This is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com
! Today we have another exciting episode for you. We’re here on yet another field trip,
and all the way in Houston, Texas. So, hey, howdy, a big Texas hi to all my Texas growers
out there! This is going to be a very exciting episode for me and hopefully for you guys
too. Why I am here today in a suburb of Houston is to actually share a company with you that’s
doing amazing work. And as you can see we’re in suburbia, you know, there’s all these
lawns, you know, a lot of chemicals and water goes in to keeping your lawns green and they
pretty much play no functional purpose. I mean, yeah they look nice and I don’t even
see kids playing on any of the lawns. But what we’re going to do today is we’re
going to actually interview a company called Houston Urban Farm Co, and that’s at www.houstonurbanfarmco.com
. And Jacob, what he does is he’s wanting to change all that. What his company does
is his company installs a raised bed gardens, 4 foot by 4 foot, 4 foot by 8 foot, 4 foot
by 12 foot, or however large you want it. He’ll come in and install the garden for
you, bring in the soil, build it and even plant it out in seeds or the starter plants.
In addition, he also does edible landscaping for your front yard. So, today actually they’re
just arrived and are going to install, so we’re going to actually film them on their
install to share with you guys what they do and how they do it.
Another reason why I think this episode can be so important is because, you know, one
of the things I think about is that Americans need to create their own jobs. We can’t
worry about, you know, other people creating jobs for us, you know, whoever it may be,
you know. I like, you know, I’m an entrepreneur at heart and when there’s a need you need
to fill it. So, you know, the need that Jacob is filling in the greater Houston area is
allowing people that wouldn’t normally plant a garden to basically he comes in, builds
it all, does it all for you, and all you got to do is come out there and water it and harvest
the food. So, I think there’s no better joy then picking your own food and eating
out of your garden. And he makes it happen. And just likewise, you can start a similar
business in your city to help other people grow their food. Whether you want to do an
install for them, or whether you want to do an install and then, you know, come back every
month or every week and check up on it, you know, have a maintenance program where they’re
paying you to come back. I mean, you’re literally creating your own job and you could
just further expand this into starting your own seedlings and then selling the seedlings
to them and all this stuff. So we’re going to get to talk to Jacob at the end of this
video to, you know, learn more about what he’s doing, how he’s doing it and how
he’s going to build his business and how you can build the business and create your
own job by helping people grow their food. John: Alright, Jacob!
Jacob: Howdy ! John: Come on out. Now we’re here with Jacob,
an urban farmer. And Jacob, why are you here today?
Jacob: Well, we’re here installing a 4 by 4 raised bed garden in the back yard of this
suburban house. John: Alright, great. And so why did you get
into installing these raised bed gardens for people?
Jacob: It initially started as just a hobby of mine, just like most gardeners, I just
kind of put a couple in my back yard and then started reading a little bit more and, you
know, just kind of reaching out to people, started installing for friends. And then I
realised, you know, oh I could actually get paid to do this. And then also spread gardens
all over the Houston area. And so, that’s kind of the initial get go on why I started
it. John: Wow, that’s great. So, so you’re
going to install a raised bed garden in here, so what are the steps you have to go through
to, you know, put it in and, you know, how long is this going to take?
Jacob: Generally with me and my co-worker, it takes us about an hour to install a garden.
And with that we have, we start with the, you know, we have our rough cedar wood that
we use. So we’re going to construct a box. We choose a place in the backyard where the
sun path is good, and then we throw in our soil and we also have our weed block already
set. And then we plant the seeds and line out the square foot garden and then we introduce
the customer to gardening. John: Wow, that’s very great. So we’re
going to get to show you guys actually part of the process today on what Jacob goes through
to do an install. So hopefully whether you’re doing your own install or want to hire Jacob
if you’re in the Houston area, or even start your own business to do installs in your neck
of the woods so that more people could get growing.
