Gardening: How to grow your own organic produce in your yard


The book “Gardening for Geeks: All the Science You Need for Successful Organic Gardening” (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2020), by Christy Wilhelmi, arrived just in time, as it focuses on vegetable growing in your own back yard — or front yard, if that’s where it’s sunniest. In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, self-sufficiency is the order of the day. Upon visiting my neighborhood supermarket as the corona chaos erupted, I noticed that certain vegetables we take for granted had been sold out.

Not only will you have a constant food supply if you grow your own; you could use your crops for barter as well. For example, I imagine that you could probably trade a basket of scrumptious homegrown produce to a neighbor who had an extra supply of something you need but is missing from supermarket shelves even if, as a typical gardener, you are no doubt a caring and sharing soul prone to giving away much of what you grow for free.

Reached by phone, Wilhelmi informed me that she has not really felt the effects of the coronavirus crisis all that much. (You can reach her for consultations at 310-773-4806 or email

Bubbling water attracts pollinating birds and bees as well as butterflies and beneficial insects. (Photo credit: Christy Wilhelmi)

“I am a vegetarian and grow most of my own food,” she said. “Plus I have eggs from the chickens in my yard. The water for my garden is stored in rain barrels and our energy source is solar.”

Wilhelmi grows between 70-80% of her family’s produce on a plot that’s only 300 square feet in size. So it’s possible to be self-sufficient in Los Angeles and you don’t need much space to do it. Regarding chickens, their manure is a valuable ingredient of compost and, for no extra charge, chickens will eat those fig beetle grubs that hatch and fatten in compost piles.

“Gardening for Geeks” is replete with basic information and useful tips that can be of assistance to novice and experienced gardeners alike. Highly readable explanations of the science or the “how and why” of common gardening practices are an added bonus. I could write ten columns on the content of her book which consists of spectacularly sensible advice that demystifies soil improvement, composting, and fertilization. Wilhelmi is not afraid to reference the negative side of common gardening practices such as the application of gypsum which, while lowering …read more

Source:: Dailynews – News


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