Dr. Gundry (00:00):
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Speaker 2 (00:33):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:48):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about a healthy, convenient way to get fresh, delicious, quality produce without ever leaving your house. And no we’re not going to have a mail in subscription service. This episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast is all about home gardening. In just a moment I’ll be speaking with the biologist and plant expert, Charles Malki.
Charles is the founder of IV Organic and the author of Saving The World With The Home Garden, a book about environmentally conscious gardening. During this episode we’ll discuss the incredible health benefits of harvesting and growing your own food. You’ll also learn tips for starting a successful home garde, even if you don’t have a yard, I got to hear this, so don’t go anywhere. I think you’re going to be very inspired by what you hear. Charles, welcome to the program.
Charles Malki (01:50):
Thank you so very much, Dr. Gundry and such an honor and a privilege to be sharing this platform with you today. Thank you.
Dr. Gundry (01:55):
Well, it’s great to have you on. And later on, I have a home garden, so I’m going to ask you a tip for me, but not yet. Before dedicating your career to gardening, you spent years researching cardiothoracic science. You also had a law firm? Come on, how did all this come about? And now you’re a gardener.
Charles Malki (02:19):
So I really feel like it’s all finally after 40 years, four decades of, my passion truly being in gardening and the plant sciences, and it was with it that took me into medicine. As you know anywhere research will support 40 to 75% of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived mostly from the plant world. So it’s like, why not capitalize it? And most of my education was in the botany and the plant sciences, but unfortunately 20 years ago, it didn’t really have the directions that exist today in horticulture and in farming. And there’s so many opportunities for our youngest to get involved with at the college level.
I started off on a premed path. I love to become just like you, a cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon. And I surrounded myself by a lot of educated doctors in the UCI medical center where I perform and worked on three different research projects, specifically one in cardiothoracic surgery relating to encapsulating amicase in these lipids to offer the human body a longer antibiotic protection than would otherwise occur by just taking it orally, where it’s typically gone in a matter of hours encapsulated amicase and lasted for weeks.
And I’ve kind of grabbed some of these concepts. My law background helped me with the patents and the trademarks and the licensing, and we work very closely with three different law firms to make sure that we’re doing everything perfectly and affordably. And now we’ve got these products that don’t exist in the gardening world to help people grow plants more effectively than ever before. And I can’t wait to share that with you.
Dr. Gundry (03:59):
All right. The title, explain that title, how’d that come about?
Charles Malki (04:07):
Saving The World With The Home Garden. I’ve been teaching now gardening for close to 10 years. With even my legal background, and I did a lot of real estate law background I’d want to get in people’s gardens. And that was my way to get to know them and their properties and so forth. And I noticed that when I taught people how to grow things right. And when I talk about right, there’s a book that inspired me over 10 years ago called The Secret. And some where chapter four or five, one of those early chapters it talks about, it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or a bad person, if you jump off the roof, you’re going to hurt yourself.
And there’s certain principles that are just so obviously right and wrong, and it’s not up for discussion. And I teach these people and then they go to the garden centers, the big box stores, and they pick up the wrong stuff. And they’re like, “Is this what I should be using on my plan?” I’m like, “Did you not understand anything I just taught you over the last hour?” And it’s from there that I continuously taught, started a YouTube channel, continued teaching and explaining things, and just growing an audience that has been a huge, positive way impacted every aspect of what we do today.
Dr. Gundry (05:12):
Yeah. So that’s how it came about. How are you going to save the world doing this?
Charles Malki (05:20):
Saving the world is basically doing again the right thing on your property. And by doing the right thing on your property, I’m actually just going to read right off of like page one of this book here. And it basically read, do unto your garden as you would want others to do unto our world. And the point is, there’s farmers out there, which is obviously dominating the majority of the American landscape and they’re doing the wrong thing on their properties. And if we could learn how simple it is to do things organically, naturally, sustainably, using permaculture and all of these principles that are available to us and at our fingertips through podcasts such as yours, through education available on the internet books. I mean, there’s tons and tons of literature on how to do the right thing yet the majority of the country still doing the wrong thing.
And the goal is with doing things organically and naturally we’re planting things that are cleaning the air, purifying, oxygenating, and there’s a lot of research out there, and this is relatively new. It’s in the last five years. I mean, very little I’ve seen that, we’d go out, I’d say even 10 years is the idea that plants offer life. There’s a lot of studies out there that’ll say that cities with more plants have people that live longer and healthier disease free life, and that’s a lot of value.
And it’s like, would you want to live in a city with more trees or less trees? And it should be kind of no brainer. There’s a right answer and wrong answer. You should want to live in the city with more trees because trees offer life and health. And that’s where Saving The World With The Home Garden is inspired, is to create your own in essence, Garden of Eden, and creating health and natural and beauty and things that will bring you and your life and your family and your community health as well.