So I went back and saw the back yard where the raised bed is to be installed. And now
we’re going to have Jacob actually go over with you the materials he’s using to build
the raised bed. I mean, it is, this is very simple. So, Jacob, what material are you using
today to build the raised bed with? Jacob: Alright, well, first of all the frame
is made. We use 6inch deep, 2 inch thick rough cedar. The rough cedar is prime choice because
of its longevity. Out of this you’re going to get, you know, five to seven years, maybe
even more. And plus it’s just a natural deterrent for a lot of wood destroying insects.
Plus it also looks cool. I mean, a lot of the rough cedar has cool little knots in it,
so you know, I like seeing vegetables grow but also like to see, you know, that it is
planted in something real nice. What we do is we buy it in 8 foot length. Again it’s
2 by 6, we buy it in 8 foot length and then we cut that 8 foot length in half. Most of
the gardens we install are 4 by 4s. And again, we use the square foot gardening method so
we’re able to plant sixteen different plants, right, there. So that’s the frame. Another
important piece is how you’re going to hold that frame together. A lot of just normal
house screws aren’t going to work. What you need to have is a good decking screw.
For putting it together we use 3 inch decking screw, they’re brown screws, and they’re
not going to rust and they’re going to last a long time as well. And then, that’s as
far as constructing the frame, it’s that’s simple. I mean, it really is a very easy thing
to do. John: So Jacob, so why do you use the rough
cut versus the pre cut, so like that must be kind of hard to find, like you can’t
just find that in your standard Home Depot, right?
Jacob: That’s a good point. You actually can find it at Home Depot and at Lowe’s
a lot of the times and there’s very few of those stores that it’s actually in. Most
times we get it from a lumber yard, because they always, almost always, have it in stock.
However there are a few, especially if you’re here across the Houston area, Home Depots
and Lowe’s that both carry 2 by 6, 2 by 8, 2 by 10 and they carry them in 8 foot lengths,
10 foot lengths and 12 foot lengths. So you can find it. And I prefer to use this first,
they’re more smooth. Because a lot of places will have the 1 inch, but I want it to last
a really long time. That stuff is still rated for a really long time but I just like the
look more than anything with this rough cedar. John: Yeah, I would definitely agree. The
rough cedar, the rough cut is the way to go. It’s also thicker and it just has a nice
rustic finish. So you’re actually getting more wood that’s going to last a lot longer.
So, have you ever had any customers that requested like using something else besides like real
cedar wood? Jacob: No, I haven’t had any requests, anything
different. As far as, you know, how I would receive those requests I’m not too sure
because I’m very confident in this style cut right there. I know there’s some other
stuff out there. I might have even seen it on a certain video somewhere talking about
another company out of the North West, out of Oregon, with some other type of wood. But
as far as availability, this is the good one to go, and I will do what I can to educate
the customer so they do choose the rough cedar verses anything else.
John: How about using like something like pressure treated wood?
Jacob: I don’t use any pressure treated wood. I want everything as natural as possible.
There’s a lot of theories out there that, you know, as the chemicals can leak out into
the garden themselves and affect your plants. A big ideal of mine is I want my food as natural
as possible. And so going with the rough cedar, you’re completely untreated, it’s as natural
as you can get. And so, yeah, I highly recommend it against any pressure treated, anything
that a chemicals in and then enclosed to. John: I would totally agree with that. So
I think, yeah the cedar wood is good, or red wood or like even like a juniper wood, which
is I think the video you were talking about. Jacob: Yeah
John: Alright, so the next step is we’re going to carry some of this into the back,
the wood, the screws and then the lock he put over this drill. And we’re going to
build this thing and then we’re going to fill it up.
Alright, so Jacob shovelling the soil mix, the soil blend that he’s going to be using,
in the wheelbarrow to wheelbarrow it back in. Before I talk to him, because I don’t
want to disturb him, he’s busy concentrating on work, the question I’ve got for you guys
is how do you guys know that you’re in Texas? Well, besides the Texas license plates, you’re
going to see stars, you’re going to see eagles and flags everywhere! Yeeha!
Alright, Jacob, so what are you filling in the wheelbarrow here?
Jacob: Alright, so this is a high quality soil. It has a mixture of between, it has
a lot of different stuff in it. It has little bit of compost, grain sand, and just it has
about eleven different items put in to this, which is key to having a good long standing
garden, you know. You got to start off with a, your base has to be right from the get
go, and if we are to have a very successful garden. And so we always choose a real high
quality soil to start off our customer’s gardens with.
