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Snow Comes to Chicago--Mike at Large, November 20, 2015 [18:16 min]
Meteorologist Rick DiMaio talks about the first Chicago snowstorm of the 2015-2016 season(and what a storm it was!) and how the strong El Nino will affect the region's winter weather. It's not exactly what you'd expect. And neither is Rick.

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When Philosophy and Recycling Collide--November 17, 2015 [58:07 min]
Ken Dunn has spent decades in Chicago working on ways to increase the reuse of practically everything in an attempt to achieve zero waste. He talks about the projects of organization, the Resource Center, and its fundraiser at the Greenhouse Loft in Chicago. Susan Harris is one of the founders of the popular blog Garden Rant , and she reveals that sometimes you need to have a thick skin to write about controversial issues.
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SPILL: The BP Disaster on Stage--November 8, 2015 [55:44 min]
Leigh Fondakowski is the writer and director of the play SPILL , which is running at Timeline Theatre Company in Chicago. She went to Louisiana coast to interview people connected to the 2010 BP catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico,, which resulted in the deaths of eleven people and the release of five million barrels of oil into the Gulf--the worse marine spill in history.Mike talks with Fondakowski about the disaster, the reaction of the people who lived it, and how that story was brought to the Chicago stage.
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The Possibilities of Proof--November 1, 2015 [Full episode, 57:26 min.]
Grace and Corbett Lunsford are embarking on what they call the Proof is Possible Tour, which will take them across the country on a journey of art, empowerment and science based home improvement. Thad Smith is on a mission. He and his colleagues John Hansen and Naaman Gambill have created Westside Bee Boyz , which promotes urban beekeeping and works to give back to Chicago communities.
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The Wilds of Chicago--October 25, 2015 [Full episode, 57:17 min]
Mike MacDonald is a photographer, author, educator, comedian and much more, who has spent the past four years putting together a coffee table book called My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago: A Celebration of Chicagoland's Startling Natural Wonders . He's hoping that people will help to support the book through his GoFundMe campaign . Mac Austin talks to Mike about her work as a volunteer with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
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Dangerous Coal-Tar-Sealants and Mission Accomplished for Green on McLean--October 18, 2015 [Full episode, 57:05]
Dr. Barbara Mahler of the U.S. Geological Survey comes to the Chicago area to explain why coal-tar-sealants are a potential danger. Mike joins his fellow workers from the Green on McLean community garden to celebrate and say good-bye to the plot of land that changed their neighborhood. Green Divas Meg and Lynn drop by to chat about GDGD Radio .
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It's the Record-Setting Pumpkin, Gene McMullen!--October 11, 2015 [Full episode, 57:03 min]
Gene McMullen , a factory worker in Streator, Illinois who recently grew the heaviest pumpkin ever recorded in North America, at 2145.5 pounds, talks to Mike about the unpredictability of growing giant pumpkins. The Reverand Linda Wygant of Grace Seeds Ministry talks about her award-winning Share the Harvest Project, and Marina Post of INUAg , explains why her organization is distributing grants to Wygant's and worthy groups worldwide.
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Girl Waits with Gun, Golf Course Waits for Compost--September 27, 2015 [Full episode, 56:08 min]
New York Times bestselling author Amy Stewart appears at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, where Kathleen Thompson interviews her about her first novel, Girl Waits with Gun , based on a true story. Mike heads to North Shore Country Club in Glenview, where General Superintendent Dan Dinelli talks to him about strategies for making a golf course more environmentally friendly.
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Farm Aid 30--September 21, 2015 [Full episode, 57:51 min]
The legendary Willie Nelson and his friends come to Chicago to present Farm Aid 30 , where thousands of people gather not only to listen to some of the biggest stars in the musical world, but to talk strategy about how to help family farmers all over the country. Mike and Green Diva Lynn talk to many of these folks and, among others, you'll hear artists John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young talk about the need to change the way we think about food production in the U.S.
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Birds, Wind Farms, Winter Veggies and Stinky Flowers Redux--September 13, 2015 [52:46 min]
Mayo Underwood has gone from selling heirloom seeds in Chicago to working to preserve historic Amherst Island in Lake Ontario from a wind farm that could pose a threat to local bird and bat populations. Pam Tallon also lives in Ontario, but on the shores of Lake Superior, and she talks about growing vegetables in winter. Mike heads to the Chicago Botanic Garden to find out why Spike the Titum Arum failed to bloom, and what happens next to the plant.
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Roundup v. Vinegar: The Ultimate Test?--September 9, 2015 Full episode, 57:29 min]
Dave Marciniak has a landscape design company called Revolutionary Gardens in Culpeper, Virginia. After seeing a popular homemade weed killer recipe on the Internet, he decided to test it against Roundup, and made a video about his results. Meteorologist Rick DiMaio reports on the development of an El Nino in the Pacific Oceans and the effect it will have on local and global weather
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What Happened
to Spike?

The Straight Skinny on the Corpse Plant that Didn't Bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Mike interviews Tim Pollak, the guy who raises the Amorphophallus titanums at CBG.

