What Alton Brown did for cooking, Paul Holowko does for gardening. Paul Holowko (pronounced Huh-lov-co), former electrical and computer engineer gone gardener and TV host takes home gardening to a whole new level with his television program called Gardening Rhythms by teaching smarter and greener home gardening to geeks, time constrained (and cash strapped) homeowners, and anyone curious about eco-friendly horticulture.
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Paul began gardening and beekeeping from the age of ten under the expert eye of his father who earned a master’s degree in agriculture. Paul funded his university education (which includes three master’s degrees) with his own landscaping business, which explains the perfect marriage between geek and gardening found in Gardening Rhythms.
Inspired by his love of gardening, passion for ecology, and the 1970s TV program The Victory Garden, Paul says he created a show designed for a generation of gardeners who don’t need chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and useless consumption of unnecessary gardening products to grow their own food and flowers.
Gardening shows have become saturated with commercials for chemical products and pitches for unnecessary gardening tools. Today’s gardening shows simply consist of pavers, barbecues, wood decks, yard furniture and table umbrellas… I wanted to make a TV show that you have to watch over and over again to get all of the information on soil care, ecology, and planting methods. I wanted people to go away thinking something new (about gardening).
Recognizing the great need to bring entertainment and wisdom to gardening, Paul grabbed his camera and started filming with a team from his backyard complete with an aquaponics system (combining aqua culture with fish and hydroponics to create a symbiotic plant growing system), grape vines, free roaming rescued bunnies and chickens, and vegetable and flower gardens.
When I asked Paul why he’s so insistent against the use of fertilizers and pesticides in favor of natural soil ecology, a concept which builds the foundation of Gardening Rhythms, he explains his reasoning in terms of basic biology,
I’m not against them, exactly, it’s how they are used that concerns me. The run off (of fertilizers, even organic) goes into streams, rivers, and the eco-system therefore feeding algae which is then super created and builds up from the left over ammonium, kills fish and plants, and then kills the ecosystem. They also short circuit your soil, causing permanent dependence on costly fertilizers. If you use an unnatural pesticide – which are almost always non selective pesticides – a general killer kills all the pests in the surrounding area and then kills the good bugs, too. The reason why there is a bug problem in the first place is because there is an imbalance and chemical pesticides only worsens the issue.
Paul is knowledgeable and it shows. He presents plants, systems, and gardening techniques with their formal names and breaks down otherwise complicated science into practical and creative solutions for maximizing plant yields with the least amount of effort possible. Paul teaches viewers with careful and thorough explanations about composting, soil biology, micro-biology, natural pest control methods, vegetable and flower gardening from a global perspective, transforming an intimidating subject matter into a journey of understanding how the natural world works. Even my phone interview with Paul was like talking with an informative and helpful friend who helped me solve that pesky fly problem in my house plants and how to avoid frozen pipes here in the alps. As we were speaking, he was e-mailing me Gardening Rhythm links with advice.
Gardening Rhythms proves that anyone with a balcony or a patch of dirt can cultivate plant life of their own, showing that the best gardening requires the least amount of maintenance and tools possible, “Nature knows how to take care of its own plants,” Paul explained, “Gardening Rhythms teaches how to set up the ecology with minimal maintenance and the highest yield in your garden.”
Gardening Rhythms first began airing on San Jose public access television in 2009 and broadcasting has since expanded to over 150 TV stations across the United States, subsequently winning several national and local excellence awards over the last three years. Gardening Rhythms also took home the “Best Bay Area TV Series” in 2010, a prize awarded by Create TV. Gardening Rhythms had become so popular within Paul’s local community that viewers had come in droves to visit his garden but today are regrettably turned away Paul explained, “I used to let viewers visit the backyard, but eventually the foot traffic started to compromise the garden. Now, it’s closed to visitors.”
[box type=”info”] If your local TV station is not on Paul’s list of stations, simply visit or write your local station and request Gardening Rhythms to add the program to your local station’s show listings. [/box]
Paul Holowko hopes to teach present and future generations how to employ a more natural, earth-friendly way of gardening and also hopes to help remind people to be thankful for living,
A garden can be a large area where you can get lost finding your way back, or a pot or two off a balcony in a high rise building. Both speak to people in ways of comfort and spiritual nourishment (and they) remind us of where we came from and where we will ultimately go. As a human race, walking through a garden is a prayer to give thanks everyday for everything good we have…we forget to count all of the good things in our lives.. I find we can’t afford another negative thought…
Through wisdom, practical advice, and creative insight, Paul Holowko hopes to take his show and his garden into homes across America, not just leaving the world a better place for the next generation, but leaving a better generation of gardeners for tomorrow’s world.
Gardening Rhythms can be found online on it’s Youtube Channel: Gardening Rhythms
Gardening Rhythm Links:
A short video on how to kill pests naturally and affordably:
Learn how to grow your own Oyster Mushrooms at home: