It’s Winter…

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Hey, it’s Phil from I apologize in advance for the wind noise – I don’t have a wireless mic on today so i just have to use the camera mic.

I haven’t been making any videos this time of year because this is what my garden looks like under two feet of snow right now, but I wanted to share a couple of things with you today.

First is if you follow me on facebook and especially on youtube, you’re not really seeing anything from me this time of year, but if you come over to, I am still writing an article every Saturday.

And if you want, you can sign up for my free ebook download and then you get on my email list and then I’ll actually send that out to you every Saturday. So I’m writing about how to improve your soil and control pests and how to grow nutrient-dense food and all of the same kind of stuff that I usually shoot videos about, and sharing tips for the upcoming growing season as soon as this melts.

And actually, I know some of you are gardening already if you live closer to the equator or by the ocean and so your weather is more moderated.

And I actually can see this because I sell organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants to gardeners in the U.S. and in January I starting getting orders from California and Texas and Florida and then gradually going into February and March, the orders come from further north and further east, so I can see when you’re starting to think about gardening.

If you are starting to think about fertilizers, I ship even during the winter because all of these products – even the microbial inoculants – it’s okay if they freeze for a little while. I get all of my stuff in in the winter as well from the manufacturers and it’s all good, so I’m shipping right now.

And you can go to and click on ‘Organic Fertilizer Guide’ up in the main menu, and I sell products there but I also teach you how to make your own fertilizers, and it’s just a great comprehensive guide.

The main thing I wanted to ask of you today, because I am writing still right now and I’m going to be shooting more videos this year, and I’m always looking for more ideas for what to talk about – so I want to hear from you what is the one most important thing you want me to share this year on my website.

So let me know in the comments below, whether you’re on my blog right now or on facebook or on youtube, I will see that everywhere, and then I will have some ideas for what to create and then I’ll create it for you.

So that’s all for now. Talk to you soon.

Three quick things today (if you’re on my email list, you already know about the first two, so feel free to skip to the last one):

  1. I don’t make many videos in the winter, but I still write blog posts every Saturday, so for those of you who aren’t already on my email list, sign up here and I will send those out as I write them.
  2. I’ve just stocked up on a fresh batch of organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants, and despite the cold, I’m shipping (it’s actually okay for them to freeze for a few days), so feel free to check out my organic fertilizer guide if you haven’t done so yet this year.
  3. The main reason for today’s post: What’s the most important thing you want to learn more about for your organic garden this year? I’m looking for ideas, so let me know down below and I’ll do my best to put together some information for you over the next couple of months.


P.S. Ready for spring yet?


  1. Steve on February 28, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I would like to hear more about wood chip mulch. I am in the 3rd year of having a covering of wood chip mulch this is and will continue to be my primary growing medium (amendment). I started with about 8-10 inches of wood chips on top of the soil and move the chips back for planting. I am told this is all I need for a sustainable growing garden. I am also told that it provides the most production in year 4 on, till a new covering is needed.Thanks Steve

    • Kerry on March 2, 2015 at 9:01 am

      You might find this interesting

      • Tom Lampman on March 3, 2015 at 1:06 am

        I second that rec.commendation !

        • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:03 am

          It’s an entertaining film, but I have major issues with the wood chip mulch technique. I’ll make a point to address it early this year.

  2. Elena on February 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I will be getting a soil test this year and will be following the recommendations for adding necessary amendments. What I would like to know more about:I would love to hear about other beneficial amendments that I can add to the root area or beds of my transplants. I will be adding mycorrizhae directly to the root area. I am wondering if there are other things that can help my new seedlings get a good start.I also wonder if I can find info on how to treat different veggie plants according to their specific requirements. For instance, I am learning that some plants are considered “heavy feeders” which I believe means they use more nitrogen. I would love to know if these veggie plants would benefit from extra nitrogen in their soil, as well as more feeding s of nitrogen during the season.I will be following your recommended foliar spraying, alternating between NPK / sea minerals/dextrose and EM / Kelp/ molasses.Last question. Is the EM that I bought from you last year still viable for thus year? It was the variety that was not capable of being used for making larger batches of EM.I really enjoy your website and have recommended it to others.Thank you very much for sharing very helpful, holistic info on growing nutrient dense food.

    • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:06 am

      Yes, the EM should still be viable. The way to know for sure is to measure it with pH paper (should be 3-3.7 pH), but since most people don’t have that, I say as long as it still smells okay, it should be fine. By the way, EM is my next favorite root zone inoculant after mycorrhizal fungi. I like to combine it with liquid kelp and/or sea minerals, plus occasionally fish, especially for those heavy feeders you spoke of. I’ll try to write about specific plant requirements this year.

