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THE GROWING CHALLENGE: Evangelist Edition!

The Growing Challenge: Evangelist Edition

A New Challenge!

I know some of you have been waiting for a new challenge.  You’ve been reading seed catalogs, or thinking about maybe growing a nice garden this year, reading books maybe, and thinking about taking a gardening class… Or maybe you haven’t really been thinking much at all about it.  Maybe this idea is new to you, or maybe it’s old hat – you’ve been growing for years.

Whatever your history, I challenge you to join me in doing something new.

The Rules

In a nutshell:  Grow 3 crops from seed, and plant the seeds in 3 new people.

1.  Grow 3 Crops from Seed this Year. I leave the details up to you, but I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone – even seasoned gardeners.  If you are still learning, feel free to grow the easy stuff, or seeds you might have grown before.  If this is old hat for you, you might try to grow something new – challenge yourself!

2.  Plant the Seeds in 3 New People.
In other words, inspire 3 new people to grow crops from seed this year.  I know for some of you this means really stepping out of your comfort zone.  But you can do it.  We’ll all support each other – this is how we change the world, one bit at a time!  It’s easy.  Let your enthusiasm shine through what you do.  Be an inspiration and resource to others!

This could be your neighbors, your friends or family, people in your community garden, people in your book group or parents at school…  You can wait until someone asks you, or you can strike up a conversation with them.  And you don’t have to do it in person!  You can write an article in your local newspaper or community newsletter (I’m writing an article in my local garden newsletter), if you have a blog you can write a blog post about how easy and fun and cheap seed starting is, you can volunteer at a local senior center garden, you can inspire your kids to grow with you….

If you’re more experienced, think about teaching a class at your community center, or a community college – you might make a bit of money at the same time!  Or you could teach gardening at your kid’s school (maybe help them grow a garden?), teach someone in your community garden, or participate in an online forum – so many easy ways to spread the word.

3.  Tell the Stories About Your Seed Planting Here. We all want to hear your stories!  So in the periodic updates here, come and tell us how you’re doing, ask questions, talk about your experiences teaching others, your frustrations or thoughts or ideas or whatever.  We want to hear them, and take advantage of this awesome community!

Need More? Go Extreme!

The Growing Challenge:  Extreme Evangelist Edition

For the Optional Advanced or Extreme Edition, add this step as well:

4.  Make it Seed to Seed! Grow 3 crops from seed, and save the seed from each of those 3 crops to grow them next year.  That means you do have to buy open pollinated seeds (not hybrids), and learn a bit about the crops so that you save the seed well enough that they’ll produce a good quality crop next year.  I’ll be continuing to write about saving seeds in the coming months to help out.

Can you swing it? I’m thinking about ways to reward those who participate in the bonus edition.  Maybe a special prize*…

Experienced enough that you still need to up the stakes for yourself? GO FOR IT.  Leave your new stakes clearly in the comments below, and we’ll all help you stick to it.

*if you have any thoughts, I’m all ears!

Still working on your green thumb?

Still “green” to gardening?  Not yet have a green thumb and want to start slower?  Try the original growing challenge here.

Join Us!

All you need to do to sign up is leave a comment below with your name, where you’re gardening, and what hardiness zone you’re in.

Find your hardiness zone:  U.S., Australia, CanadaEurope, South America, China. For other regions, I don’t have links so give it your best guess!


If you have a blog – or a refrigerator, or computer desktop, or place to post at your office – please spread the word!

The Growing Challenge: Evangelist Edition The Growing Challenge: Extreme Evangelist Edition

To add a button to your blog, right-click on the image and save it to your desktop. Then upload it to your blog as you would any other image, with a link to:

Oh, and once you’ve uploaded the image, check to make sure the link works and the image loads correctly. Feel free to email me if you have any problems and I’ll see if I can help.

To print or download the doodad, click on the image, which will open to a bigger version.  Then download by right-clicking on the image to save it to your desk top, or choose print from your file menu.


Check out the loads of content here at Organic Gardening 101. I’ll be adding to that growing list as we move into Spring!

Who’s In?