John: Wow, and I just want to agree with Jacob on that point. Like the number one place you
want to put your money, whether you’re building a garden for somebody or if it’s in your
own yard, is your soil. Because the plants you’re growing come from the soil, and if
your soil is depleted, the soil doesn’t have any nutrition in there to feed your plants,
your plants are not going to grow up healthy wealthy and strong. Well, I don’t know about
the wealthy part. But at least they’ll be very nutritious for you to eat and they’ll
taste better too. So Jacob, I’m sure if someone like hears
that live in Houston that aren’t going to utilise your service want to know what this
special mix is, because I would definitely approve it and use this mix in my garden
Jacob: Yeah, well this comes from a company here in the Houston area called The Ground
Up. They have three different locations over the Houston area. And this particular mix
is called ‘Raised bed and square foot gardening soil’. Therefore it is formulated just for
what we do. And it has, you know, vermiculite, it has it all in it. So yeah, The Ground Up,
I think it’s thegroundup.com , you could look it up.
John: Great, so the point I want you guys to remember is not to short change yourself
or if you get into business installing the gardens, don’t short change your customers.
Because, you know, by using the right stuff, and yes it will cost more, you’re going
to get better growing results in the end. I think we’re going to go ahead and wheel
this to the back, fill the raised bed and then we’ll come back out here when Jacob’s
going to be seeding it out and we’ll talk more about the seeds that he’s using today.
Now we’re in the back yard and Jacob and his posse, or his one helper here, got this
raised bed built and filled within about 45 minutes. And they even put the string on.
You got to have the string as the touch, once again they use that those same deck screws
that are treated with some standard garden string. I might use nylon that’s going to
last longer, this will probably last at least a season. And you could compost this stuff.
This is actually made up of jute fibre I believe. And they’ve put on the little squares too
to make it look nice and finished. And I encourage you guys to put the string on, so that you
guys could easier lay out the square foot garden.
So Jacob, I wanted to ask you, I mean, you chose this side but you’re telling me later
that the reason why you chose this side is because of a special tool you have. What is
that special tool and how can my viewers get one of these?
Jacob: Alright, it’s real high tech. I have an iphone and on that I have an app called
Sun Surveyor. And the Sun Surveyor, there’s an optional on it, it’s called A R View.
And what it does it allows me to look up in the sky, first of all I get to select my location,
it just automatically detects it, and then I find the sun and I trace the sun’s path.
And it will show you exactly where the sun is going and that’s really how I use it
to check where I want to plant the garden. John: Wow. So in this way he’s ensuring
that his customers are going to have the optimal sunlight and then they’re going to be optimal
production. I mean, that’s why they’re hiring him for vegetables to do this. And
once again, whether you guys are growing a garden for your own personal use or going
out and building someone’s garden for them, you want to use an app like that to find the
optimal location to get the most sunlight. Because more sunlight means more growth, more
growth means more food to put on your table, instead of coming from the grocery store.
So, Jacob, besides you know, building the bed, filling it up, putting the string on
and all this stuff, you give the customer the selection of different seeds. I see you
have a full myriad of seeds there. Do you know how many different varieties of seeds
you have in there? Jacob: No. I probably have, probably about
30, 30 different ones. Some are yet to come out because that part of the season’s already
over. But, and then I’m about to add some more because we have a new season kind of
approach, and not really a season but some more availabilities, some more hybrids that
we can plant now. John: Wow. So I even see you have like some
Seeds of Change. Do you prefer like, you know, organic or heirloom or hybrid seeds or any
of those? Jacob: Yeah, I prefer personally have chosen
to go with Seeds of Change. They, first of all, their availability for us as a company,
they have a large stock, so I’m able to get that a lot. I prefer to grow things that
are USDA certified which Seeds of Change are. And yeah so I mean that’s really, most of
the company is built off of my personal preference, but because I’ve already researched it and
decided what would be good for my customers. I’ve never had any problems with these seeds.