Dr. Gundry (07:06):
So a home garden is necessarily growing fruits and vegetables. You can have a garden garden.
Charles Malki (07:15):
Even a single small plant. I know we’re going to get to apartment and no real estate at all, and how can you still have plants, but even a single small plant offers value. And obviously the more you have, the better. I just encourage people to just get growing.
Dr. Gundry (07:33):
Okay. So everybody’s going to say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say Charles, but I have a brown thumb, everything I touch turns brown.” Let’s start there. Go with that. What are they doing wrong?
Charles Malki (07:51):
Fair enough. So I have interviewed a lot of experts in the gardening world. I’ve got to sit with geneticists and all of these people that are accomplishing tomorrow’s food. And even the best of best growers fail. So even though you’ve got that brown thumb, my advice is keep growing. And if you have any success, you’ve won and the goal with each year, and again, what inspires me from year to year, and I hope I have another a hundred years to go, but the goal is every year to make it better than the last. And that’s the inspiration and the motivation to just keep on growing.
And again, for example, if you plant fruit trees and stuff, probably not going to get to enjoy much in the first year. Some trees such as avocados peak at 10 years, olives don’t peak until 50 years after planting. The goal is to just wait and be patient. There’s other things that have faster return, such as planting tomatoes or basil and oregano, which have an annual … You plant into within a year, you reap the investment. So, kind of mix and diversify your plantings with annuals and perennials which lasts several years to several decades.
Accept the fact and know that you will fail. And that’s actually part of gardening is to know that not everything’s going to work and to accept those losses and accept them as opportunities. A lot of the experts and senior growers would say that that creates more real estate for planning something else, something that might thrive in that location that maybe didn’t make it as you were hoping.
Dr. Gundry (09:24):
Okay. All right. I’ve read some books, and I’m actually a fan of saying this, that we all ought to take our front yards and tear out the grass, if that’s what we’ve got there and plant a vegetable garden in our front yard. What say you about that?
Charles Malki (09:48):
Well, I actually did that. If you take a look at some old pictures of my property, there was a lawn and now it supports … A lot of landscapes will have, for example, an ornamental olive tree. My olive tree on my property, I’ve got one, but I’ve grafted it with three varieties of olives from three different countries. So as they offer their fruits, I’ve got three different flavors in the landscape of just the footprint of a single tree. And that’s actually the value of grafting.
I also love teaching and one of the hooks that got me into gardening at a very young age, but the point is with your front yard is to use it. And a lawn is actually one of the most costly things to maintain, both in fertilizer, pest control, and lost water. It’s extremely wasteful. And the reason that most cities will encourage you and even pay you to remove your lawn and plant more reasonable drought tolerant, for example, plants and trees, as I did, for example, for the olive, and I’ve got some pomegranates and you can obviously do other vegetables as well, and beautifully landscape your property with something you and your family can enjoy.
Dr. Gundry (10:59):
I’ve mentioned this before and you probably aware of this. In World War II, everybody had a victory garden, and 40% of all the food eaten in the United States came from home victory gardens. I recently wrote an editorial that everybody’s home now and nobody can go anywhere. I mean, what a perfect time to start a garden. So, somebody’s going to say, well, it’s pain in the neck to start a garden in my house and I can go down to whole foods and get organic head of radicchio and that’ll be great. Why bother to do this?
Charles Malki (11:46):
So that’s huge. So again, you can pick up the radicchio, I brought over here an example, an apple that we purchased at the grocery stores. We don’t have apples until our apple tree ripens in the next month or two, but with all of the orchards that I visited over the last several years, the goal with farming is to pick produce while it’s still firm, and something that can transport very well. And this is actually one of the criteria. It doesn’t matter what it tastes like. And especially peaches, palms, apricots, like things that you really want, good, sugar to acid, flavors and peak ripeness and stuff, that is never the farmer’s concern. It’s a factor. But the primary thing is how am I going to get it from the orchard to the grocery store without a bruising and looking terrible and they’re looking at shape and size and all these other factors aside from flavor.
And what’s happening is ever since the farmer picked that apple, and now it’s taking on average two to three weeks to get to the grocery store. And by the time it got in your hand and plus the days that it’s in your home, that fruit has been dying. And that is the primary reason, in my opinion, for growing your own food. And especially as we started with medicines being derived, in huge part, whether it be 40 or 75%, depending on the research you’re looking at, with that kind of value coming from food, why would you not want to grow something that’s been, I like calling it Sunkist, you picked it the same hour it was out in the sun and driving all of those, not just sugars, everybody confuses the leaf is just making sugar, but it’s also making the proteins and the vitamins and the minerals and all of the health benefits and the antioxidants that are really going to promote a lot of life. And if it was pick two to three weeks ago, chances are, you’re not getting all of that value you would otherwise get if you picked it from your home garden.