I’ll be listing names right here in this post as people join, so come on and join in the fun!! All you need to do to sign up is leave a comment below with your name, where you’re gardening, and what hardiness zone you’re in!

  1. Deb G, Bee Creative, Pacific NW, Zone 7/8 – Extreme
  2. Abby, Woodchuck Acres, Indiana, Zone 5a – Extreme
  3. Jackie, Zone 9a/b
  4. Catherine, Love Living Simply, Texas, Zone 8 – Extreme
  5. Deb C-G, Simple Not Easy, Western Canada, Zone 5a
  6. Rob, Rob’s World, Burien, WA, Zone 8 - Extreme
  7. Judy, My Freezer is Full, Iowa, Zone 5a - Extreme
  8. Tree Huggin Momma, Frugal is a Green Journey, Western NY, Zone 5
  9. Lorna, Intrepid Experiment, United Arab Emirates, Zone 11 - Extreme
  10. Sheryl Gallant, Providence Acres Farm, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a - Extreme
  11. Jen R, Emerald Sunshine, Iowa, Zone 5A
  12. Spanishloquat, Bermuda, Zone 10/11
  13. Ken Toney, Our Mountain Farm, West Virginia, Zone 5 - Extreme
  14. Lise, In The Purple House, Western Massachusetts, Zone 5
  15. Belinda, Belinda’s Place, Mt. Dandenong Victoria, Zone 2/3 (Aust) - Extreme
  16. Simple in France, The Simple Life In France, France, Zone 6/7
  17. Withajoyfulheart, Simply Seeking Jesus, Quebec, Canada, Zone 4
  18. Really Rose, Zone 8 - Extreme
  19. YOU!

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36 comments to THE GROWING CHALLENGE: Evangelist Edition!

  • Oh absolutely I’m in, and definitely in the “extreme” category. Saved tomatoes, beans, and squash last year. I’m so excited to see how they grow. I’m already planning on helping some friends put in their first veggie garden this year. My new neighbors want to start gardening too. The new crops that I’m going to grow from seed this year are peppers and melons. I bought pepper starts last year and they set fruit so I’ve decided that there is a warm enough spot for them. Just have to see about melons! Zone 7 (right on edge of zone 8) Pacific Northwest.

  • I usually grow herbs from transplants, but get frustrated by the limited selection and early bolting, so I plan to start my own from seed – the basil is already growing inside! – and plant more successively. The herbs are good targets for seed saving, too. I am always encouraging friends and neighbors to grow something, anything in their yard. I garden in Indiana, zone 5A. Thanks for this great idea!

  • Jackie

    Zone 9 almost at the a/b line….two seeds already started, one to go…….

  • Count me in!
    I ordered seeds for a new community garden last night. We are planting the garden in the churchyard in the city we live in, and hope to involve many of the neighborhood children in planting and tending the garden.

    I ordered lots of fun things for the children’s garden: purple beans, pineapple tomatillo, baby bear and wee be little pumpkins, strawberry spinach, watermelon radish, etc., etc.

    We hope to save seed from this year’s garden to share with others and to use for next years planting.

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • I’m in. Last year I pushed for (and got) a community garden. This year we hope to expand our number of gardeners. Last year I grew tomato plants from seed for everyone who wanted them. I gave away 80 tomato plants. I’ll do the same this year, plus I’m going to do my next neighbourhood “eco-letter” about growing microgreens on your deck or porch, as we have lots of seniors and disabled folks who find regular gardening too difficult. In in Western Canada, zone 5a. Thanks for keeping us challenged!

  • Rob

    Ok I am in. Extreme edition for me. Now to plant those *&^%$$ broccoli seeds!

  • I’m in. Extreme edition. I saved seeds last year from 7 varieties of tomatoes and 6 peppers (5 of them hot!) I need to be better at the evangelism though. Although part of the problem is that, living in the midwest US, many of the people around me already garden. Oh, I’m in Iowa, Zone 5a (pretty darn close to zone 4!)