They’ve always grown. And they always have made me happy so far.
John: So I can see this customer today they chose a bunch of cucumbers and beans, peppers.
And you know, do you plant whatever they want to plant or what if there is something that
like might not do well at this time. Because we are here in March, and you know, some people
might be saying isn’t like starting tomatoes from seed right now kind of like too late
maybe? Jacob: Right. It’s not too late at this
time. We’re getting on the cusp of it. The only things that we plant are things that
will grow in the season. There is a great resource here in the Houston area. It’s
a Texas agricultural extension of this, and they have a great calendar, planting calendar,
for the greater Houston area. Because our area is so different than, you know, most
of the other regions, and so I use that calendar to give me an idea of what can be planted.
The last thing I want to do is plant something in someone’s garden and it either tastes
bitter or it doesn’t grow or it grows for a second and then it dies. So we only plant
things based on what could be planted at that time. Some of this stuff, you know, we go
up until the edge, until the last, you know, week or so and then we cut it off, we take
it off our site. If a customer’s already ordered a garden with that in there, we tell
them when we get there, ‘sorry, you can plant it if you want, but it’s not going
to you’re not going to get the benefit from it that you want’.
John: Wow. Yeah, so once again I recommend if you guys are going to either plant your
garden or put one in for somebody, do your research. Many cities and states around the
country have extension offices that have these kind of pamphlets and brochures letting you
guys know when to plant what things or not. And if you’re not sure and you can’t find
that information near you, ask other gardeners or join a gardening club. Ask others farmers
because they sure as heck know what to plant, when to plant, because they’ve been doing
it for so long. Another thing I noticed you’re doing here
Jacob is you’re very methodical in not only building the bed, it’s really squared off
nicely, this is a really professional installation here, it’s built up with some good quality
soil, I can tell you’ve done all your research and that’s what your customers are paying
for, you know, why did you choose to go with the square foot gardening system by Mel Bartholomew?
Jacob: Sure. Seeing how we work in urban environments, we need to get as much production as possible
in the smallest space. You know, whenever we’re out in the suburbs it’s, you know,
families have their kids they still need all their greenery and their grass and their back
yard. And their entire back yard can’t be taken up by plants, fruits and vegetables.
And so that’s why I initially started doing it. I grew up on a farm and I had 25 acres,
I could plant stuff all over the place. But once I got my new my 7500 square foot lot,
I realised I can’t do that. I need a smaller area to do it. And I still want a lot of stuff.
So that’s why I have chosen the square foot gardening. More production in a smaller space.
That’s what it comes down to and that’s what my customers need as well.
John: So here’s the end of the job, as you can see we’ve got a nice built raised bed.
I mean, this is growing you greens John Kohler approved, soil mixture is good, planted some
good seeds and got it delved in and the thing I’m amazed the most is that the team whipped
it out here in under an hour. They got this all installed, ready to go and now they’re
off to their next job. I mean, how many of these did you install on Monday?
Jacob: Seven. Seven on Monday. John: Wow. So seven more families in the US
are growing food because of this man. Hopefully seven more families are going to grow food
after this video. But Jacob, you know, is it really that difficult
to install a raised bed like you do? You make it look so simple, under an hour, I mean,
you know, some people might take a full weekend. But see a lot of what people are seeing is
that you’ve done a lot of the research and legwork. You’ve picked up the compost already,
you had the wood pre-cut, you had your batteries charged in your milwaukee , you know, I mean
, you’re just, you had the right seeds, you know the spacing, you never had to look
it up. So I mean, is it really that hard and , you know, do you encourage people to do
it themselves instead of hire you? Jacob: Yeah of course. I mean, you hire us
so you don’t have to sweat on an actual construction. You don’t have to go out,
like you said, get the stuff. I mean, we come prepared, we do it under an hour, but do it
yourself. I mean, it’s not hard work as long as you know exactly what you’re doing.
You know, like he said do your research, everything like that. I mean, this is it’s a 4 by 4
box or whatever size you want to make it. You put some good stuff in it and plant the
seeds and you water it. That’s about as simple as you can get. And so, yeah, I mean,
of course, hire Houston Urban Farm Co, but do it yourself. I mean, it’s simple.