Dr. Gundry (13:37):
Good point. I make the point that most people don’t know that the plant wants to protect its fruit from being eaten until the perfect time. And it uses color to tell its predators where the sugar contents are. But one of the things that it does, there are actually lectins in unripe fruit. And if the fruit is attached to the plant, then the fruit becomes ripe. The plant literally deactivates the lectins, but most fruit now, you’re right, is picked firm and unripe, and then ripened, when it arrives, wherever it’s going to go, with ethylene dioxide and ethylene oxides. And I think that’s something that people are missing. And we never had that problem. Everything we got from either our home orchard or from the farmer down the street.
Charles Malki (14:35):
Dr. Gundry (14:36):
And that don’t happen anymore.
Charles Malki (14:39):
No. We’ve forgotten in our busy lives and we’re all just working too hard. There’s no time for gardening. And this year has really helped educate a lot of people across the country and around the world about the value of gardening and the way things were, if you go … You don’t need to go that far, like you said, I mean, just in the early 19 hundreds and then the hundreds and thousands of years before that, whether or not you liked it or not, you farmed.
And I’m blessed that I kind of had that gene and that green thumb that I inherited from my mom and my mom from her father. And there’s always, in my opinion, I’ve noticed typically one person in the household, if not both, that have some interest or passion in gardening. In my family, it’s me. And I truly enjoy spending time in the garden and bringing that food and that nutrition and that health back into the home and also sharing it with my community as well. My neighbors get to enjoy a lot of the benefits of the harvest that we get to reap here.
Dr. Gundry (15:40):
So gardening has a lot of benefits besides the food you’re going to eat. Talk to me about the mental health benefit. And talk to me about gardening is exercise. Most people say, Oh, come on.
Charles Malki (15:57):
Yeah. Yeah. For example, if you’re planting a tree, you’ve got to dig the hole, you’re excavating the soil, you’re using your back muscles, your leg muscles. I’m about 20 to 30 steps away from the lower street to the front door, from the front door, about another 50 feet to the backyard. And I’m hauling bags of dirt, compost, fertilizer, the trees. And it’s not just one way, plus I got to return all the things and put them back in storage back the lower level. There’s a lot of walking involved. Even if I’m planning something small, there’s typically about an hour or two that’s invested, if not more. So again, there’s a lot of physical that’s happening.
In regards to the mental, something I picked just like an hour ago from my garden are a few of these examples. Over here I’ve got a Mr. Lincoln rose. Over here a Double Delight rose and flowers are there to bloom to attract the insects and the birds and the pollinators that are flying over your community. So there’s the visual happiness that’s happening. And there’s release of endorphins that are enjoyed by people that appreciate the beauty of the color, for one. Two, you smell it and that does again something in your brain. You’re getting happier.
Back here I’ve got … And my wife when she was in here earlier, she’s like, “You should have this on your desk every single morning.” But for me, I walk in the garden. I pass by some basil. I pass by some Rosemary. I’ve got some oregano, and these are obviously some beginning ingredients for a salad I’m probably going to end up making later today. But all of that triggers happiness. If you’re in a bad mood and you brush up against your Rosemary, come a little closer to your fig tree, that releases another scent. And there’s a lot of experts again that are out there.
And again, it’s more recent, I would say in the last five years, not even 10, that people are saying there’s a lot of value of being in the garden. Kind of similar to going out in the woods and surrounding yourself by trees. There’s something that’s happening that’s life giving that’s happening to our bodies that some people are trying to explain, but I feel like there’s still a lot more that is still to be learned in regards to the value that plants can offer both ourselves as well as our planet.
Dr. Gundry (18:09):
Yeah. There’s actually a lot of exciting research since you pointed to the Rosemary, Rosemary has been shown to actually improve cognition. And there’s been even a study with college students taking a test with and without the presence of Rosemary sprigs in the cubicles where they were taking the test and the college students who had the Rosemary sprigs actually did better on the test than the students that didn’t have the Rosemary sprig. I mean, it was statistically significant. And so you’re right. Just, these smells, just smelling basil besides eating it or smelling Rosemary besides eating it. You’re right. We’re now beginning to realize that these guys are doing unbelievable things that we would have poo-pooed a while back.
Charles Malki (19:05):
For sure. There’s actually one more important thing in regards to like mental health, as well as I love animals. I grew up again in a city that doesn’t allow chickens, but I’ve had chickens and ducks and turtles with my dogs, cats, and other pets, and this value, as I’m sure a lot of viewers right now are watching, they know the value in having a pet. It calms you, it soothes you, gives your responsibility, something to look forward to every morning.
Your plants, and I know a lot of my gardening enthusiast friends, their plants are their buddies. It’s their pet. You have to feed them, which is fertilizer. You’ve got to water them. You’ve got to prune them just as you groom your pets. There’s care that’s involved. And the more you frequent them, which again, you’re getting the mental health benefits of smelling and seeing, and hopefully a sense of accomplishment as they’re growing and fruiting and flowering or whatever it is that plants offering you. You get a lot of satisfaction from also treating your plants as if, even though they are, your pets, you got to care for them, they’re on your property and they’re your responsibility every single morning, every single day to keep a watchful eye out on them and make sure that they’re performing in the direction you want it to go.
