The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener
Off the Cuff with radio host Joey Baird
Husband-and-wife duo Joey and Holly Baird like to talk about getting their hands dirty. They are the hosts of “The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener” radio show, where at 9 a.m. every Saturday morning between March and October, listeners can tune in to WNOV 860 AM or 106.5 FM for advice about gardening. From growing the food to canning it, the Bairds are there every step of the way. But the radio show is only the most recent of their efforts to educate the masses. In 2010 they began filming gardening videos and putting them on YouTube. The videos were not an instant success. But the Bairds kept at it, and eventually gardeners from across the country began to pay attention. They claim nearly 10,000 subscribers for their YouTube channel and they post roughly nine videos per week. They cover a wide range of topics in both the videos and the radio show, even inviting other gardeners on as guests. Off the Cuff sat down with Joey to discuss things further.
What was your goal when you began the Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener?
The goal was to inform people that you don’t have to have a small farm in order to grow something to eat. You can have a stoop, patio, porch or deck, and you can apply the information we provide, either on a small scale or a very large scale. It’s universal. A lot of our listeners live in the city so they don’t have the space Holly and I do, but they can still grow their own food. We want to help those people.
What are your goals for the future?
We would like to be known as the common gardener. People can come to us, and we can be a source of information that they trust. We want to have a solid reputation for trustworthy information related to gardeners, canners and even novice gardeners, so they know they can come to us if they have an issue. It’s a reputation that you can’t buy.
Are your gardening motivations more environmental or economic?
A little bit of both. We tell people the more you grow the less you have to buy, and you’re also doing a service to the earth because you’re not buying packaged things or things that have been shipped from other parts of the world. People understand that and they want to be healthier—that’s the ultimate goal of why they grow food, but they see that they can grow a little bit and save money, eat healthier and be a little nicer to the earth.
Who can become a gardener?
Anybody can garden who wants to garden. Anybody can garden, but they need to want to garden. When we first began, our main demographic was 45-65-year-old women, now we are seeing more Millennials wanting to learn because they’re having children, and they’re concerned with what they’re kids are eating. We welcome everybody.
To learn more about “The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener,” visit thewisconsinvegetablegardener.com.