John: Yeah, and you know, once again one of the reasons besides showing you guys how simple
this is today, and also get a plug in for Houston Urban Farm Co, if you live in the
greater Houston area and you don’t want to sweat in the sun. I mean, I think, ughh
I’m sweating right here man, it’s just nice and hot here in Houston today. Besides
showing you guys how easy it is and that you could sweat and actually burn some calories
in the process and get healthy, get some sun, make some Vitamin D, is, you know, I want
to encourage you guys to once you do have a garden have some knowledge, have grown successfully,
have grown certain crops successfully , start your own business if you don’t have a job.
Even if you’re retired, I mean, this is a great thing to do. To be out in nature and
help other people. I mean, one of the reasons why I make these videos for you guys is to
live in service so that I could help my fellow man here on earth to grow more food because
I do think it’s really that important. You know, Jacob just on Monday helped seven more
families grow food. And that’s great to get them started. Because maybe they won’t
pick up a hammer, pick up a drill and, you know, screw wood together, but now that they
got their bed made, you know, every year hopefully from now on they’re going to be growing
some of their own food because they’re going to taste how good it can taste. And especially
families that have kids, getting the kids involved because in my opinion, the kids really
need to know where the food comes from. It comes from mother earth, not the grocery store
and not the McDonalds. So, Jacob, what other tips do you have for
my viewers, you know, that live in Houston because you’ve been growing for 10+ years,
you know. What tips do you have for them so that they could have successful gardens like
you’ve been doing and you’ve been installing for people?
Jacob: Right, what I tell everyone is pick the right location, pick the right soil, don’t
forget to water it and, you know, pay attention to it. Put it out somewhere, you don’t want
to hide it behind your house somewhere out in some corner, you want to see it daily if
possible. And then go up and hang out with it. Take it out, make sure there’s no bugs
on it or anything like that. And that’s it, I mean, if you follow those things right
there, you’ll have a successful garden. John: I mean, it really is that easy. And
one of the things you’re paying for when you hire Jacob is you’re hiring his expertise
with his gardening experience. Like if this install here they have bugs, you know, they’re
going to take a picture, email them, give them a call ‘hey we got bugs, this is the
issue’, and he’ll tell you how to handle that or deal with it naturally because guess
what? Bugs will happen in your garden, I mean, guaranteed. Right now I got some good aphids
issues happen in my garden, but I got a handle on it. And I’ll have an upcoming episode
for you guys showing you guys my natural way of handling the aphids. But, you know, something
always come up and, you know, it’s like when you first learn how to walk you got to
take that first step. And even if you take that first step, you might fall over but guess
what, you’re going to get back up and keep walking. That’s how gardening is for many
people. Because, I mean, many of you guys or hopefully all you guys know how to walk.
But you guys might now know how to garden yet. And, you know, it’s just another learned
skill that’s really easy that I believe we should all learn in elementary school.
So Jacob, do you have any last words of wisdom for my viewers out there in YouTube land ?
Jacob: Get a garden, get it going, that’s the only wisdom.
John: Alright. So if somebody wants to get a hold of you if they live in the Houston
area to start a garden, you know, they want to hire you, and you do the hard work and
let them do the easy work just water it and check up on it every day and pick the food,
how can they get a hold of your company? Jacob: Just visit our website www.houstonurbanfarmco.com
John: Alright, Jacob. Well I really appreciate you letting me come out and film your crew
in installing this garden. I’ve had a fabulous time and, you know, once again I want to always
encourage you guys to start growing your own food, help others grow their own food, whether
you’re helping them for free or even starting your own business to create your own job,
your own income that will further allow you to grow more food and do what you love. Because
I strongly believe in that. Everybody need to do what they love because so many people
go to a job they hate for money they don’t need, for food that they shouldn’t really
even be buying and eating and putting in their body when they could just simply be growing
their own food and living off nature. So hopefully you guys enjoyed this episode.
Once again, my name is John Kohler with growingyourgreens.com . We’ll see you next time, and until then
remember- keep on growing.