Dr. Gundry (20:12):
And as pseudo science as it sounds, plants think, and they do feel, and they do have a memory. What say you about that?
Charles Malki (20:27):
I remember something you said a while back about the plants were here before us. And I think it’s just mind blowing. I think everybody thinks it was people. And then maybe some plants and then a few animals. But it was the plants way before, even the first insect. And then the insects came and then there was the animals. And then people are … And you hear this in school, but we miss this. Like we were only … If you want to look at some research, it might go back a hundred thousand, they go really back. Early civilization, maybe 40,000, 20,000 years ago. So you’re talking about the first people to farm and cultivate their land. 20,000 years compared to a fruit tree that has been here for over 200 million years. And I know like in today’s culture like we’re scared about even surviving this year. I usually I’m like, paranoid, I’ve got children. I’m like, I hope they’re going to have a good 50 to 100 years on this planet.
I mean, there’s major issues happening here on this planet. And the goal is like, and I think you’ve said this as well as like, what are we going to do to stay here for at least another thousand? Whereas the plants have been here for millions and millions of years. So they figured out something and they’ve been here a lot longer and evolving a lot longer than we have. So hopefully we continue to educate ourselves and learn and learn what these plants to have to offer us.
Dr. Gundry (21:51):
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Okay. So everybody doesn’t have a backyard. Some people have a balcony or a porch, but a lot of people just have a window. Help us out. Where do you start with all this? Somebody who never done this before, but says, I want to try this. Sounds interesting.
Charles Malki (22:42):
So when it comes to food and this is a general rule and applies to pretty much all fruit trees. Blueberries, another healthy antioxidant, anticancer, delicious food to have, incorporated into your garden, you can actually plant in a container. And in fact, and this doesn’t matter if you have real estate or not, blueberries grow better in container than they do if they’re in the ground.
They hate having what’s called soggy feet, which means if you put them in the ground and you over-water especially going through the winter where it might rain seven days in a row, that can kill your blueberry plants. Whereas if they’re in containers where you can control the drainage and you make sure that those roots remain relatively dry, even during nonstop rains, those blueberries will perform better. So consider for your fruits to consider a blueberry and putting that in a container, if you’ve got a balcony or a porch, and ideally morning sunlight. The reason for morning sunlight is it wakes up the plants faster. It will warm up the plant faster. It offers the light fastest to the plant than later afternoon and sunset sun. So morning light is most important.
Other things to consider as well is dwarf and semi dwarf fruit trees as they’re designed better for container. Also, and I know you’re a huge advocate and we’ll go into more detail on avocados, but there is an avocado known as the holiday avocado. And there’s a Hass avocado. And there’s a few different varieties of avocados that only grow about eight to 10 feet. Ideal for our container. So never in its life feels stressed by the fact it’s in a container compared to being in the ground where the roots can spread out another 20 to 40 feet from the tree trunk.
Other things to consider, as we mentioned earlier is annuals. Things that can grow real fast and you’ll enjoy and reap the benefits early. Tomatoes. You can grow tomatoes on a balcony. You can grow your herbs, a whole bunch of vegetables, all in container. Number one tip. And the huge mistake I see with a lot of growers is that they’ll go to the local box store and they’ll buy compost, or they’ll incorporate native soil into their potting mixes. When potting soil is for your potted plants, potting soil is strategically formulated to absorb a lot of water. It’s got Sphagnum moss, Perlite, Vermiculite, all things that absorb about 30 times, 20 times more water content than its weight.
If you’re using native soil or compost, it doesn’t retain water as well. And the plants will typically dry out and not perform as well or as long. And the goal is to obviously care for that plant for the life of that plant, whether it be a year or many years. So it’s important to start off with a potting soil for your potted plants. And that’s my advice for the people that are growing in containers. For things that are growing indoors, consider sprouted plants, and like sprouted seeds and stuff, which are highly nutritious as well. Another great way to get a lot of nutrition in your body, and the harvest time is only seven to 14 days. So you plant it within a week or two, you’re harvesting it. So another easy way to get food in your diet and be growing things fresher than you would ever get even from a whole foods grocery store.
Dr. Gundry (25:49):
Any place for grow lights? I actually lived in Michigan and had over 200 orchids growing in my basement under grow lights. Interesting story, I chose orchids because as you know, they bloom once a year and you only find out once a year, if you did everything right. If you controlled the light, if you controlled the water, if you controlled the temperature, and if it didn’t, then you go, “Okay, what am I changing this year?” I always found them challenging. Modern grow lights are pretty useful.
