Keepin Urban Organic Gardener Real

Posted on Aug 1 2012 - 1:03am by Mike Lieberman

This post was inspired by a conversation that Anita and I had a few weeks back.

It was when I was initially launching the Fall Gardening 101 course.

If you are a new reader, fan or follower, please read so you know what you can expect from this site and the information that I share.

Why Urban Organic Gardener was created

It wasn’t answering your questions about the best way to get rid of aphids or what to do if your tomatoes are getting blossom rot.

That’s not my passion nor what I feel strongly about.

What I feel strongly about is our food and knowing where it is coming from.

What I feel passionate about is empowering you to start growing some of your own food in a way that’s
not overwhelming or confusing.

And from what you’ve told me, it’s something you’re passionate about too.

During the past 3 years, I’ve created and put together lots of free information, inspiration and ideas to give you the tools to not just create your own urban garden, but to know where your food’s coming from…

And keep it pesticide and chemical free.

Because here’s the bottom line:
It’s freakin awesome to grow your own lunch…

No doubt.

But it’s life-changing when you can take back control of your health and your family’s health by getting connected to and deciding for yourself which foods make it on to your plate.

There’s nothing like growing your own to make that a reality.

Why am I writing this?

Over the past few months as the popularity of the site has grown, I’ve been receiving more emails, comments and messages.

Some of which…haven’t been so nice.

I had one woman email me that she’d never buy anything from a guy wearing a black hoodie and does the “black rapper thing” with his hands.

I had someone tell me that I should change the name of my site because I was limiting my audience by not allowing people to talk about in ground gardening.

I have people emailing me multiple times asking me to solve their insect problems, then calling me out and being rude publicly when I don’t help them with their problem.

These aren’t the type of people that I want to reach and interact with.

It’s made creating and sharing information a bit of a drag lately, which is why the quality of the content has been suffering.

If you want to learn how to farm you backyard, till up your front yard or cure the black spots on your tomatoes…this isn’t the place for you.

I don’t say that with negative feelings, this just isn’t.

To bring that feeling and passion back into what is being done, I am going to get back to the fun, simple and informative posts that inspire and empower you to start growing your own food, so you can avoid toxic pesticides, eat healthier and not feel limited by your lack of experience and space.

Can I get an amen?

36 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Grace U. August 1, 2012 at 10:12 am -

    I’m sorry the less pleasant portion of the Internet’s populace have found you. >.< Thank you for all of the great information you give us!

  2. Fan of The Hoodie August 1, 2012 at 10:25 am -

    Amen!  And here is the beautiful thing about all of the negative vibes from these folks… it means you are successful.  Don’t ever forget that.  Haters will hate.  They don’t know any different.  Keep doing your thing and just hit delete with your hoodie on!

  3. Maria Kunze August 1, 2012 at 10:37 am -

    We live in an apartment and are growing food in pots outside. I like checking out your site to see other people doing the same. – I guess your hoodie doesn’t scare me.

  4. Adams Shake August 1, 2012 at 10:55 am -

    Amen brother.

  5. Krys August 1, 2012 at 11:52 am -

    Amen! Keep sharing your passion!

  6. Pat August 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm -

    Yes. Thank you!

  7. Grandpa Tim August 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm -

    Well, Dude, I’m cool with the whole Hoodie wearing and the “young, contemporary, urban person’s” hand gestures thing. Not a problem. Although, I did have to ask my 32 year old son to interpret a few of the things you wrote for this grandpa. Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to share your passion and enthusiasm for urban/space-limited gardening. I want to touch base with you at some point about getting these concepts to folks living in central urban areas who are daily dealing with very limited access to healthy food. Try not to let the crap from the world of the internet comment section get you too down. Take some time for your self, get out of town to enjoy nature if you can (a road trip to the California Central Coast is always good for the soul..), talk to someone, etc. Just know, as far as I am concerned, you are doing Good Works.

  8. Snipsnip August 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm -

    Do your thang! Don’t be swayed or unnerved by the haters. Be happy that you don’t know them. Focus on your passion and do what you love. We will be here enjoying you and what your talents have to offer us. 🙂

  9. pussiboots77 August 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm -

    You are doing absolutely great!! Ignore the miserable ones – they just don’t get it. You are an inspiration even all the way across the pond 🙂 Always good to hear that there are like-minded normal people out there. Good luck to you!!! Keep it up 🙂

  10. Daniele Smith August 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm -

    AMEN! 🙂

  11. Daniele Smith August 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm -

    Amen! 🙂 

  12. Kathy August 6, 2012 at 7:22 am -

    She wouldn’t buy anything from a guy in a black hoodie doing the black rapper thing with his hands?  If she said it to me, I’d reply with “That’s fine, Lady.  I don’t want to sell you any of my food anyway.  Grow your own food.”  That’s sort of the point, after all, isn’t it.  Just curious, but have you ever reached out to urban schools?  I bet kids would LOVE learning how to build and use a self watering container, and children are an important target (I think) for what you’re doing.  Seeing food growing is an awe inspiring and empowering (and hopeful) experience for kids.

  13. Cherise August 6, 2012 at 11:43 am -

    I have been gardening for many years, both in containers and in ground. I have a lot of experience under my belt but I am always looking for more information. You have been on my blog roll for over a year now and I wouldn’t change anything you’re doing. I find that much of the new gardener stuff doesn’t pertain to me but I’d never complain about you introducing more friends to growing their own. Incidentally, it was you who inspired me to go organic on my whole property (2 acres) this year. It doesn’t matter how small or large your property is, we have common problems and can learn from each other. It’s been a little rough strengthening the soil and fighting the weeds but I feel very proud to say they are chemical free and to not be supporting those companies.

  14. Mary C. August 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm -

    AMEN! good to see you stand up for yourself 🙂

  15. stacy August 8, 2012 at 9:20 am -


  16. sjambok August 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm -

    It’s good to see that more yunguns are getting a clue that we, in an urban (or not so urban) setting, need to make our living area produce FOOD that we know where it comes from instead of stuff imported from South American or worse, China where there are no controls for pollution whatsoever.    Recent article in the SF Chron which talks about tainted (containing great amounts of LEAD) ginger and plum candies originating from China..
    “what you don’t know won’t hurt ya.

  17. Andrew Odom August 9, 2012 at 11:24 am -

    Always standing by you bro! 

  18. Juicer Depot August 10, 2012 at 7:24 am -

    AMEN for sure!  I love your style.  You are so passionate about what you do and that is what I really like about you most.  When I see that someone is so passionate about what they do then that Is where I go for information and answers on how to do something.  It doesn’t matter if you wear a black hoodie.  

  19. April Rameé August 10, 2012 at 9:00 am -

    I am a new reader of your page as of today and personally I think you are amazing at what you are doing. Putting yourself out in the interwebs to share your passion takes guts and time. Most people who put you down are just haters and love being able to troll the internet putting down people who are doing positive things, because their time is spent in the negative. Keep on keepin on and I hope to start learning more 🙂 And yeah I agree with one post…GET IN THOSE SCHOOL SYSTEMS AND TEACH THE CHILDREN!!!!

  20. Deanna D. August 12, 2012 at 7:56 am -

    I love your page!  I have a degree in Horticulture and I still love your page!!!!  Even if I don’t learn much that is “new” as far as technique goes…it motivates me!  If you can’t take the concepts you discuss and translate them into growing in the ground or on a larger plot of land…then you don’t have much of an imagination…it’s not that hard!  Seriously, I have over 2 acres and I’m so excited for my garden this next year.  We’re getting it prepared and ready to go!  I can’t wait for farm fresh veggies (and fruits) from my own backyard…and I love the research you do on organic companies for plant food and pest control…makes my life easier!  You also have some amazing sponsors that do AMAZING giveaways and coupons…thank you sooooo much for sharing all that with us!

  21. hyderabad Flowers August 16, 2012 at 12:09 am -

    I love that Flowers has integrated our natural world into our technological
    world. In my own opinion, it is this kind of imagination and creativity that
    will help create an environment that embraces both elements to build a more
    harmonious world.

