of course there’s the peppers, no surprise,
doing really well. Also, he’s also got, of course, different basils. And, you know,
this damn Egyptian spinach is growing as a weed everywhere! So yeah, I mean, an edible
weed is a good weed indeed. Alright, now I want to show you guys the most
exciting part of Jake’s backyard garden. Which is literally a tropical fruit forest
here! I mean, he’s got trees such as the Fig trees, and this right here is a star fruit
tree that’s made lots of star fruits. And this is a Mango right here. And if you guys
didn’t believe me that you could grow mangos in Phoenix, check out here this mango tree.
He has already eaten a bunch off this guy. There’s one that has actually dropped and
rotted on the ground. But here’s some ripe mangoes on the tree here in Phoenix. They’re
not quite ripe yet. But it can be done. Now I’m not going to say it’s easy, because
some of these fruit trees Jake actually will hand pollinate. So that’s a lot of work.
I prefer not to hand pollinate things, I’ve got better things to do with my time. But
he does and it’s working very well for him. Now besides the mango, which is probably the
number one favourite fruit in the world, one of the one’s I like a lot, and so does my
girlfriend, is this guy right here, this papaya tree. So this papaya tree is two years old.
The first year it didn’t really produce and he covered it during the winter, and he
thought he lost it. And then he took the cover off it, and it came back to life. This is
where it basically turned all brown and didn’t make it last winter, and then it grew. And
check it out, this year he will have some ripe papayas off of it. And I want to let
you guys know, I always want to encourage you guys to experiment and try things. Even
if somebody says, ‘oh you can’t grow papayas in Phoenix’, right, I want you guys to try
it. And yes, specially with some of the tropicals you will have to protect them in the winter
if it gets like, you know, near freezing or below. But Jake’s doing it, and I’m positive
that you can do it too with the right practices. And I will interview Jake at the end to share
some of his practices and tips with you, so that you guys can be as successful as he is.
So here’s some more of the tropical fruit trees Jake is growing. This is the sugar apple,
so it’s like the Atemoya or Cherimola, but different. He has Guava’s that are producing
fruit reliably for him. And another thing I want to talk about is his water feature.
So he has a nice little waterfall here, which is really cool. And then he has a lot of different
plants that are edible growing in the water, because it’s like this little river or stream
that kind of goes down. You’ve got this stuff called Yerba Mansa in there. He also
has got kind of like squashes all growing too. This may look like it’s just all solid,
but you could like step in there and you could like drown because it’s like it’s all
wet. Over here we’ve got another star fruit I believe. And here’s a zucchini plant.
Alright, so some more fruit trees here. He has a Sapodilla tree or Chico Supote, one
of my favourites, that he actually got fruit off of.
So the next fruit tree that I want to show you guys is right here. This is a Barbados
cherry. And this is probably my number one pick for Phoenix. It’s more cold tolerant
than some of the other tropicals I’ve shown you guys. And the amazing thing about this
tree is that from flower right here to fruit, it takes thirty days, and this produces continually
throughout the year taking a month off here or there. And I think there’s still a couple
of ripe fruits maybe if we could find them down here near the bottom. They’ve been
eaten by the birds or something. But this is what they are, the Barbados cherry. This
is very high in Vitamin C, probably one of the most highest Vitamin C fruits in the world.
Mmm. Nice mild flavor. I’ve tasted these before when they taste really not too good.
But grown here in the heat, and allowing them to fully ripen, they’re pretty amazing!