Charles Malki (26:30):
Yeah. So the grow lights, and now it’s actually in my notes as well. The grow lights, it’ll open up a whole window of opportunity. You can pretty much grow anything if you’ve got grow lights indoors, if you’ve got some room you want to dedicate, even in a garage, you can actually be growing pretty much anything would grow even in a tropical zone, controlling temperature and light.
I have a friend in Canton, Illinois, where it’s freezing all winter, sub 10, 20 degrees. He’s growing citrus successfully for close to five years. We’ve been monitoring and working closely with them in regards to fertilizer and feeding and watering and helping them successfully grow citrus in Canton, Illinois. So, anything is possible truly with some education and expecting that you’re going to fail. Even that guy that’s been growing citrus in Canton, Illinois had a couple of years of failure before … He maybe start off with three more citrus and another one died, but those two, as they get bigger and more sturdy and more mature, they’re actually easier and longer lasting, and easier to maintain and care for it. Again, just like starting off with a kid and her puppy, those initial days, those initial weeks, require more care than it will in the upcoming years to follow.
Dr. Gundry (27:40):
So is there any upside or downside of starting with seeds versus the little seedlings that you get at the garden store? Does it make a big difference?
Charles Malki (27:52):
So I like kind of integrating a whole bunch of different ideas. This year in December or November, I started a wild native flower mix that I did on my front yard. So in between the grafted olive tree, I had entire landscape instead of a lawn, close to a dozen different California wild native flowers blooming, cleaning the California poppy. And those that started from seed. I simply scouted the seeds, kind of lightly raked it. The goal is to cover the seed about an eighth of an inch, which is impossible to accomplish, but whatever gets covered gets covered in those that don’t don’t. And we had one of the most beautiful front yard landscapes for the first six months. Now that’s going into a drying phase and we’re collecting the seeds for next year’s show.
So seeds are sometimes a great way to start. Also for your vegetables, if you see something that you ate, that you like, you can plant the seeds in. When it comes to seed, I would recommend if you’re going to plant seeds to do moreso when it comes to your annuals, but not to be planting seeds when it comes to like your fruit trees, unless you intend to graft it. And the reason being is planting a seed of a fruit tree and planting the seed of pretty much anything is like a child. And even though it’s going to be related to the mom and dad, it’s always different. And the seeds generally of plants is similar in the sense that whatever you plant is going to be different than the mom and dads.
So for example, going back to avocados, if you have a Hass avocado, and you love it and you want more of it, you plant the seed, you’re not going to have a Hass avocado. It was cross-pollinated by other trees in the orchard, even if it was self-pollinated within itself, the genetics are different. And you’re going to end up with something that might not yield as much fruit. It might be smaller fruit. It might not be as tasty. It might be better, but you don’t know. And it’s going to take you 10 years to find out. The minimum is about five years to maturity. But on average, about seven to 10 years before you’re going to find out if that was even a good investment. So, typically with trees, I would recommend starting off with grafted, or something that to clone off of something that is already proven to succeed and plant those when it comes to trees.
Dr. Gundry (30:00):
Yeah. All right. We have an organic garden, vegetable garden, and flower garden. I get seeds. I do a lot of chicory family vegetables. I have a lot of chicories and radicchio of different types. A lot of the seeds I actually get from Italy and have them sent here. I’m actually a big seed fan for annuals for vegetables. But you’re right, waiting 10 years to see if your avocado pit is going to be a good fruit is probably a bad return on investment.
Charles Malki (30:40):
Dr. Gundry (30:42):
And a lot of things. I actually started a lot … I’m a huge fig fan. I grow a lot of different fig varieties and I compete with my birds to figure out who gets it first. I think that’s why I have a lot of it. But I start most of my figs from just cuttings that people have given me. That’s kind of fun to watch those kids grow.
Charles Malki (31:06):
I’m glad you mentioned that. The plant that’s right over my shoulder over here is a fig tree that I pulled out from outside. When it comes to container gardening again with the people with limited landscape, even no landscape, I’ve got a lot of these big forums as well, where people are growing 50, a hundred, hundreds of varieties of figs all in containers and enjoying. And it’s actually the best way to enjoy a fig. I’ve never bought a fig from a grocery store just because it doesn’t taste like figs. The best way to enjoy a fig is you pick it right off the tree and you eat it right then and there. It’s a completely different experience than buying figs from the grocery store. And it’s another important reason to plant figs.
And they grow in pretty much all growing zones across the United States, one of the easiest fruit trees to grow. Historically it goes back thousands of years into our civilization is our reliance on figs and in nutrition and the value it offers the human body. So I love figs. And I’ve got, just to let you know, close to 15 to 20 varieties of figs on my property. And one of them is grafted onto a tree where I’ve got 10 flavors. And again, this is the value of when you got limited space, how you can have a lot of flavors of figs in the footprint of one tree by the value of grafting. So I’ve got these 10 branches with 10 flavors of figs all on one tree trunk.