  • I am in. I have your blog post about 4 season growing bookmarked and I reread it quite often. I dream of lush greens in the winter and I am inspired to jump right in. I was hesitant to buy my raised bed kit, but with the special I have found I am ordering it. It won’t be big enough to feed my family this year, but it will be big enough to get my feet wet. I have seeds, some purchased and some saved. I planned to start all as seedlings indoors, plant the heartiest seedlings accoding to the spacing directions and give the remaining seedlings away (and by doing so I can tell people how easy it is to grow from seed).
    My daughters are 8 and 11 and each is going to pick thier own seed to raise, but they won’t count as my 3 people (because that is not outside my comfort zone :)
    Thanks for the challenge, and and the directions on the button. I am going to include your button and link in my next blog post (I just learned that blogger has a device for imbedding links ;)

  • I’m in! (I think) I am living in the United Arab Emirates, and as far as I can tell, we are equivalent to Australia zone 5/6 or US zone 11. Yikes (I come from Northern MN, zone 3). I think I may have missed my window of opportunity to grow things here as it is already warming up. But, if anyone has advice on growing plants in a hot desert climate using desalinated water, I would love to try. We used to have a wonderful garden my then 2-year old son would snack out of :) Now my children think food only comes from boxes in a grocery store :( I will be starting an after school child care program at my son’s school in a month and would love to do some planting/growing with the kids, most of whom, I’m sure, have never seen a vegetable garden.
    I recently started my own blog and would love to include your button and link in an up-coming blog post. I hope it works!

    Also, I will do the extreme version if I can find non-hybrid seeds over here!

  • This is a great idea! This will be my first year growing veggies from my own saved seed. I have always grown annuals and perennials this way, but never veggies. I am looking forward to this and to saving more varieties of seed for next year. My goal is to need never purchase seed again.

  • I’m so in. Iowa, 5A. (And could you please change my website address link on the original growing challenge if you haven’t as of yet? I had to switch domains.)

  • I live in Bermuda and teach the Grow Biointensive method. Our zone
    is 10/11. Our island is small, isolated geographically, and highly populous. There are some specific environmental conditions that we have to take heed of such as alkaline soil, wind, salt spray in coastal areas, summer drought and heavy winter rains. I keep open-pollinated seeds and share them when I have excess. I also trade seeds. I grow everything from seed including some rare fruits. My courses are 4 weeks long and I have one each month during the primary growing season which is from September to May or June. I am looking for land to use as a community garden especially for people who most need the support.

  • Woohoo! Welcome to the challenge, everyone!

    Jen, I’ve corrected your link on The Growing Challenge as well as added it above.

    Lorna, it will be very exciting to watch your garden grow. In my posts about Four Season Gardening here and here, I addressed protection from heat a bit – I’ll think about this and write more about it. Our garden in Geyserville (Northern California) survived and thrived in regular temperatures well over 100F in the summer, so I’m confident we can get you and the kids at your son’s school growing and eating fresh veggies!

  • I’ve been looking forward to the new Growing Challenge for 2010. We are joining the Extreme Edition. I already have the link and a new post on our blog, . Our farm is in zone 5. We have a lot of guests every year staying at our lodge and farm, so I’m sure we can inspire 3 new people to start a garden. We are buying all of our seeds from Baker Seeds, Johnny Seeds and Territorial Seed, all have signed the Safe Seed Pledge. I’m getting ready to start some seeds indoors and under low tunnels this week. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

  • I’m in. I have a very shady garden in Western Massachusetts (zone 5), so my challenge is growing things that can handle the shade (not to mention my inept gardening skills). I’m going for the evangelist edition. Blogged here:

  • Ok, I’m in this year, and will go extreme.

    Mt Dandenong Victoria, Aussie Zone 2-3, currently mid summer. I grew a new summer crop, hulless oats so lets count that as one. I’ll get back to you on the new winter ones as my current plan was to use up seed from last year thus I am pretty sure it’s all currently repeats.

    Kind Regards

  • Oh, for the lady living in United Arab Emirates wicking beds and 50% shade cloth are probably the best way to go. Both techniques slow evaporation down enough that you may still be able to grow even at this time of year..

    Kind Regards

  • So, I posted on my blog and got a reader to join in! Yay. 1 down, 2 to go.