      • Elena on March 5, 2015 at 2:48 am

        Hi Phil, Thanks for your response.When you add the EM as a root zone inoculant , are you simply watering the transplants instead of foliar spraying?Another question, since I have very compacted clay soil, would adding perlite or peat moss help, along with the amendments that will be suggested when I get the results from my soil test? I always add compost as well.Thank you.

        • Phil on March 6, 2015 at 1:40 pm

          I do both foliar spraying and watering my transplants.Perlite is quite expensive for use in the garden, and I’m not a big fan of peat moss for a few reasons. Good compost is what you need, as well as the inoculants, and balancing the minerals will help to relieve compaction.

  3. Patch on February 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I am set to order the mycorrhizal fungi and I have watched the video on how you coat the seeds. However I will be using this primarily for tomato and pepper seeds so I want to make sure I use it in the most beneficial way. Since they are small seeds I am wondering the best way to coat the seeds. Should I perhaps just put a few drops in the soil before I drop in the seeds? Or should I put some into a spray bottle with water – or possibly do both? TIA!

    • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:08 am

      The most economical is to apply it to the seeds rather than the soil. And rather than putting it into a spray bottle, I would spray (or soak) your seeds first (that’s a good time to add a little liquid kelp and/or sea minerals) and then dust them very lightly with the powder.

      • Patch on March 3, 2015 at 3:41 am

        Merci! I have ordered ehdo-mycorrhizal fungi and fish fertilizer in the hopes it will hurry spring and planting season!

  4. Susan on February 28, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I am starting a new Plant Nursery this Spring and want to focus on plants & shrubs that attract birds & butterflies to one’s garden. The information seems to indicate that native plants are the best route to go if you want the birds and butterflies to take up residence! I live in zone 5a (south of Buffalo, NY). I’m reading that plants that actually attract certain insects are beneficial for attracting the birds who eat them! Could you give us a starting point for making our yards a Bird & Butterfly paradise!!! 🙂

  5. Emanuel Lomba on February 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I would simple like the hear about how to get my garden pathways free from weeds!Its my third year doing gardening and i already ready much about it but i just cant get rid of them on my pathways ,i´ll have to say ,that must be the only thing that makes thing twice about starting again this year or not cause i really fell that i´m loosing the battle to weeds .On another subject im going to try this year the veganic farming/gardening aproach wich could be perhaps a very nice thing for you to talk about ….Keep up the good work !Greetings from Germany

    • Tom Lampman on March 3, 2015 at 1:06 am

      Guten Tag von Canada: I dig down to approximately 10 – 15 cm. and remove the topsoil where I want my path to be. I fill this with wood chips, which eventually compacts somewhat. I do this every three years and remove the wood chips that are decayed. these decayed wood chips I use around my plants once I have transplanted them (Tomatoes, peppers, squash: I live in central Alberta Canada) DO NOT MIX the wood chips into the soil as they will rob nutrients from your garden soil. The decayed wood chips have a tonne of fungi and other beneficial life that will enhance growth of your plants. I renew the wood chips approximately every two or three years. If you have weeds, they pull our very easy from the wood chips.. You will never get rid of the weeds, but what weeds actually take root are easy to pull out. If you use the decayed wood chips as mulch around your plants, a light dusting of a nitrogen rich fertilizer may be put on top of the decayed wood chips. Every rain will slowly rinse the fertilizer into your soil. Wood chips in your garden path make hard work for any weeds that want to grow there. Those that do grow are very easy to pull out. tom

      • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:16 am

        Excellent advice. There will always be weeds because that’s just nature, but we can take measures to thwart them. I’ll write about this more some time.

      • Emanuel Lomba on March 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

        Thanks Tom , i´m gonna try that this year then!

  6. Linda Costal on February 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    medicinal plants and what they are good for.

  7. seasons on March 1, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Store bought pest control for organic gardens.Last year a person in the local garden center told me I shouldn’t use Neem oil for certain things, so I got the Captain Jacks. The pests still destroyed my dino kale, squash and most of my lettuce. Now I’m thinking about trying Neem this year, but can’t remember what not to use it on. I have a small container garden of 6 good sized smart pots, a tomato plant and a separate pot for mint. I try to have some herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme, mint,) scallions, shallots, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, romaine and dino kale.If I had to choose two things to protect from being destroyed, it would be the dino kale and the cherry tomato plant.I even tried the garlic/onion water mix spray homemade solution but that didn’t work.

    • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:25 am

      It’s not certain plants that can’t be sprayed with neem, but more than any pesticide has the potential to harm some beneficial insects. Same with Captain Jack’s (spinosad is the active ingredient). Both of them can be useful – it just makes sense to not overspray them. This is a good topic – I’ll cover it this year…

    • Kerry Allen on March 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Hi, you might want to try floating row covers for leafy crops such as kale and lettuce. This will keep the moths and other insects off of the plants. Since there is no need for pollination, you won’t need the bees either. Squash can be hand pollinated if you use a row cover, and I think that tomatoes are self pollinated, before the flowers open(?). It may help to brush or shake the tomato plants by hand. But I’m not sure how easy floating row covers would be with indeterminate tomatoes. Phil, any thoughts/corrections?

      • Phil on March 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm

        Yes, floating row covers can be a pain, but they can be very effective, as long as the insects aren’t coming up after having overwintered in the soil.

  8. Mamabear on March 1, 2015 at 1:10 am

    As a beginner gardener (still) I need to learn about easy ways to improve your soil (ie. Can I dump food peels and egg shells straight into my garden?), how and when to check on your garden, what to look for (I’m not into peeling big ugly bugs off of tomato leaves). I fail yearly but I think it’s because I get caught up in work, and kids, that I forget to check on the garden. But I really want to become great and supply my family with my food!

  9. Bec on March 1, 2015 at 2:45 am

    I would like to know about starting small seeds directly in the ground. I live in a warm climate with 2 growing seasons so we don’t ever have to start inside. I still start seedlings in a nursery area but it would be so much easier to plant more out. I tried soaking small seeds then applying the Mycorrhiza, but the seeds all stuck together. So I am figuring best not to soak small seeds or is there another way to do it. Also just wanted to say thanks Phil. I signed up for your Academy before XMAS and worked through all of the lessons. Our XMAS holidays is kind of our off season, because it is just too humid and hot. So we sit by the pool researching and planning the year ahead. (Kind of the opposite for you sitting by the fire in winter) I came back from the holidays with a renewed vigour for the garden, got my soil test results, added the garden soil amendments based on the soil test. BRILLIANT ADVICE!! And now I am busily starting seed and planting. But it is really March and April when I can start the most seeds…so just want some advice on starting smaller seeds.

    • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 3:27 am

      Good topic idea Bec. Yes, small seeds can be tricky. Sometimes I use a toothpick to plant them. I still usually soak them and then sprinkle with the fungi though.

  10. Suzanne on March 1, 2015 at 3:27 am

    We live in the Pacific NW. We used to bokashi but this year we have moved and the soil here was very poor, sandy. All winter, just direct composting: digging in food scraps 12 inches deep. Working very well , now its April and soil has improved quite a bit. Will cover crop clover and alfafa, then mulch with alfafa straw. Last summer, even with the poor soil, we had tons tomatillos, jalapenos and cherry, roma tomatoes. This year should be good!

  11. Sandy on March 1, 2015 at 4:46 am

    We are moving into a fourth floor apartment on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, Texas, and our north-facing balcony will be full shade. I would love some tips on what I can grow and directions for organic aguaponics systems!

    • payday2222 on March 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Sandy, may this message find you and your’s blessed of the Lord. Here in San Antonio we have:Brite Ideas Aquaponics, Hydroponics & Organics andFanick’s Garden Center and Nursery (75 years+)

  12. payday2222 on March 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    How does one turn donating extra fruit from an organic orchard into a non-profit organization (ministry)? To put it simply, I planted too many fruit trees which means that sowing and reaping increases (thanks to the Lord above) every year. Four people can only eat so much.

  13. Barbara on March 3, 2015 at 1:36 am

    I would like to know how to get my sunflower seeds to have seeds in the kernel – not for roasting but for eating in my muesli. I grow the ones specially for eating but there is such a small seed inside it’s not worth processing further.

  14. Harry S. Nydick on March 4, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I want to know what specific tips you have for apartment dwellers doing container gardening on balconies – not the routine ones regarding watering and sun, but those that most of us would not think to consider. Years ago, I had a very successful organic garden. Though I just started container gardening, the results are mixed, because some things don’t seem to transfer.

  15. anita rosenthal on March 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I live in louisiana. In the last few weeks Feb to Mar 2015 – most days cold 30C-40C and overcast. About every 2 wks a day in the 70s. Soil in my yard goes from puddle to wet until hot summer when an egg would cook on my sidewalk. Hard to figure when to plant and what to plant. Might become flooded.

  16. Lori on March 8, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I would like to learn more about cover crops. I don’t think I understand how and when to incorporate them into my garden and I am afraid that they might be invasive and difficult to control.

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