Dr. Gundry (32:21):
Wow! All right. Okay. So we planted all this stuff, now what do I do? Do I go to the garden shop and I buy Miracle-Gro and put it on there? Help us out. How are we going to make our plants grow?
Charles Malki (32:35):
To get started, obviously you need a plant and I don’t want to encourage necessarily buying shovels or fertilizer or buying really anything. I mean, when I got started in gardening, I pretty much collected from my neighbors. You kind of walk up and down the street and you see what your neighbors are doing successfully. And one of the things I talk about in my book is also the value of free plants. Seeds is one thing. And as I mentioned with my native flowers that I planted earlier this year, and now they’re all going to seed and we’re collecting the seeds and getting ready for another year. There’s three seeds that I’ll be using from year to year in perpetuity.
Another way is as you also mentioned again, with figs. Every year, February 1st, and for that month, we do an annual fig cutting giveaway where I basically collaborate with a lot of my fig enthusiast friends, and they all have like varieties such as raspberry latte, proven winners strawberry verte, there’s the panache tiger fig, which is a green fig with the white stripes, which is so cool to look at, and taste like strawberries. The traditional ones you’ll find at the big box stores, which are like the Kadota and the black fig and the Brown Turkey fig.
Those are like what you’ll always find at the, again, big box stores. But the specialty ones, the ones that are smaller and maybe more flavorful, more sweeter, different colors, purple, red. There’s so many things that exists out there, but you got to make friends. And I know we’re going to talk about community hopefully shortly, but the goal is to make friends and see what they’re doing and try to get some of that into your property. And the cutting is a free and easy way to plant something that’ll be a genetically identical plant to that parent plant as well.
And then the last thing is also grafting. You may have some plants on your property that might not taste good, such as a bad peach tree that you can graft with things from the Prunus family. So peach trees related to almonds and apricots and cherries and nectarines. You can have all of these flavors of plant on one tree trunk, again, grafting. And again, like my goal is to … Like if you want to start, start cheap, start easy. And obviously you can go to your big box store. You can go to your local nursery.
Another one I want to encourage is also native plants, and the value that native plants also bring to your landscape. I got to interview, here in Los Angeles, there’s the Theodore Payne Foundation, which is one of the largest dedicated nurseries to growing native plants. I got to interview the director there are a few years ago. Her name’s Lisa Novick, and she taught me way back then, about five years ago that California Oak tree supports close to 5,000 species of birds, insects, pollinators like there’s this whole interaction that’s happening with the California Oak tree. She said that same tree you put in Hawaii, might support a dozen or two dozen species within that ecosystem because they don’t rely on California Oak trees in Hawaii.
The goal by planting, and this is one of the things I also educated is dedicate at least five or 10% of your landscape or your growing zone, even if you’re in container, to planting whatever’s native to your area to support that ecology that existed before we came in and invaded it and put our house and ruined it. And when you go to the local box store or even your local nursery, 90, 99% of the plants that are growing there, are not from your native landscape choices, for example, like citrus and avocados and peaches, plums, apricots, even your tomatoes and stuff. Most of the plants they are offering are not native to your specific area.
So the bees that are coming, the birds that are coming, see this all is formed in their genetics, this is all foreign territory, whereas if your plant whatever specific to your area, here I am in Los Angeles growing specific to Southern California native plants. If I were in New York, I’d find out what’s native to New York and plant those native plants. At least dedicating five to 10%, creating these islands of habitat, places where these birds and insects can visitate, lay their eggs, and basically improve the community. You’re creating what I call islands of hope, at your house, and hopefully other homes surrounding you and helping to support that ecology that existed before us.
Dr. Gundry (36:52):
Well, speaking of native plants, what about a Hass avocado? Isn’t that a Southern California native?
Charles Malki (36:59):
Yeah. So the avocados are predominantly native. The Hass, just to let you know, as you said, and I got to go to a Rudolph Hostas home and I believe it was in Baldwin park. And I got to see some of the old pictures where that entire city was pretty much planted avocados. It was an amazing sight. And if you go there now, you can still pretty much almost off of every single street between the homes, there’s avocados everywhere. It’s mind blowing. I’ve never seen more avocados, than when I visited there a few years ago.
But the avocado ancestry, so even though they successfully grow here in Southern California and across warmer climates all across the country, but it’s all based on good gardening practices. But the avocado is more native depending on the variety to Mexico Guatemala and so forth. So an avocado is not native to Southern California, but still an important plant to be planting for the nutritional health and enjoyment of food benefits that come with having, if you’ve got the space, even in container, limited condo or apartment living, you can still enjoy the benefits of having an avocado and still enjoy the benefits of what plants will do for, as we discuss all the benefits plants have to offer.
Dr. Gundry (38:18):
So you mentioned community gardening. What do you think? Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of starting this?
Charles Malki (38:28):
I love teaching. One of the first things I did in my community was to find out, as I also dug in the history that our community and our community board, which is just a group of volunteer homeowners, close to 70, 60 years ago, was founded as a gardening club. So it was basically homeowners getting together, talking about their gardens and their plans, and then talking about community issues.