Proviso Partners Fights Suburban Food Insecurity--August 30, 2015 [56.08 min]
Mike visits the Giving Garden in Maywood, Illinois, a project of the Proviso Partners for Health. The garden is just one of the ways that the group is working to promote health equity there and in neighboring suburbs where residents face food insecurity issues. A number of the folks involved in the project talk to Mike about the garden and their mission to make it a launching pad for healthy eating, entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency.
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A Stinky Flower and a Dead Ginkgo--August 23, 2015 (full show, 56.29 min.)
Tim Pollak is an outdoor floriculturist for the Chicago Botanic Garden . He is also the caretaker for nine Titan Arums, one of which, named Spike, is about to bloom for this first time in its twelve year old existence. Mike talks to Pollak and to CBG public relations director Gloria Ciaccio about the science and the spectacle currently surrounding this plant, which produces a foul odor to attract pollinators. Then, Mike and Kathleen Thompson attempt to figure out why the Ginkgo biloba in their backyard suddenly died this year.
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  Reusing Building Materials and Saving the Marshall Strawberry (full show, 57.25 min)
It's all about saving the good stuff, one way or another. Kelly Farley is Executive Director and Bryant Williams is Senior Director of the Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago. Mike sits down with them to discuss the mission of this not-for-profit organization, and to promote its upcoming fundraiser, Madison and Wabash Bash. And then there's deliciousness. Leah Gauthier reports on her continuing mission to reintroduce people to the exquisite taste of the Marshall Strawberry .
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Dr. Harry Klee and the (Nearly) Perfect Tomato (full show, 57.30 min.)
Dr. Harry J. Klee is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. For about twenty years, he has been trying to hybridize a tomato that will survive the rigors of mass marketing and still have enough flavor to rise above the horrible, barely edible fruits that are now sold and that are considered the best we can grow.

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Two Environmental Victories in Illinois (full show, 57.40 min.)
Lauralyn Clawson of Growing Power Chicago explains why the new composting ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council is a vast improvement over the old laws and will benefit urban gardening efforts. Dr. Cindy Skrukrud , Clean Water Advocate for the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club , talks about how the state is attempting to reduce the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus into our lakes and streams.
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How to spend a day in the middle of a prairie (full show, 57.09 min)
Mike attends The Pizzo Group' s 27th Annual Celebration and Summer Solstice Party. He interviews Jack Pizzo and Grace Koehler from the Pizzo Group, as well as Commissioner Debra Shore from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago . He gets a tour of the prairie from Brian Fox Ellis of Fox Tales Intervational, who portrays John James Audubon, then wraps up his visit with a taste of roast hog, courtesy of Bob Whitmer of S&W Farms.
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Collecting food scraps and workin' at the car wash (full show, 56.16 min)
Mike visits a car wash to talk to Erlene Howard , owner of Collective Resource, Inc. , which picks up food scraps in the Chicago area to turn into compost. Her company recently won a Green America People & Planet Green Business Award , which will enable her to purchase an automated container washing unit. Meteorologist Rick DiMaio explains how various global anomalies are affecting weather in the United States and elsewhere.
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Gardening and Biodiversity Matter (full show, 56:22 min)
Entomologist and author Doug Tallamy wrote the book on how our gardening habits can destroy or rebuild local wildlife and our relationship with nature. The book in question, Bringing Nature Home, is a landmark in environmental studies, and Tallamy is on the roll of great names that includes Rachel Carson and Michael Pollan. Mike interviewed him recently at the Living Landscape Conference in River Forest and intercuts that conversation with Talamy's presentation about his book.
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Melinda and Mike Geek Out on Gardens (full show, 56:53 min)
If you've been listening to The Mike Nowak Show for a while, you know Melinda Myers. She's a horticulturist, author, radio & TV personality, educator and much more, from the garden state just to the north of Illinois. When she and Mike get goind, it's garden geekery all the way. They exchange information and opinions about gardening topics all over the map, including growing tomatoes, straw bale gardening, and natural lawn care.
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Small-Space Gardening and a Recycling App (full show, 57:16)
Bill Shores helps to keep the award-winning Rick Bayless restaurants stocked with fresh produce. What's amazing is that much of it is grown in Rick's backyard, where Shores coaxes an amazing amount of production out of a very small space. Roosevelt University student Dusan Koleno has developed a phone app that can help people keep track of their recycling.
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Watch a video of Mike interviewing Bill Shore about the hoja santa plant.
Small Space, Productive Gardening with Bill Shores (35:33 min.)
Horticulturist Bill Shores has been growing organic food for award-winning Chicago Chef Rick Bayless for a decade, while building his own business, Shores Garden Consulting . Shores gives Mike a special tour of the small but productive garden behind the home of Rick and Deann Bayless in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago that provides much produce for the Bayless restaurants.
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Tracking Your Recycling with an App (17:04 min.)
Dusan Koleno recently graduated with honors in Computer Science from Roosevelt University. But it was a course that he took in the Sustainability Studies Program that helped him put his computer skills to work creating an app that helps you keep track of your home recycling. The app is called Recycle Tracker and it can be downloaded to Android phones.
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Plant Sales, Wildlife and a New Garden App (full show, 56:51 min.)
Mike promotes plant sales at the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse and the Peterson Garden Project . Mike then travels to Oak Park to talk to Pamela Todd , a co-founder of the West Cook Wild Ones , about creating a wildlife corridor between Chicago and Thatcher Woods while promoting their Living Landscapes Conference . Sidney Phelps , distribution manager at Bonnie Plants , chats with Mike about their new phone app , as well as interesting plant selections for 2015.
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More Podcasts

There's another whole page of fascinating podcasts. Just click above to see . . .

  • Seedkeeping, Soil and the Gardening Season
  • The Promise of Lake Calument
  • Bees and Dr. Berenbaum
  • Sending out and SOS for Songbirds
  • Hedgerows and Grass-fed Beeft
  • Cook County Steps Up to Keep Demolition Debris Out of Landfills
  • Angel Azul...or Can Art on the Bottom of the Sea Save our Coral Reefs?
  • Busting Gardening Myths with C.L. Fornari, Author of Coffee for Roses

. . . and more!


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Green Tip

The majestic monarch butterfly needs one thing above all others. This plant.

Wildlife Promise gives you all the information you need about twelve native milkweeds (monarch plants) that you could plant to help the monarch.