  22. Whitni August 22, 2012 at 1:43 am -

    some people just won’t get it… follow what you know to be right 😀 there are many of us who are enjoying!

  23. beeethanyj August 23, 2012 at 10:22 am -

    I just discovered this blog and I love it. This is the only gardening site I’ve ever seen that makes me feel like I can successfully grow anything myself.

  24. star September 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm -

    This site is a breath of fresh air. Luv it.

  25. makingtracks September 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm -

    Amen! I just discovered your site this evening and can’t tell you how excited I am to have found a kindred spirit when it comes to food! =-) I moved from a large city in Louisiana to a farming region in Tennessee having no experience with gardening (other than a few failed containers I attempted through the years) with my sights set on growing all my vegetables. I studied as much as I could about organic gardening, but it was all a bit overwhelming and I am the sort of “shoot from the hip” type, so I just dove in. I have a little over 5,000 sq. ft. plot and have used open pollinated seeds and lots of sweat and even a few tears and some blood, but trial and error have taught me a LOT in the past two years. My garden is the talk of the neighborhood, not because its so great, but because I am the ONLY one growing organically. The local farmers think I’m a bit loony, but they have actually been taking me a bit more seriously when they’ve seen my produce and I’ve shared a few ideas with them. It was a bit funny to see their expressions when I mentioned manure tea, but everyone was more than happy to offer their animals efforts to my concoction!! Maybe I’ll get a few converts from the old chemical routines they have fallen into and back to the natural way of growing. I am really looking forward to reading all your posts….the ones I haven’t gotten to yet tonight, and your future posts. I’m always on the lookout for tips and new ideas! btw…..I like your hoodie :-]

  26. Mike Lieberman September 15, 2012 at 9:28 am -

    THat’s what’s up. Glad to connect!

  27. me February 11, 2013 at 2:59 am -

    you are doing a great thing sharing experience out of your kindness.. there are a lot of selfish people out there. Keep up the good work.

  28. Heather April 1, 2013 at 7:48 am -


  29. Mery May 1, 2013 at 4:25 am -

    Thank you for sharing! It’s a lot that you do PLUS giving us your know how!

  30. Stefani Bel May 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm -

    This is the first time I read your site but….I can’t believe people could write this kind of comments. How could somebody ask you to change the name of your site? Really rude.

  31. Veronica May 14, 2013 at 4:40 am -

    Amen!! Unbelievable how rude some people can be. Just discovered your site because of the name. The other comments are simply too stupid to respond to 🙂

    You will continue…surely?

  32. Ashlyine Brooke May 22, 2013 at 7:13 am -


  33. Tracey Garrett May 23, 2013 at 11:07 am -

    Thank you for this site! I am just beginning a garden on my apartment balcony. This is a great place to start!

  34. CJ May 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm -

    We live at 7200 ft in the mtns east of Albuquerque NM on 5 acres. We have been in a severe drought for years and this year is the worst. We decided to give up our 2 big gardens and go with containers and raised beds to preserve water. SO whatever we can fit into our courtyard is our garden. We have tomatoes & peppers in huge pots. I would like to know how you set up the water irrigation to the buckets. BTW, don’t give those non-productive contributors any of your precious time…they aren’t worth it. You are doing a good thing here. Thanks for nay help you can offer.

  35. Squeaky June 3, 2013 at 4:58 am -

    After years of waiting to garden until we “settled down” or bought a house I finally said screw that! We have a pretty big balcony that we have never used, I swept it off, the kids bought me garden chair for Mother’s Day, and I bought a mint plant and planted it in an ice cream bucket! Ha ha. I now have big plans to enjoy this space and share it with some leafy friends. Your site looks like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read some more.

  36. Valley veggies June 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm -

    I’m so happy to find your site-we been complaining about living in an apt rather than a house and your blog renewed our enthusiasm and got my partner and I fired up to really put to use our 4 x 30 private balcony and start planting veggies n herbs now.

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