And so that’s another thing about growing our own food, right. When you grow your own
food, you determine when you’re going to harvest it, you determine the ripeness you
get them at. And Jake’s not picking these things when they’re a tad red, he’s waiting
till they are fully ripe. Because he knows that they have more nutrition, they have more
flavor, they have more sweetness, and that the plants have produced the full mature seeds
that he can now save and distribute to others or just plant and grow more for himself, you
know. If you harvest unripe fruits, the seeds are not ready, the fruits are not going to
be as good as they could. Alright, so the next thing I want to do is
I actually want to walk over to his little pond here. And his pond is an integral part
of his whole food forest, right. This pond here, you might think ‘John how could you
have a pond in Phoenix? It’s wasting water.’ Well, amazingly enough, I showed you guys
a lawn outside earlier, which is one of his neighbors, Jake’s pond here uses less water
than the neighbors. But in addition, besides just saving some water over a lawn, he’s
providing a habitat for the birds. Look, the dragonflies that are flying around, you know,
the bees have a source of water, and he rescues the fish. So all the fish that you guys see
swimming around, he didn’t buy one iota of any kind of fishes, right, they are all
gifted to him because you know he put an ad on Craig’s list like ‘ I will take your
fish that you no longer want’. People have Koi fish they just you know the kids went
away and the adults don’t want to take care of them, and they came here. Now this is like
a little animal sanctuary. And so what we’re going to do next is, ‘here fishy fishy fishy!’,
we’re going to feed the fish! And check it out, it’s really cool man, they’re
really colorful, it’s really cool having fish! Now the way Jake uses the fish for his
benefit, right, is not by eating them. You don’t want to eat the fish, they’re too
valuable to keep, right! Because what they’re doing is they’re part of the nutrient cycling
system, right. They’re eating the algae to keep this place a little bit cleaner, they’re
eating some of the fish food, that’s hopefully non GMO, and they’re pooping. So what he
does when he waters his trees is he uses the pond water that has the fish poop and the
fish pee that feeds his trees the nitrogen. So this is kind of like another form of aquaponics,
only they do aquaponics with like lettuces and all this kind of stuff. He’s just using
this water to water his trees. So now his trees get additional nutrients because of
his fish. And then Jake will eat the fruits instead of fish! And I think you guys should
do that too. Alright, so another fruit tree that Jake is
growing right here, which is you know you have to get if you live in Phoenix, is this
guy right here. This is an Avocado tree, right. So this avocado tree is newly planted, so
he put a thirty percent shade cloth on it to kind of, you know, protect it and let the
root system develop. Maybe next year he’ll probably take this stuff off. But look at
this, this is nice a bushy, and the amazing thing is, is that this is an Arizona native
Avocado tree. ‘John, I thought avocados were native to California?’ Well, not quite.
This one was found at a ranch, I don’t know, out in the, a hundred, couple hundred miles
from here, and just growing out in the desert and it produces avocados. And this is called
the Aravaipa avocado. And you know, this is a tree that if I lived in Phoenix I would
grow because it can take the climate here. And, I mean, avocados, I don’t know if you
guys priced avocados lately in the store. But sometimes avocados are like a dollar each.
You could get like whatever six oranges for a dollar but avocados are a dollar each. And
I love avocados, they’re so delicious, so rich. And, you know, these guys will produce
reliably here whereas many other varieties that you may try to grow in Phoenix, you know,
the Mexicola, the Hass, the Fuerte, you know may not reliably produce because that tree
was not naturalized in this arid climate. So I’m glad that Jake is being able to make
some of these available, through a partnership he has, to others, so that you guys could
also grow your own avocados. Once again, this is one of my top picks for growing here in
Phoenix or anywhere with similar climatic conditions.
So another amazing fruit tree that actually does quite well here is this guy right here.
Once again he’s a new plant so he’s underneath the shade cloth, thirty percent. This is one
of my favorite fruits in the tropical world anyway. This is known as the longan or dragon
eye. As you guys can see this guy, for being so small it’s just loaded up with fruit.
This is another one you will want to grow. Although you will have to protect this if
it gets too cold in the winter. Whereas the avocado, which I showed you guys, you don’t
have to protect because it’s naturalized for this climate. And, it’s amazing to me
that you can grow longans and they reliably produce here in Phoenix.
So next let’s go ahead and go to the other side of the yard, and I’ll show you guys
more of the fruit trees Jake’s growing and once again, this is all wood chips in. And
you know, near the back fence he probably has about like two feet of chips back there.
