Saturday, March 23, 2013

From Growing Greens to Fukushima

Expert urban gardening tips from John Kohler, host of popular "Growing Your Greens" channel on You tube. Then speech by Dr. Helen Caldicott March 12, 2013 on medical and ecological consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Radio Ecoshock 130327 1 hour


Listen to/download this Radio Ecoshock Show in CD Quality (56 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)

Listen to/download Helen Caldicott's speech (31 minutes; edited for radio) from the New York City Fukushima symposium in CD Quality or Lo-Fi

Listen to/download my interview with urban gardener John Kohler (28 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


Hey welcome to Radio Ecoshock. This week it's a best of times, worst of times show.

We start out with John Kohler, the "growing your greens" guy on You tube. John is an enthusiastic learner and teacher about urban gardening. He helped push me further along the path to growing my own and juicing it as great raw plant food. Our interview is full of lots of things you can do. I've posted some links below of my favorite Kohler You tube videos to get you started.

Then it's off to New York City for a dose of the awful truth from the long-term nuclear guardian, Helen Caldicott. In her time to speak on the second anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi triple melt-down in Japan - Helen lays it out. Due to increased radiation, toxic chemicals, and climate change, life on earth is in the Intensive Care Unit. The aging Caldicott says it's up to us - we are all physicians for the Earth now. It's a powerful speech from a famous force for sanity.

First though, it's time to get you growing your greens.



John Kohler

Here is a whole browsing list of John Kohler "growing your greens" videos on You tube.

I like this one about aquaponics in Oakland.

This one of growing veggies in the winter in Cleveland has a lot to say, I think. We talk about it in our interview.

I learned a few more things about the power of growing sprouts from this pro sprout-grower in Florida. It features Shawn from

Looking for plants for quick salads in winter, inside, with minimum equipment?


How to Make Compost Tea.

Why does John advise against planting potatoes in your urban garden?

How to grow a vegetable garden if you rent your home.

Is plastic bad to use as a container to grow food?

Grow 20 Square Feet of Vegetables in 4 ft Square of Space with the Phytopod Container Garden (245,00 views).

Edible garden on a condo patio.

Suburban homestead garden on 1/10th of an acre.

Suburban Homesteading Edible Victory Garden Edible Estate on 1/10th of an Acre (143,000 views).

Solar powered aquaponic system (plus examples of espalier fruit growing for small gardens)(plus two types of tower growing)(

City Encourages Upgrooting Grass to Grow Sustainable Vegetable Gardens.

Best Way to Consumer Leafy Green Vegetables (Juicer).

How to Start A Raised Bed Vegetable Garden In Your Backyard - Planning.

Reduce or Eliminate WhiteFly and Aphids with Worm Castings.

Urban Farm in San Francisco Gives Away Thousands of Pounds of Food Free.

How to Keep Cats Out of Your Raised Bed Garden.

How to Build a 4' by 4' Raised Bed Garden From Start to Finish.

Extended Front Yard Urban Vegetable Garden Tour.

Growing Vegetables in the Shade - What Can I Grow?

John's plant-specific videos are hits, on growing cucumbers, or squash (often with over 80,000 views heading to 200,000 each)


His business is (only ships within USA). But you'd never know that from watching his "growing your greens" You tube channel. John really does give away all he's learning, without pushing his business at all.

John Kohler founded Living

His Facebook page is here.

To get more on John's vision of the healthiest diet visit his site OK Raw

And of course his main "Growing Your Greens" channel on You tube, where you can learn so much.


John has re-inspired me. I was drinking vegetable juice in Los Angeles back in the '70's, and I was growing lots of veggies in the '80s. It's just one of those things that keeps coming back. We learn again, and start again. Sometimes life is more like a spiral than a line through time.

I bought a juicer this week, but not from John. He only sells within the United States. A local drug store chain had a sale on the "Big Boss Vita Press". It's a slow juicer that squeezes the veggies with a rotating auger.

The Breville high speed juicers are great if you are into hard fruits like apples, or maybe carrots or beets. But they don't do well with leafy greens. Plus, a Brevill has an 850 Watt motor, sounding like an airplane in your kitchen. It turns at about 10,000 revolutions per minute. By contrast, my slow-speed juicer needs just 150 Watts, meaning it uses less power. I can run if from my solar panel. The whole process with slow juicing is much more relaxing, I think.

