Mikey~ New Jersey

Mikey Miceli, a 14 year old freshman in Jackson, New Jersey, may be a new Katie’s Krops grower in 2024 but he is most certainly not new to gardening. He’s been working the gardens alongside his parents and now 16 year old brother, Antonio, since he was 7. The family’s expansive gardens include an orchard with apple, peach, plum, pear and chestnut trees as well as raised beds in which they grow blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, cantaloupes, peas, green beans, strawberries, radishes, and onions with plans to try growing endame and corn this year. 

When his father found out about Katie’s Krops on Facebook, Mikey didn’t think he had a chance of being selected as a grower. However, he still applied and his enthusiasm and personality shined through in his application video. With all of the land and beds that they currently have, when asked what he specifically wanted to do with his Katie’s Krops funding grant, he had a ready answer – buy a greenhouse. The $400 provided enabled him to do exactly that and to our knowledge, he’s become the first Katie’s Krops gardener to have one. He’s already using the greenhouse to start the seeds for summer crops while simultaneously tending cold weather crops in the uncovered raised beds. 

Mikey doesn’t rely on others for all his gardening money though. He raised and sold strawberry plants and used that money to buy seed heating pads for his seedlings. 

Gardening and living inspiration doesn’t come from just his immediate family. During a trip to Italy two years ago, Mikey was in awe of his great-grandmother, who was raising and tending to her own livestock and garden to supply all her food needs. Back in New Jersey, his family is doing much the same. They have previously raised meat birds and have 14 laying hens to provide eggs. Mikey hunts for rabbits. They preserve produce for their own needs through a combination of freezing, dehydrating, vacuum sealing and canning while still growing enough to donate to “share the wealth” with those in need. To that end, the family has contacted a local church for assistance in making sure the produce is given to those that are truly in need. 

With their experience in all phases of growing in zone 7A, from weeding, tending to the plants, laying down wood chips between beds to cut down on weeds, or consulting a master gardener recommended by Katie’s Krops to ensure that the woodpecker in the apple tree won’t hurt the tree or the apples (it won’t), the Micelis are a family that believes in growing and giving back. Katie’s Krops is proud to support them ansespecially Mikey in their efforts.