And it’s all over time breaking down. Specially right near the trunk, where he waters every
other day basically. You know, he has grapes, he’s growing things up trellises on the
side of his house to shade the house out. Here’s a carob tree. This is one of my favorite
honorary fruits. Carob is much healthier for you guys than chocolate and it will reliably
produce here in Phoenix. And this is a crop where you can actually store the carob pods
throughout the winter and eat them as you need them. Unlike fresh fruits that you’ve
got to eat before they go bad on you. So yeah carob tree, it’s amazing that he’s growing
it here. Let’s see what else we could find here at
Jake’s amazing fruit forest. Here’s another tree that does quite well. It’s actually
a pomegranate tree. Pomegranates do amazing in the desert and there’s like over two
hundred varieties of pomegranates that you guys can grow. And you know all of them will
do amazing in the desert. Now besides just growing the trees, he’s
also got other animals besides the fish that he’s taking care of here on the land. And
here’s the guy right here. This is an African Tortoise. He weighs almost as much as me.
He’s almost a hundred pounds. Actually I weigh quite a bit, a little more than a hundred
pounds. And the number one reason Jake doesn’t have any weeds in his garden here in the back
is because of this little guy. I mean, this little guy will see the weeds and anything
that he can reach and get, and he’s pretty short you know he can’t reach up too tall,
he’s going to eat. And so he mows down all the weeds like they’re nothing. Jake will
like basically rotate the tortoise like they rotate goats on different plots. So he’ll
take him out to the front yard, he’s already built a little fence around it, so he could
just, the tortoise could weed the front yard. And this guy loves the tree chards, specially
the tree chards grown in the rock dust. That’s one of the reason’s why this guy is so large
here. And yeah, it’s definitely pretty amazing that Jake has a pet tortoise that does all
his weeding instead of having something more common like goats.
Alright, so here is the home for the tortoise and, you know, this is not an enclosure because
the whole back yard is the enclosure. The back yard is the tortoise’s home. He has
a little home where he just burrows underneath there and he stays cool. And on top of that,
of course, Jake is making use of all available space to grow more food for himself. And what
we have up here is the dragon fruit cactus vine. So hopefully it will fruit pretty soon.
But it’s taken off and it’s grown pretty amazing so far.
In addition, Jake also has other animals. And I want to get into that right now. One
of which is a nice giant bunny that’s hibernating, once again, underneath the ground. And I think
this bunny is like twenty odd pounds, which is actually quite large for a bunny. And once
again, this is grown on rock dust. So I want to encourage you guys to use rock dust, which
will add trace minerals to your soil but also add the trace minerals to your plants, which
will allow them to grow bigger. And then when you eat them you might just grow bigger too!
So the next thing is Jake has a whole vegetable garden here. But I’m not really going to
get to show you guys that today because basically Jake is in the middle of getting it ready
to re-plant before the fall season that he does in August. So he doesn’t pretty much
have anything growing right now. And if you noticed, you know, one of the biggest pests
that Jake has for his vegetable garden, you know, is actually not the turtle, but he keeps
the turtle out here anyways, but it’s the birds. So, you know, I know a lot of you guys
might have birds or other vermin that get into your vegetable garden, and there’s
always a solution. And Jake’s solution is pretty much the easiest. It’s basically
just build an enclosure for your vegetables to keep them trapped or to keep the animals
out. So he basically has got all this bird netting and this two by four structure here.
And a nice arbour there that he puts the bird netting on. And then, on the corner he’s
just put two by fours up, he didn’t even frame it in. You know, you guys don’t have
to be super sophisticated and frame everything in. He just put these two by fours up , stuck
them in the ground, and he’s stapled the bird netting to it and he just runs the bird
netting all the way across. I mean, this is not too difficult to, you know, keep the birds
out, if that’s what you want to do. But you’ve just got to get out there, get some
bird netting and some two by fours and do it!