What I’ve done here in my community about six or seven years ago is do just that. I wanted to get in people’s properties. I wanted to know people. And just to let you know, even with my attorney background, I’m a Florida attorney. So I practiced 10 years in Florida. Still active in Florida, but here in California, my hands are tied. I can’t talk law and I can’t teach law. So we’re not talking about law, but here in California my way to get to know people and know their real estate and get to know my neighbors was through plants.
And so I taught what I know best through my education since I was a child, learned from mom, learned from grandfather, learned through my education at University of California, Irvine, learn from my decades of experience and interviews with a lot of the experts across, especially the State of California. But get involved in your community first.
Another one that has been extremely powerful and valuable, and if you want a lot of free plants as well, California Rare Fruit Growers is another, I would say top organization you should get involved with. Membership is something like between 10 to 20 bucks approximately. And it’s a great way to get to meet again, your neighbors within your city. There’s about 2000 members throughout California reaching out to Phoenix, Arizona, Texas, and around the world. So you’ll find somebody that wants to give you something, and it’s another way to get connected.
A third way I want to share with you is just maybe go down your city hall, find out if there’s garden clubs, there’s usually plots of land, where again, people get together and share their ideas and share again their plants and another opportunity to get free plants. So many ways.
Last but not least, if they’re watching this, they’re obviously connected on social media, go to Facebook, go to Instagram, go to Twitter. There’s groups of people passionate about avocados. And all they talk about is avocados and same thing with figs and same thing with tomatoes and whatever it is that you love, there’s an entire group of thousands of people backing it up. And hopefully most of the gardening and in my opinion, and I’ve been in a lot of different work environments, but gardening people are the best people on the planet. They’re generally the nicest, the most kindness, the most generous, and it’s such an excellent way to make friends and another thing for mental health. You’re just making more friends and it’s another way to stay connected with your world and your community.
Dr. Gundry (41:11):
You’re right. I don’t think I’ve ever met a mean nasty gardener. Well there was a lady next door when I was growing up, but our dog would run to her garden, but that’s another story. In fact, in longevity studies, gardening is actually one of those universal findings in the blue zones in the long lived people that gardening is an integral part of their health, number one, but you’re right, people in groups, belonging to groups is one of the other real keys to longevity. Yeah, so join a gardening group. That’s great advice. All right. Charles, before we wrap up, how do people find you? What is IV Organic and you read from your book, how do we find all this?
Charles Malki (42:16):
My first and foremost, as you can probably already tell, I love teaching and one of my favorite places to teach is right here on YouTube. We’ve got over 300 educational lessons on how to care for a variety of different plants. And a lot of the interviews with the experts I got to interview over the last few years can be found there. YouTube is one. ivorganics.com is our website. And then also check us out on all the other social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I’m here. I love helping people. Again, I’m so thankful and grateful Dr. Gundry for having me on this platform with you and looking forward to what our future brings and looking forward to hopefully answering more questions, for those watching, with whatever comments that they leave below, I’ll be here periodically to help answer those, and help support our growing gardening communities.
Dr. Gundry (43:09):
Great. We’re going to put together a little contest, when this airs and Charles has been nice enough to donate, I think about 10 kits from IV Organic, and we’re going to put together a little contest for you to enter and we’ll announce it on Instagram. That’ll be fun and we appreciate you doing that. I think the more we get people gardening, the healthier we’re going to get everybody. I know my garden is very important to me. And I got a question for you. I mentioned I was going to ask you. How the heck do I keep the slugs from eating my strawberries? You got a trick? I don’t want to kill him.
Charles Malki (43:59):
Just to let you know, slugs and snails on my property are welcome, just so-
Dr. Gundry (44:02):
That’s why I say I’m not going to kill him.
Charles Malki (44:05):
I’ll tell you how to garden, but just to let you know, they’re part of the ecology and they’re helping to break down a lot of the waste that’s in your garden. So for organic gardening, they’re breaking down and digesting, and returning a lot of those minerals and nutrients back into the soil.
For your strawberry specifically, in old, traditional way of controlling them is typically just putting a cup of beer, will typically attract them and pretty much. For the ones that are in the area, you can naturally, dispose them that way. Two, there’s products out there that are focused specifically on Spinosad, which is a bacteria which you can put in the zone in your area. And just keep in mind when I say bacteria, it sounds bad. Why would you want to put bacteria in your garden? The bacteria aside from the beneficial life that’s in your soil and for organic garden, this is huge again. You got your earthworms in the soil that you want to feed with your organic nutrients that you’re putting in the soil. You’ve got beneficial bacteria, which are also digesting and returning those minerals into the soil. And then you get your beneficial fungus or mycorrhizal, which a single mushroom, this is like mind blowing also.
