Sowing the Seed
I never thought I would grow up to be a professional gardener!
Is that even a thing?!
In college, I was studying Natural Resources Management and thought I would save the rainforests.
One day, I was asked by a peer, (who was the University’s Student Garden Manager), to come to a volunteer workday in the garden.
Well, that day changed my life.
I remember the feeling of purpose I got from weeding the carrot patch and the feeling of peace I got just from sitting on the ground touching the plants and weeds.
On this glorified garden, (⅓ acre!), I felt a connection to something real that I hadn’t ever really explored before. Different than just being in nature for a hike for sure. It was the intersection of plants and people, people and plants.
I felt like I was connected to something bigger than myself… like I was touching the true essence of what life’s all about… (or should be).
When I returned home that day, I felt a bit lonely. There was such a sense of community surrounding the garden, so much life. It felt good to get some manual work done that day, some fresh air always serves me well.
I looked down at my nails and noticed bits of soil underneath them; I felt a sense of accomplishment. I flopped on the couch to relish this great new experience as my eyes adjusted from the sun to the darkness of my house.
The haul of vibrant, fresh veggies I got to bring home with me from the farm continued to nurture the connection I felt that day. The veggies seemed so alive, just sitting on my countertop. The taste of them… so sweet.
A few days later, I returned back to the garden to volunteer and started to learn from the experienced gardeners there. The fascination of this beautiful exchange between plants and people kept me coming back for more. And the vitality of the produce I took home with me each week changed the way I connect with and perceive what food really is.
Through this all, I had been guided to discover a gift that had been dormant in me. That is, my natural knack for growing healthy plants. I understood them, but I attribute so much of this to learning the foundations of the garden ecosystem from the more experienced growers at the garden.
It all made so much sense when I learned that water will roll off compacted soil and sink in better to loose soil protected with mulch. That some plants need to be thinned to make space for larger root development like carrots and turnip. That plants actually like the stimulation of harvesting and if done correctly, harvesting actually triggers new growth.
To take it a step further, I was so excited by this new understanding of how plants work in the garden, that I couldn’t help but to share my knowledge with others, and practice what I knew. I pushed the boundaries to test and experiment what I had learned, to see just how tough plants could be.
My dedication to learning about plants, and to honing my skills as a gardener, absorbing wisdom both from more experienced growers and from the plants themselves, landed me an opportunity to step into the Garden Manager role.
From here, it was game over. Beginning in 2012, I’ve held a professional or management role in the horticulture industry growing plants, and managing people who are growing plants (lots of teaching!).
From small farms to commercial-scale organic food-production greenhouses, setting up custom plant nurseries, and designing public display beds for the City of Denver, I’ve touched nearly every realm of growing plants that one can get their hands on.
No matter which area of horticulture I was working in, I always had food growing somewhere. Either in a garden of my own, or in a shared garden space, I’ve never been able to let go of how important nurturing that connection is in my life. And how valuable the food that comes from it really, truly is.
I founded Teach Me To Grow in 2017 to share gardening with those who know they feel called, but don’t know where to start, or folks who are struggling to “get it right”.
I’ve taught over 30 major public classes on vegetable gardening, consulted on well over 100 gardens, built over 60 unique garden spaces, and have grown professionally in three different growing regions. I’ve also built an online presence to share knowledge and encouragement on the subject of gardening. All in all, I’ve reached thousands of new and novice gardeners with powerful gardening knowledge that helped them grow.
Throughout my career, in all of these amazing opportunities, I reflect on what has been the most important lessons for me in becoming a successful gardener.
Without a doubt, it’s the foundational knowledge that I learned way back when at my ⅓ acre University student garden.
Learning from more experienced growers on the plant/soil exchange, the sowing, planting, growing, and harvesting techniques, how to monitor and address pests naturally, how to harness the power or manure and mulch. The soil/water and water/plant interactions that I came to understand. This groundwork is what has made it all possible.
And for folks I consult with, these are the lessons they learn the most from. Because when we understand why or how something works or doesn’t work, we learn so much more than just how to do that one thing.
This is how I approach my teaching. This is the stuff that The Sustainable Gardener course is made out of.
And the success I see goes so much deeper than just the veggies to harvest. It’s restoring that connection we all have as humans to nature, but first understanding how nature works.
If you feel called to garden, or have tried but are met with frustration, lack of confidence, disappointment, or just plain feel lost, I highly encourage you to check out The Sustainable Gardener course.
It’s a comprehensive gardening course that draws on my experience from over 10 years as a professional gardener and garden educator. It is literally the wisdom of dozens of mentors, plus myself, wrapped into one A to Z format guaranteed to take you to success.
Becoming a successful gardener and experiencing the joy of gardening (and of eating highly vibrational, fresh, truly organic food that you grew) is just one decision away.
Will you join me in the course and say yes to jumpstarting your success and reconnecting with plants through gardening? Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about the course. I would love to connect with you! I look forward to seeing you in the course and until then, Happy Gardening!
Founder of Teach Me To Grow & Creator of The Sustainable Gardener course