  • ballet shoes

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites :-D

  • Hey fun! I’m in. I’ve already planted garlic :). I’m in France and our hardiness zone is 6/7. I’m going to go for the easier challenge since I’m in the middle of moving and will be rather nomadic for a while. I’ll probably grow in pots. . . I don’t know who I’m going to ‘convert’ yet though . . .probably my unsuspecting in-laws.

  • Wow, what a great challenge. I have grown from my own seed before. I harvested some seed from last year…but won’t totally base this year’s whole crops on it as I’m a newbie at seed saving ~grin~. I have never evangelized seed sowing before. Sounds like fun. I’m in Quebec, Canada with hardiness zone 4. Starting peppers next month. We had a crummy growing season next year, but I am encouraged to try, try again.

  • Lise, awesome! Yeehaw.

    Welcome everyone!

  • [...] have a lot of new readers, and several new gardeners signed up for the Growing Challenge Evangelist Edition, so I thought I’d make it easier for you new gardeners to [...]

  • I’m in, and what fun this will be too. I’ve doubled my garden space at the Community Gardens and I’ve already got in my green-thumbed little hands seeds for three new-to-me open polinated garden plants. Two are squashes and one a tomato. Can’t wait to get started.

  • Oh, got too excited. I forgot to indicate that I’m a zone 8. Happy gardening!

  • Hello! I would love to sign up the the growing challenge again this year {Evangelical Edition}. I am in North Bay, Ontario, Canada with a hardiness zone 4a.


  • I used to be The Urban Trowel, now thanks to the growing challenge seed-to-seed edition I’ve started a business, Itty Bitty Seeds. I aim to grow for those who want seeds for a 100 mile diet, supporting eating locally right from the seed. This Seedy Saturday I sold 41 packets of seed, not so shabby when you consider how tiny the crowd was! I am in the process of planning the gardens for this year, 12+ tomato varieties, 17+ beans, 7+ lettuce… Growing slowly as not to get overwhelmed!

    I am in the Kootenay region of BC, Canada, zone 5/6.

  • Have you ever looked, I mean really looked, at the leaves on your tomato plants? Even though I’ve raised lots of different varieties of tomatoes in my gardens over the years, I haven’t paid much attention to their leaves. This year, as a participant in the “Extreme” Growing Challenge, I have lots of seedlings started, so I really have been paying a lot of attention to leaves.

    Read more here –

  • I’m totally late to this party, but I still want to participate. I grew almost my whole garden from seed, and I’ve already started collecting for next year’s seed starting adventure. I can’t wait to explore the other participants and see if they have good tips for collecting seeds!

  • Cindi Lou Who

    I’m still learning. I’ve had a garden once, then a bad garden once or twice. This has been over the past 10 years. But this year, I am going to try really hard, and I plan to learn to can some produce, if I can buy the supplies.

  • Cindi Lou Who

    Oops-forgot to include my zone-it’s 7-the great state of North Carolina!!

  • I’m in for the extreme. This is just what I need to get re-energized about my gardening! We have had two terrible summers in a row (cold, cloudy and short) and I’m trying to adapt what I can grow. I tried to graft some tomatoes on potato plants last year with no luck. Greens did really well, Tomatoes ok with lots of inputs. Last year I saved seeds from my spring onions, angelica, and shiso.

    I live in Portland, Oregon which in a tricky zone. Some say its a 7 and some a 6. If you create sheltered mini climates you can sometimes get away with zone 7. But we get crazy cold east winds and freezing rain in the winter so I stick with zone 6. I have chickens, kids and an unfair amount of snails (these are listed in the possible pest category). I tolerate the chickens for their delicious eggs and compost. The kids occasionally dig holes or park their bikes in the wrong location, but they love to eat from the garden and that enthusiastic grazing makes up for any annoyance. The snails have been officially thwarted in their plan for world domination because we have started eating them!

    I blog and I co-chair the gardening program at my kids school, so that is hopefully where I will find my converts.
    Thank you!

  • [...] a bit of a late start this year with my garden planning, but now that I have the motivation of The Growing Challenge I’m moving along.  I found this great seed starting chart (see below) adapted to our [...]

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