Tell us a little bit about your niche topic.
What is the definition of a “green thumb?” For some, it means the natural talent to grow healthy plants. But for me, it means a learned skill, acquired by study and practice. I believe that anyone can grow their own food and gorgeous landscapes…they just need a little know-how! A wealth of knowledge is available on Squidoo about growing all kinds of plants in almost any climate. It is my hope that as gardening enthusiasts, we can pool our knowledge to benefit both seasoned and brand new gardeners, alike.
Tell us about the moment you fell in love with your topic. Was it an immediate thing or did it happen over time?
I have always admired gardeners and dreamed of being one. But sadly, for many years I considered myself to have a black thumb. On a whim, I applied for a scholarship to attend the Master Gardener program at my county extension office. As luck would have it, I received a full scholarship and excitedly began my studies, immediately digging a garden in my backyard. Information collided with experience, and I began to have great success at growing vegetables and ornamental plants. Success led to a passion for gardening. As a former elementary school educator, I also love to teach. I currently combine my skills and passions to teach gardening classes to growers in Phoenix, AZ.
Who had the most influence in your life?
I was influenced early on by my Opa, my paternal grandfather. A product of the Great Depression, he did not depend on the grocery store, but grew a great portion of his own food. A frugal man, he gardened using natural methods, such as making his own compost, rather than buying commercial fertilizers and pesticides. I loved wandering his garden, eating fresh peas and raspberries during the summer. During the winter, we enjoyed my Oma’s jams, pickles and other preserved foods. I wish that I had asked him questions and learned from him while he was alive. Long after he passed away, I took my family to see his house. Sadly, the garden was gone. But the neighbor happened to be outside, so we stopped to reminisce. When I mentioned how sad it was to see that the garden had been converted to a lawn, she broke into smile and told us that she was always jealous of my grandfather’s tomato plants. Although he was generous in sharing t hem, and also explained to her how he grew them, she had never been able to duplicate his success in her own garden. If I can become half the gardener that he was, I will consider myself fortunate.