What you guys are seeing right now is basically a little apple orchard where Jake plants lots
of apple trees. And now I want to head over to the chickens, right. So the chickens that
Jake has are rescued chickens, right, they are given up by a family that no longer wanted
the chickens. So now Jake uses them for his benefit, right. And they’re all in there,
I think they’re trying to keep cool in the hot sun of the day. Here’s one of them eating
and drinking. And look at that guy! Would you guys want to like kill that guy and eat
him for dinner? Well, that’s what many Americans do, they eat chicken. But Jake would probably
never eat a chicken. So Jake uses these guys for the manure. He’ll feed them, you know,
vegetable scraps, some of the scraps that are not good for Jake to eat but he can feed
them to the chickens. So once again, he’s cycling more nutrients. He’ll put in wood
chips into the chicken pen and scoop those out on a regular basis along with the chicken
manure, allow it to compost down. And then guess what? Jake feeds his trees with it,
right. It’s really important to feed your trees the most natural way possible. And a
lot of organic gardeners, you know, they use chicken manure out of a bag. Why get it out
of a bag when you can have it yourself? Because let me tell you this, even organic chicken
manure fertilizer that’s sold as organic could be from animal agriculture, intensive
animal agriculture farms, and they feed their chickens genetically modified foods, you know,
antibiotics and chemicals and hormones, right. And these are not good waste products or fertilizers
that we want to use on our garden. So if you want to use manure, I recommend that you guys
absolutely make it yourself. That’s the best way. But really, as you guys have seen
in this episode, I mean, the main fertilizer Jake uses is the compost of trees. He feeds
trees to trees. And he also makes his own compost that I didn’t get to show you. I
mean, time’s getting thin, I showed you the majority of Jake’s garden. What I want
to do next is sit down with Jake and interview him about some of his trials and tribulations
and what he has learned over the years that he’s been growing here. And how he’s been
able to be so successful and even give tours here at his Phoenix home of having over a
hundred people in at one time to show this amazing tropical fruit orchard and vegetable
garden to teach others in the area how they can do it too.
Alright, so now we’re with Jake Mace, and he’s basically made this whole back yard
and front yard fruit orchard happen for you guys.
John: So, Jake, what was your motivation to put in, you know, all this? I mean it looks
like it was a lot of work, and probably still is.
Jake: Yes, but it’s like a hobby so it’s kind of fun work. And it’s a lot of work
up front I think. But as long as you enjoy eating the benefits of your work then you’ll
do all the hard work in the beginning and then every year that goes by I find it gets
easier and easier and cheaper and cheaper, and the soil gets better and better so the
plants get healthier and healthier. So , originally I wanted to save money on food because I’m
like the oldest of the millennial generation, and the economy crashed on me like underneath
my feet. So, I’m teaching a lot of martial arts and kung-fu and fitness classes, five
classes a day. I’m vegan since I was 19. So I’m constantly having to eat to put the
calories back in me for my active lifestyle. And my food budget was just over a thousand
bucks a month. So I figured, when I got this house, you know, if I grow the food myself
then it will decrease my food budget. And now in the fall and the spring season I can
grow easily over eighty percent of my diet here in my back yard.
John: That’s awesome. Man I want you to get up, do an eighty percent in the summer
time man Jake: yeah
John: Get some more vegetables in. Alright, so, anyway Jake, let’s talk about , so you’re
into martial arts and how does that relate to like gardening and growing your own food?
Jake: Well I think it’s almost the exact same thing. So not only the pursuit of martial
arts mastery, whether it’s karate or taekwondo or kung-fu or whatever, it’s all about,
you know, conditioning your body, your mind and your spirit all together. And so the food
you’re growing at home in your garden could help your martial art practice. But in the
martial arts we’re always trying to work on our self defence abilities against an attacker,
somebody who would try to hurt us or take our life. But in reality, the majority of
people are going to be attacked by cancer, heart attack, degenerative brain disease,
all these diseases that shouldn’t really be diseases like diabetes and gout and things
like that. So I think that growing your own food and eating it at your house, like the
Egyptian spinach, the Kale, and all that stuff, that’s the real self defence we all have
got to be practicing. Because that’s the self defence of your heart, of your organs,
of your blood. And then have the martial arts as a back up.
John: Yeah just in case shit hits the fan you’ve got to protect your food. They can
protect your health an your physical self. Jake: The Chinese like to compare yoga and
kung-fu and say you can reach enlightenment with kung-fu or with yoga but the thing about
kung-fu is that you know how to defend yourself against somebody who tries to push you off
your cushion. John: Awesome, Jake! So, tell me more about
the wood chips, right. Because you were telling me earlier that you had challenges gardening.
But then when you started using the wood chips like your thumbs instantly turned green. Can
my viewer’s thumbs turn green if they start using wood chips too for their trees?