Your avocado tree, let’s go back to, if it’s, let’s say 20 feet tall, or even 10 feet tall, the roots are probably going another 10 to 20 feet deep, predominantly wide. And maybe even if it goes 40 feet, but that single mushroom has roots that’ll span a hundred to a thousand feet transporting water between all the trees or plants in your orchard or in your garden, transporting all of these minerals and water, especially if it’s in a zone where that tree’s not getting water. I always like sharing for example, the tree on top of the hill where there’s no water, it’s like, how’s it getting water? And the answer is, again, the beneficial mycorrhizal fungus that has interacted with the root, the tree gives the fungus some of the sugars that it’s making in exchange for the mycorrhizal is offering water and keeping that plant green and healthy during the hottest summer per month.
Going back to your snails, Spinosad is offered in products such as Captain Jack’s and there’s another one called Sluggo Plus is another product. And another product I want to share with you as well, in regards to the giveaway. I’ve gotten over here these fertilizers, I want to make sure they’re in the screen. So here’s IV Organics, it’s an all purpose fertilizer and here’s the other label over here, so there’s super and a premium blend fertilizer. What I want to share with you is that most fertilizers focus on just NPK.
Spoke to you a little bit earlier in regards to like our company’s founded on creating like novel things that didn’t really exist in the marketplace. So the IV Organics like 6Macros Plus+, in the name, six being the six macronutrients, yet almost every single fertilizer out there only focuses on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen for growth, phosphorus for fruits and flower, potassium for disease resistance and root growth and strength, but plants have six macronutrients, nutrients they need in abundance. And yet most of the fertilizers overlook this. IV Organic 6Macros Plus+, and our all purpose fertilizers offer plants in an organic way to get not just nitrogen phosphorus, potassium, but also calcium, which is in all the cell walls of the plant. Sulfur, which helps in the greening of the plant as well, and magnesium which is in the heart of the chlorophyll molecule. So you got all the macronutrients and plus a lot of micronutrients that would be found in a product like this.
I know I shared at the beginning, kind of I guess will sum up in conclusion. Part of the giveaway is also going to include this product over here, which is the IV Organic 3-in-1 Plant Guard. And this offers protection against damaging summer sunburn and winter sun scald, in addition to an insect and a rodent repel and protection. The concept of our product goes back again, thousands of years on a gardening word, and this is again, something we’ve specialized in and brought a lot of education to the gardening community, where a lot of people that have been practicing for decades, full-time jobs have never heard the word white washing, just as in real estate, for example, and I see the wood behind you where it’s been lightened or bricks that have been lightened.
Similarly, farmers since before BC times would put mica, which is clay or limestone on their trees to lighten the tree trunks and especially, and this is a helpful tip for the avocado growers, but this applies to all planted trees that when you plant it, those tree trunks are exposed to too much light. Right now summertime there’s 14 hours of daylight and those trees will burn just as our own skin. And I’ve got a lot of examples with third degrees summer sunburns on plants or plants that are pruned too thin allowing too much light and the bark will begin to crack.
And it’s always on the South and Southwest side of plants in the Northern hemisphere. And the goal is again to whitewash. And for the last hundred years or 50 years here in America, the predominant way of whitewashing trees has been simply put paint on your plants, but as we’re getting smarter and going into organic gardening, we basically came up with a product and tying in, as I said at the beginning with the encapsulated amicase, IV Organics encapsulates seven natural garden oils, which include cinnamon, castor, cloves, garlic, peppermint, rosemary, and spearmint, all of these oils that naturally repel insects and rodents from staying off your plant.
It basically comes with an organic based powder with these encapsulated oils to offer. Now, not just like oils typically, put them on the plants and within a few days they’re gone. This offers protection that lasts going on weeks and months from the time of application. And it’s kind of been like our beginning and our foundation of our company is the IV Organic 3-in-1 product. And from there we’ve expanded to close to a dozen products and I’m excited to share those with your followers and your fans as I’m one of them.
Dr. Gundry (49:58):
All right. Well, I can’t wait to compete for these products. Please watch this episode and follow the directions and I hope you guys are the winners, because this sound great. All right, Charles, thanks again. This is exciting. Hope to talk to you again.
Charles Malki (50:16):
Thank you again for the opportunity. It’s been a pleasure.
Dr. Gundry (50:19):
Okay. Time for a review of the week. After a recent podcast I did with the psychiatrist Dr. Jodie Skillicorn. Chris Trip on YouTube wrote, thank you for taking your time out of your busy schedule to devote to these podcasts. I look forward to the topics you bring to us. Well, thanks a lot. We try to bring you different experts, different areas that we think may be of use to you, particularly in these trying times, we’ve tried to bring out some mental health experts, some motivational experts. It’s not always food and that sort of things that we want to cover because these are interesting times and thanks for letting us know that this is appreciated. So that’s it for the Dr. Gundry Podcast. We’ll see you next week.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/DrGundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.