The Vita Press cost me $169 dollars, with a one year in-store warranty, and a two year factory warranty. I seriously considered buying one of the Omega models John shows in his videos. They are probably better quality and may last longer. But like many people, I have a low income. I just couldn't afford more than $300 for my juicer.

I'll let you know how the cheaper one works out. Last night we had a super green drink, including a bargain on organic black Kale. It feels so much healthier than the overdose of bread, cereal, and potatoes I'd been falling into over the winter. I can't wait for the local farmers' market to open. Hopefully by next year we'll be in a place where we can grow most of our own.

John is pretty well feeding himself from a standard house lot in California. He's got several videos of tips for more northern folks, from the compost-heated greenhouse through sprouting greens anywhere inside, in the depths of winter.


For those who heard about my experiment with a little planter with indoor lights, I can report trying a couple of things. First off, I asked myself, what would some listeners do? I tried the Walmart brand planting soil, which promised it would need little watering. That turned out about as useless as I thought it would. The plants were starting to die off, because the soil stays way too wet.

I carefully removed my small plants, chucked the Walmart stuff, and went with a version of "Mel's mix" - one third peat, one third vermiculite (not perlite!), and some compost. I also added some clean sand, heated up in the oven to get rid of any outside life. Small containers benefit from sand, I think, to help drain the soil.

Now my kitchen herbs and lettuce are doing great. I had to cut back the hours of light for the lettuce, and move it back a bit, because it was heading straight to seed under all the light from the T5 flourescent, running 16 hours a day. Things have grown so fast, I had to move the lights up 6 inches in the first two weeks.

I like having the fake sunlight in my studio as I prepare Radio Ecoshock, in the dark spring of rainy Vancouver. Burning just 24 watts, it's not too hard on the atmosphere I suppose - plus all our power comes from hydro-electric dams. Pretty soon we'll have the real stuff from the sun.

My thanks to listeners who responded with ideas for a seed show. I've got something in the works for that. I've also appreciated the feedback on our Facebook page, the blog, and from the contact form on the web site as I can't promise to answer everyone, but I read it all. Listeners provide a lot of direction and tips for this program. That's the way it should be. I appreciate your support.

Stay tuned for one of the great voices of the environment, Helen Caldicott.


Dr. Helen Caldicott

Last week I ran selections from symposium "The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident" New York March 11-12 by Helen Caldicott Foundation & Physicians for Social Responsibility. That program covered 5 key myths about the Fukushima disaster. Things like: It isn't over, the unreported extra dangers to women and small children, and the myth that wildlife is thriving at Chernobyl in the Ukraine, despite the continuing radiation there.

That symposium was full of surprises. The key driving force behind it was the 75-year-old anti-nuclear campaigner, the world-renowned Dr. Helen Caldicott. She helped fund it, along with other medical professionals in the group Physicians for Social Responsibility.

By the second day, Helen was tired. It was her turn to speak. But nothing stops Helen. By the end of her talk, I was touched and restimulated by our duty here, to care for humans, wildlife, and all life. We are part of a giant living planet, attached and responsible. Helen Caldicott reminded me why I make Radio Ecoshock every week, and why you come to listen.

Use the links above to download her speech at the March symposium in New York City. To fit radio time, I removed her reading of a letter from Dr. Arjun Makhijani.

You can view videos of all the speeches as delivered at the symposium here.

I hope Helen is wrong about the future of genetic damage in humans. She says science shows it can take up to 20 generations for the damage from radiation to show up, being carried in recessive genes. If so, the atomic testing, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and every day releases from all kinds of nuclear power plants and nuclear waste - could add up to a future with hundreds or thousands of genetic diseases popping up in humans and wild life. You and I will not live to see it.

I hope she is wrong. But it's probably foolish to bet against Dr. Caldicott, with all she knows. Once upon the world stage, there can be a process where a strong honest person can grow bigger than most of us. That is how I think of her.

Personally I don't believe we are coming to an end, but rather a new beginning with a difficult and strange birth.

Life on Earth is in the intensive care unit, Helen Caldicott says. She passes her torch to us, saying we must all become physicians now, caring for life, for everything that lives. Nothing else in life - not the money, the prestige, the highs - nothing else matters more than we accept this role. We may have to sit up through the night with our patient, with no concern for ourselves.

Nobody around here doubts the night will come. I believe life will continue in a new morning.

I'm Alex Smith. Stay tuned next week for more hope and despair, with some great guests on Radio Ecoshock.

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Thank you for listening - and for caring about your planet!

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