Jake: What do you think? They got some cherry stains on them. No, seriously, overnight.
So the first two years I was trying to plant peach trees and pomegranates and figs and
I was having a lot of problems because when the summer would hit, the plant would droop.
So then I would water them. But I had to water them so much it would flush the nutrients
away from the root zone, and my water bill was super high for only like ten trees. So
I initially took the fence down back there and pulled a landscaping truck in like thirty
to fifty cubic yards per dump, and we started spreading the wood chips out, and I started
using mulch and wood chips around the trees root centre. And it was almost instant. My
water bill cut like easily five times cheaper. John: Wow
Jake: The explosion of growth in the tree was exponential. And the amount of fruit produced
was better. So in all areas, keeping the wood chips out of the dump, it’s free, it looks
nice, after it rains it smells like a forest. It brings the microbes and the bugs in to
help the tree and it eliminates the use of water. The wood chips.
John: Yeah I mean Jake: Wood chips, the wood chips.
John: Wood chips are amazing. Now Jake is using them for the trees. And I a hundred
percent advocate how Jake is using them for his trees, just on top of the ground, watering
them in and letting them break down. But I don’t necessarily recommend that for vegetables,
you know. How do you use your wood chips, Jake, with your vegetables? Do you like mix
them in to the dirt, put them on top and let them layer in, just compost over, and mix
them with your soil or what? Jake: No, I never do that. Because I think
that would put too much carbon initially into the soil. On my YouTube channel I’ve shown
a few videos where I kind of tuck the wood chips on the top of the soil around the plant,
like a “duvet”, like a covering, and I kind of put a little cover on the top of the
soil around each plant and what I noticed is that every time you water, as the season
moves on, the wood chips break down, the microbes explode, the bugs come in, the beneficial
bugs come in, and the plant needs less water and can actually grow healthier from the wood
chips being on top. So I encourage people to put the wood chips on top of the soil,
around the plant, in Phoenix because its so dry here. I think if you were in like Canada,
Washington, Georgia, it might be too wet for that, but I’ve had a lot of success with
wood chips on top. John: Yeah I mean I would totally advocate
putting wood chips on top using some kind of mulch if that’s what you want to do.
I tried to do like a living mulch, but after visiting Jake’s place and seeing how wood
chips work on his trees, I might try to do that with some of my vegetables. But then
the thing I would do is I would scrape them off at the end of the season if they didn’t
break down. Because I don’t want to mix those in with my soil because they may actually
suck nitrogen out of the soil. But the preferred way that I actually like to incorporate the
wood chips into my vegetable garden is by using hundred percent composted wood chips
into my garden beds. So I use the, basically the black cold composted wood chips once they
are composted down and add it to my garden. So one of the suggestions I gave for Jake,
besides putting it in automatic irrigation systems so that it will get watered, is to
actually just go around to some of these trees, because all underneath these trees it’s
like black gold soil, right, it’s working very well there. And the trees can handle
that. So I want him to like just dig up maybe a scoop out of every tree, some of that black
rich fungal dominated compost, and start adding that slowly into his vegetable beds. And I
believe and almost know that that will make a difference, and you know, increase the soil
fertility for his vegetables, you know, like they are doing for his fruit trees.
Jake: You know one of my favorite gardens in the world, besides your garden, is the
San Francisco botanical gardens. And I went there just a few months ago, I know you have
roots and segments there too. And that place uses so many wood chips. And those must be
some of the most intelligent gardens in the world, right? The San Francisco botanical
garden? I don’t know. But the amount of wood chips they were bringing in there was
just mind blowing. They had wood chips everywhere. And every time I stopped and scooped under
the wood chips, at the botanical gardens San Francisco, there were just tons of worms.
So if they’re doing it then I’m doing it.
John: Yeah I mean Jake has worms here even in Phoenix. And in San Francisco, I mean,
I grew up there, I would ride my bicycle to school every day and my hair would be dripping.
Not because it was raining but because it’s so humid there and it’s just so liquid.
So that means that the wood chips are going to break down faster and turn into soil faster.
