Trevor Johnson is the Resident Farmer at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan. In 2012, the hospital launched an organic greenhouse with the main goal of feeding the sick patients. Little did Trevor know, the hospital’s greenhouse has become a community center where Michigan residents can take cooking classes right inside the hospital. So many great tips and takeaways on this week’s interview that I can not wait to share with you all.
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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to work as the head gardener and resident farmer at the greenhouse?
Time Stamp: 25:30
How did a career in gardening end up so fantastic for you?
Time Stamp 28:15
Well, back in September 2012, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan launched the organic greenhouse with the goal of using the crops to feed the patients. How did this idea originally come about?
Time Stamp 30:10
Hospitals are realizing the value in providing fresh, local, and organic food for their patients. I’m very curious, do patients and families appreciate the efforts?
Time Stamp 33:50
How about in terms of healing. Are patients able to experience the hands-on healing effects of gardening first hand?
Time Stamp 37:30
What resources do you have for listeners who would like to try out grafting?
Time Stamp 40:50
What’s a typical day like for you, Trevor?
Time Stamp 43:50
You mentioned the 10-hour mark for sunlight. Is that kind of the sweet spot for someone in a greenhouse?
Time Stamp 47:20
Let’s talk a little bit more about hydroponics. Everything in your greenhouse is grown hydroponically, correct?
Time Stamp 48:50
Do you get perlite in huge quantities?
Time Stamp 54:45
Of the three hydroponic systems you can choose from, which of the three would you pick?
Time Stamp 56:45
Is there truly an accelerated growth with hydroponics?
Time Stamp 57:45
I read that the estimated production of basil is 700lb per year out of your greenhouse. That sounds like heaven to me! Why the focus on basil?
Time Stamp 1:00:35
Are there any vegetables you wished you could grow, but you simply don’t/can’t?
Time Stamp 1:02:20
Why are bato buckets also called dutch buckets?
Time Stamp 1:03:35
You’re also adding in peat. Is there a good peat to perlite ratio? Also, what role does peat play in all of this?
Time Stamp 1:04:25
What is Coco Coir?
Time Stamp 1:06:05
What crops are going at the greenhouse?
Time Stamp 1:06:55
Where does all the produce go?
Time Stamp 1:08:25
Pest management is something greenhouse growers always have to be aware of. Your main pesticide is ladybugs, is that true?
Time Stamp 1:09:35
You can accomplish so much with sharp streams of water to get rid of those pests. Do you try anything like that?
Time Stamp 1:12:10
How do you source your good bugs and how do you release these bad bugs?
Time Stamp 1:13:35
Tell us about crop harvesting. Is it all by hand?
Time Stamp 1:16:35
What are some of your favorite recipes that you share with folks?
Time Stamp 1:20:50
Speaking of cooking, I heard you had a 90-seat demonstration kitchen in the hospital where healthy cooking classes are offered to the community.
Time Stamp 1:22:45
It’s not only your mission to feed the sick with healthy food, but it’s also your mission to educate as well, correct?
Time Stamp 1:25:35
How do you coordinate and communicate with the hospital chefs?
Time Stamp 1:27:15
In terms of cost, what has been the impact of the greenhouse on food costs for the hospital?
Time Stamp 1:28:55
Do you have any final thoughts about the importance of organic growing or growing food in general?
Time Stamp 1:30:30
Email Trevor: TJohns25@HFHS.org
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Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.
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