Gardener of the Month: April 2020
Meet @bigcitygardener, a Farmers Market Manager and Agricultural Consultant in Houston, TX!
AT A GLANCE:
Favorite color: Red
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite veggie: Potato
Favorite activity (other than gardening): Playing basketball
Favorite movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – original version
Describe your garden.
I have converted the entire back yard into a garden. I have used every inch of the yard as a garden. I am even transforming the front yard into a garden. I have:
I have containers everywhere. Fifteen fruit trees in the ground. I prune them to keep small and manageable. I also have an @ecogardensystem, a self-watering, raised 4x8 system.
I have little spaces around the perimeter of the house that I use as herb gardens.
Each bed has a mix of perennials, herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Some of the beds even house fruit trees with herbs and ground covering perennials planted at the base.
I keep chickens and have beehives (shoutout Nicole from @Bee2BeeHoney) all within a relatively small area.
What makes it unique is that all of this is taking place less than a quarter mile from downtown Houston. That makes this a real Urban garden. I am surrounded by people with four-story townhouses that have very minimal outdoor space. Whenever they look down from their townhouses and see the area, they are usually impressed.
What's the hardest thing about gardening?
Practicing patience and accepting failures as lessons and learning tools. People start gardening and want to jump all the way. Often, they plant too big of an area, they cannot manage by themselves yet and get burnt. Before you know it, they give up on gardening. So, the patience to continue pushing through different times.
If you could have one gardening superpower, what would it be?
Yes, now this is my kind of question. I think I need more than one power.
First, I want the ability to teleport. I could look at a picture of a garden, close my eyes, and bam I arrive.
Second, the power to know every plant and all its benefits just from touching it.
Third, I want the power to be able to touch a plant and instantly propagate it.
I would combine all three, and travel all over the world, identifying plants and their benefits, touch to propagate, and teleport back.
Since this is my dream, I would have greenhouses, a conservatory, and land in an ideal climate to grow all of the specimens I cloned.
You are such an incredible resource for gardeners. What inspired this commitment to posting educational gardening content?
I think individual people in the world should grow more. Whether its fruit, vegetables, flowers, or herbs, whatever you decide or enjoy growing, you should do it. Gardening should not be something only done by wealthy or low-income people. I believe there are many health benefits from gardening, more significant than the fruit or flowers that you get in the end. I think people need to be reminded of their roots. Everyone, regardless of race, creed, or religion, if you check their history, they are not far removed from gardening or farming. I feel if I can inspire/educate enough people, we can band together to take on some mega farming corporations with farming practices that are destroying the planet.
So, I am committed because I want to make the world a greener place. Also, I want everyone from all generations and age ranges to realize how dope gardening is. Do you understand how dope it is to be able to walk into your garden and harvest ingredients that you can use to cook?
What is the #1 gardening-related question you get and how do you answer it?
How do I get an amazing garden? Are there tricks to grow "insert any random fruit, vegetable or flower here" better?
I usually ask them how much time they’re spending in their garden weekly. Often, I'm told around an hour. Then I ask, “Can you tell me what you can do for an hour a week and have exceptional results?” I then tell people the key to growing whatever better or having a more successful garden is to spend more time in your garden. Do not think of it as a chore or something that you must do. Instead, try to find joy and use gardening as therapy for whatever is going on in your life.
We admire your passion for food deserts and finding solutions to the scarcity of food in these places. Tell us a little bit about your work around this issue.
I run a Farmer’s Market in one of these communities. The goal is to inspire people to want to eat better. A lot of these communities have ample land with vacant lots to start gardens of their own. People have to be the change they want to see. So instead of talking about not having grocery stores in these areas, locate the positives and use them to your advantage. There is space to make a change.
I have always wanted to inspire people to “JUST GROW IT”. I would say that working with Domini Bryant really kickstarted a lot of this. She introduced me to the concept of helping to teach the youth about this subject. It really has blossomed and grown from there. Thank you, boss!
As a 2020 Gardener of the Year, you'll receive 2 sample boxes of Burpee Home Gardens' 2021 new varieties… one for you and one for a friend! Who will you give your second sample box to and why?
I will be giving the second sample box to my brother Joseph Price. He’s into gardening, has a beautiful garden space and will put the plants to good use. Plus, like me, he is introducing his kids to the garden and gardening young, and I am all about that.