From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
Jerry Baker (born 1931) is an American author, entrepreneur, public speaker, and product spokesperson who has written numerous books on gardening, home hints, and health topics. He is best known as America’s Master Gardener, and for creating his world-famous DIY tonics using common household products like beer, baby shampoo, castor oil, and mouthwash.
Baker began his career in the 1960s as an undercover cop in Detroit, Michigan, posing as a gardener, tree trimmer, landscaper, and seed salesman. He left the police force and eventually went to work as a horticulture buyer for S. S. Kresge Corporation (which later became Kmart Corporation). Baker’s interest in gardening lead him to local radio and TV appearances in the Detroit area. He eventually became a frequent guest on Dinah Shore’s daytime TV show, Dinah’s Place. The exposure he received from his Dinah’s Place appearances prompted him to write his first best-selling book, Plants Are Like People, in 1972. A full-length record album by the same name was released shortly after the book was certified as a bestseller. Baker also began the national craze of talking to your plants with the publication of his second best-selling book, Talk to Your Plants, the following year, in 1973.
In the 1970s, Baker was a frequent guest on TV shows like The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He hosted his own TV show, Plants Are Like People, on KMOX (a CBS affiliate) in St. Louis, MO. Baker also often appeared as a gardening expert on TV morning shows like Kennedy and Company in Chicago and on the ABC affiliates’ morning shows in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Baker had his own series of gardening shows that ran on Public Television stations in the USA and Canada. They were used by PBS as pledge drive specials; the programs featured Baker’s down-home wisdom and commonsense solutions to gardening problems. These shows are now available on DVD (see below), and various segments can also be viewed on YouTube. Baker also has appeared on QVC, selling his own private label merchandise. From 1987 to 2007, Baker hosted his own national call-in radio show called On the Garden Line, which was produced by Westwood One and broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting Network.
Over the years, Baker has served as a product spokesperson for Jacobsen Lawn Mowers, Hudson Sprayers, U.S. Gypsum, and Plantabs. His big break came from his affiliation with the Garden Weasel, a tool for loosening soil. Baker appeared as the Garden Weasel’s spokesperson in advertising materials, including radio and TV ads, print, and point-of-purchase displays. He became widely recognized for his signature line in the Garden Weasel TV commercial, “If you’re into gardening like I am…” In 1982, Baker returned to his roots, becoming the national gardening spokesperson for Kmart Corporation’s Garden Centers, a relationship that lasted until 1996.
In 1987, Baker helped found American Master Products, Inc. (AMP), a direct marketing and multi-media company based in New Hudson, Michigan. AMP owns and manages the Jerry Baker brand, develops content and private label products, and negotiates licensing deals.
AMP has published more than 50 books under the Jerry Baker brand name, with more than twenty million copies sold worldwide. AMP also published the popular “On the Garden Line” newsletter between 1988 and 2008.