Whereas Jake has a little more challenging time getting the wood chips to break down
just in the open area, but where he’s watering that’s where it breaks down. Now I wouldn’t
necessarily recommend wasting water to water in between the beds you know to break your
wood chips down. That will happen over time, when nature calls and nature has to pee, and
it pisses everywhere on us. Jake: Come on sooner pee.
John: Come on sooner, clean pee. Alright, Jake, so the next thing I want to talk to
you is about, you know, your animals on your farm here. And we’ve got the fish behind
us, you guys saw the tortoise, you’ve got cats and dogs and rabbits and chickens. I
mean, what’s your opinion of animals in you know using them in a system like this?
How do you use them and what are your thoughts? Jake: Well, so each one has individual jobs.
Just like I have a job, they have a job, they don’t even know it. And I don’t like using
animals, but we give them a good life and they’re like, I don’t have any kids so
those are my kids, my animals. But they also do labor, you know, like the tortoise eats
the grass and the weeds, the chickens eat scorpions and bad bugs and produce chicken
manure. The rabbit is like soft and cuddly but he also will eat all my scraps that have
gone bad in my garden, my leafy stuff or carrots that have gone bad, and then he poops out
manure that I can use. My dogs are security. Somebody tried to break in one night and steal
my chickens, my dogs barked them away. And my cats I’m still trying to figure out.
They’re kind of like, I think I’m kind of like on their turf, so to speak. But here’s
the thing for me, like when I was 19 I was vegan, I’m 33 now, so 14 years of plant
based lifestyle. And at first I did it just for health benefits, because I had some fitness
and martial arts teachers who were vegan. And they were strong. And I was like I want
to be strong like them, let’s eat plants. But as I started going to seminars and learning
about it, I am 33, I can no longer separate my life and my gift of life from their life
and their gift of life. So who am I to slaughter a cow or a pig or a chicken? How egotistical
of me would that be for food, when I can eat the Egyptian spinach and have the same quality
of healthy life? And I still have John: greater
Jake: a greater quality, because I’m not going to die of the same diseases like a heavy
meat diet person might. And I still do everything else, I go to Chipotle like everybody else,
I just have a bean burrito with salsa and guacamole. I eat out of my garden and I’ll
eat raw out of my garden or I’ll also cook sometimes. And I make mostly epic salads.
And when you eat a salad from my garden, it’s so nutrient dense that you’re going to be
completely full. And then I might have some fresh banana frozen ice cream as a dessert
or something. So, you know, I still, my quality of life is the same if not higher than it’s
ever been, yet no animals have to die to feed this body. So I think it’s a, in my opinion,
I think it’s the best way to live. I think it’s a pretty compassionate way to live.
And as a martial artist, all I do all day is practice how to kill people very quickly,
you know. And it’s the same with the Shaolin monks in China, they were Buddhist monks who
practiced the art of martial arts. How can you do that when you are Buddhist, you know?
But they were trying to show strength in their peacefulness, and trying to show that in order
to be a leader you have to also be a follower and let the animals live equal to you. So
I’m trying to do the same kind of thing and let the animals that come to my house
be adopted and saved, give them a quality of life that I think it better than anybody
else has got, and at the same time live alongside them as a plant eater. And I can probably
do more push ups than you can on kumquats, oranges and kale.
John: Awesome, Jake! So, I know a lot of my viewers out there are not really familiar
with a vegan or plant based diet and they just think where do you get your protein and
can you be strong on a plant based diet? You want to give us a demonstration real quick
of your sheer strength and power on a plant based diet for this many years, right now
right here? Jake: Let’s arm wrestle right now. Let’s
go for it. John: Ah
Jake: No, there’s some moves you guys could do. I would say right now, I say stop what
you’re doing right now and try this instead. Get your hands in front and just kind of like
hold your legs off the ground, and just hold the peacock position. So in yoga this is common
but we also do this in Qigong systems in Chinese kung-fu. So, things like that in 14 years
of plants. And I don’t know about you, but I think this guy looks pretty good. I’m
a straight guy but he looks pretty good, and I mean, look at his skin and health. I meet
a lot of people who are healthy in terms of fitness and athleticism, but their diet’s
crap. You can see the health in this guys eyes and skin. So I think that even if you
can’t hold a pose like that, you know, you’ll show health in other ways with a plant based
lifestyle. John: Yeah, I mean, a lot of the research
that I’ve done shows that you’re going to have lesser chance of getting disease,
in addition you’re going to age much slower, right. So you’re going to keep your health
and vitality for longer and it’s never too late! I want you guys to know even if you’re
60, 70, whatever age you are, the more plants you eat now, the healthier you’re going
to be in the future. And, you know, in my opinion, the less disease you’ll have in
the future. But you got to get off the processed food, even if it’s processed plant foods,
I do not advocate that, I advocate a whole food plant strong diet. So eat as many plants
as you can. If you still want to eat your chicken and meat, I’m not one of those extremist
vegan people that say you’ve got to just not eat any of that stuff. Eat very little,
minimize that stuff, it’s not healthy for you. You can make it on plants. You know there’s
more protein per calorie in the Egyptian spinach than even in things like chicken, fish, eggs,
cows, pork, whatever. Jake: And I want to read the comments in this
video, so if people want to try and troll this, these facts, I’ll respond to some
comments and I’ll argue with them a little bit. Because think about the biggest and strongest
animals in the planet, like gorillas and elephants, eat plants all day. And human beings are constantly
trying to be as powerful and strong as the ox by eating meat, forgetting that the ox
eats grass. So I would ponder that for a while, and put your response in the YouTube comments
and I’ll come in and chat with you a little bit down below.
John: Yeah, I mean, Jake has a number of channels. Even more channels than I have actually. Jake,
what are your YouTube channels and how could somebody get a hold of you if they want to
learn more? Jake: I would say go to . That’s
my website and you can see my channels there. But my main martial art channel is
and my main gardening channel is the vegan athletes. So go to
and check out our videos. But listen, I mean, I try to include a lot of healthy diet in
the Shaolin Center YouTube channel for the martial arts people, like a hundred and seventy
thousand followers. Not as many as you, but the gardening channel I’m starting is just
a, you know, a few thousand. And we have about a hundred or two hundred videos there for
gardening. But this guy is one of my inspirations. So there’s a quote that I often like to
tell people that whatever you’re doing in life, for work or goals or relationships or
money or whatever, you want to train so hard that you’re idols become your rivals. And
when I first got involved in gardening, the only guy I wanted to listen to was John Kohler
with and I watched all your videos, I watched like your entire San
Francisco house building from the beginning. I like noted it down every night, I didn’t
know how to garden. So seriously, my mom inspired me to garden because she was into gardening
in Canada. So I had a little bit of gardening inspiration from her. But I had no idea how
to garden. And since I was on YouTube for martial arts, I turned to YouTube and I just
would watch, I wasted about, you know, years of
John: wasted?! Jake: years of my life watching the videos
John: wasted?! It’s an investment! Jake: I said it with a complimentary wasted.
But I seriously watched all of your videos. And then I would go out and practice what
I saw on the video immediately in my yard. To the point where I even built an arbor just
like yours. John: Yeah, pretty cool
Jake: Stuff like that. So I think that I want to say that I have a few people that have
inspired me in my life, like Jack Lalanne is I think one of the people that inspires
me, and John Kohler as well. So people often say to me in the comments below the video,
‘don’t ever stop making videos’, because they like our videos for karate and martial
arts. So I feel that way for you. John: Thanks
Jake: Don’t die, don’t change, or change in a good way, and don’t stop making videos.
Because to this day, I get inspired, educated, and I want to go garden more when I watch
your videos. Thanks so much. And thanks for coming in to my house. It’s great to have
you. John: Thanks for having me. You know, I hope
you guys enjoyed this episode. I really love coming to Jake’s place and seeing what I
have played at least a small part in. To see somebody else growing food and thriving eating
plants. Because it’s so important in this day and age when we’re getting all these
genetically modified foods and foods grown in low quality industrial agriculture. And
what I want to do next is actually something I’ve never done before.
