At Urban Organic Gardener, we’re all about sharing inspiring stories of how people are growing food in small spaces. A while back, we found Sow and Sow Gardens on instagram and have been following them ever since. What they’re doing is truly inspiring.
How did you get started with your blog/Instagram page?
“I got started with my personal Instagram page. I would post all kinds of things about what I was going and what troubles I was having in the garden. Then someone asked me on Instagram if I had blog. At the time, I felt like I was no expert and how could I possibly write a blog. About a year later I decided I really enjoyed growing food and why not write about it.”
Did you start your blog/Instagram when you started your transition to live this life style?
“I was let go from my job of almost 7 years and decided I wanted to help my husband out with growing food. We had two mortgages and bills. I figured that growing food would help and that it would be less of a grocery bill. Yes, I began to have many followers on my personal page who was interested in my gardening. I wanted to come up with a creative name. I asked my sisters for their help. My sister Nnenna was like “you are in the South…you know they always say thing like….you know….so and so down the street”. “Why not Sow and Sow Gardens, like sowing seeds.” It was perfect!”
“No, I was not always this way. I started learning about GMO’s about 7 years ago. I started reading the labels on things I was buying from the store. Then I started reading about more issues about the food that we were consuming into our bodies. I started telling people at work but of course they would look at me funny. I was the “Earthy One” was what they started calling me. When I started growing food, it was something amazing to see a seed pop its little head out of the dirt. It was just magic to me. It was so beautiful. It was my creation is how I saw it. I know this might sound corny but I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the world. It has to begin with ourselves if we want to see any change come about on this planet.”
“There is nothing like growing your own food…Period. You know where it comes from and how it was grown. I feel great that I don’t have to depend so much on someone else to provide food for my family. It’s much healthier and taste better than what you will get from the stores. I also like teaching my daughter about where her food comes from and how it grows. As one can see, there have been a lot of issues on this planet when it comes the weather. California is going through a drought. I would not be surprised if the prices rose due to the drought. It’s something my family will not have to worry about . I have started 2 apple trees, goji berries bushes and artichokes. I want to have a little food forest in my backyard. Start off little and work your way up. I started growing my own food 3 and half years ago. I started with a 7×4 raised bed.”
What tips and tricks could you share with other people?
“Always see for yourself how things grow. I was told that radishes did not transplant well. I wanted to see for myself. I transplanted radishes and carrots. The radishes came out great but not the carrots. There are always different results for different growers. I also like to start my seed on paper towels. For two years I could not get pepper seeds to germinate. I was on youtube one day and put in the search engine how to germinate pepper seeds. Someone started theirs from paper towels. I gave it try and now I germinate all my seeds this way. I have the hardest time trying to germinate seeds in the dirt. “
“Oh my!!! Yes, I learned to NEVER put mint in the ground. I have been trying to contain that mint in the backyard. The first year, the soil was bad bad bad. I didn’t amend the soil well. Nothing would grow. I thought planting it was all I needed to do. I started researching and reading lots of books. I was on the internet and YouTube a lot. That’s how I really learned how to grow food. I have never really been able to grow tomatoes well. Looks like this year, I might have some luck. Leafy greens always grow best for me.”
How did you overcome any obstacles?
“My first and second year was hard. I was learning the whole process. I had to learn about the soil. I wanted to give up but I just kept trying because I loved gardening…my creation. I dealt with flooding last year and it ruined most of my crop. It just sat in water. So I had to find another method of growing food with lots of water involved. On my blog I showed the whole process for months of what I went through for the backyard transformation. I tried the double dig method. It’s a lot of work but it worked for me. You have to see what works for you. The double digging method was the way to go. The beds were high enough that the rain did not affect the food. The book that saved me was ‘How to Grow More Food’ by John Jeavons. For me, this is my garden bible.”
Have you ever dealt with a person who disregards your life style?
“No I haven’t met anyone. The only thing I hear from people is that they don’t like to get dirty. I love it!”
What are some of your greatest rewards with a lifestyle such as the one you live?
“It brings a peace of mind. Just walking out of my back door to get herbs to cook is a wonderful thing. We have less of a grocery bill. Knowing where my food comes is the greatest reward there is.”
To follow their journey of building a backyard food forest, you can subscribe to their blog.