Jake: This is my gift to John Kohler John: You guys saw earlier in the episode
we had the Moringa tree. This is one hundred percent Moringa leaf juice. So I don’t know
that I’d recommend this for you guys until you guys can see that I don’t puke this
up afterwards. This is a very thick mixture. If you guys saw the episode where I actually
juiced okra, this maybe not quite as thick as okra but it’s pretty doggone thick.
Jake: Is there any cannabis in this ? John: No, no cannabis, so this will not get
you high. Alright then, we’re going to shoot this up. To health. Mmm.
Jake: If you can get it down, it’s like jello.
John: yeah Jake: What do you think? It tastes like Moringa?
Actually not as bad as I thought. John: It kind of reminds you like of chocolate.
And it’s kind of like, kind of like tingling inside right now.
Jake: Maybe the rose cannabis is mixed inside John: Well, my head’s kind of like tingling
Jake: This is like the consistency of a pudding John: Yeah it’s almost like pudding, it’s
not super thick, it’s not super thin. Actually I like it more than wheatgrass juice.
Jake: Do you think, nutritionally, wheat grass or this has more nutrition ?
John: You know, I don’t like to say, Jake, any one thing is better than the other. It’s
all complimentary, right. And I would like to do wheatgrass and this, you know. I want
to encourage you guys out there to rotate your diet. I mean, that’s why we have the
seasons. Different fruits are in season at different times, and you’re always changing
up what you’re eating. You’re not always eating apples because they are not always
in season. You could have some wheatgrass, you could have some Moringa, you could have
some tree chards, you could have some Egyptian spinach, you know. I want to encourage you
guys to eat a wide variety of food because every different food has a whole different
plethora of phytochemicals, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, that are going to keep
you healthy, young and more importantly, strong. Like Jake and I. Alright Jake, any last words
to share with my viewers before we sign off? Jake: You know, I think that YouTube is the
most democratic thing out there now. Because I think if you put out good information like
you’ve been putting out and you get people to watch, and I think that your information’s
solid more than anybody else. You often say, like an a b c, a better ,
John: a good, better, best Jake: A good, better, best plan. And you’re
the best. You know what I mean? But there’s one video that I have that I love of yours.
If you search on YouTube for John Kohler Portland Oregon wood chip garden
John: yeah, yeah Jake: That was my favorite video of yours
to this day. Where they have this huge dinosaur kale. And that really inspired me to do the
wood chips. I got a truck of wood chips that week.
John: Wow Jake: So I would say, in passing, when you
guys garden and you eat out of your garden, you will eat more healthy stuff because you
grew it and your kids might grow it and you want to eat it, you don’t want to waste
it. Plus it will teach you about the earth. You’ll start to understand the seasons better.
And you’ll start to understand how the life cycle of living beings on planet earth work.
And I think that the more I garden, the less I’m afraid to die, because I realize it’s
all part of the great circle. And so, I think, ponder that for a while, try the yoga pose,
drink some Moringa shot and watch John Kohler’s videos or my videos or whatever. But I really
appreciate you coming out to Phoenix and checking out our garden. So thank you.
John: Alright, Jake, thanks for having me once again, man. Hope you guys enjoyed this
episode. If you enjoyed it hey please give me a thumbs up to let me know. I’ll try
to get out and do some more videos with Jake. He’s got a lot more stuff that I couldn’t
even go over in this episode that I did not have the time for today. But hopefully I’ll
get back here in the future. Also be sure to check out Jake’s website. He does give
tours of his garden, he does give classes and all this kind of stuff, you know. If you
live here in Phoenix or the surrounding areas, I would highly encourage you guys to check
him out. He’s definitely doing the right stuff on the right path and he’s awesome.
So anyways, I’ll also put links down below to his website and his YouTube channel having
to do with gardening. So that you guys could grow more effectively in Phoenix, other hot
desert climates, no matter where you live. Also be sure to subscribe to me if you’re
not already, I’m coming with new videos all the time, and be sure to check my past
episodes. Like that episode that Jake mentioned on super size your garden with wood chips
and rock dust. That episode I did in Portland, that was motivating to me, and still motivates
me to this day, because still my dinosaur kale is not that big and I’m still on this
whole learning and growing process, just as you guys are as well. So, once again, my name
is John Kohler with . We’ll see you next time and until then,
remember, keep on growing!