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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Are You Ready To Grow Yet???!!

Hi everyone – I hope you’re enjoying your spring!  The weather is just warm enough to start planting tomatoes here – I’m finally getting excited.

I wanted to cast another net out there to see if there might be a few of you lurking in the shadows… maybe you’re a little bit afraid to comment on a blog, let alone take a challenge.  Maybe you’re shy, maybe you’re new to this green thing, or maybe it’s old news and you don’t think you need a challenge?

Why Not?

You have nothing to lose except a few gloriously aching muscles and a little garden knowledge!  Come on, don’t be shy – I dare you to try.  Just try!

I promise to write about gardening, remind you to garden, get you excited about gardening, and help answer your gardening questions.  I also promise to help you get over any fears you have of growing from seed.  It’s surprisingly easy!

Put Your Name Down In the Comments… It’s Simple! Pretty Please?

The more people who sign up, the more fun this becomes.  A couple years ago we had over 200 people signed up!

And I know there are friends of mine out there who are aching to try these things but haven’t got up the nerve.  Now’s your excuse – I’m putting a big cherry on top with a big warm smile and saying “pretty please.”  :)

The Easy Guidelines

  1. For each of the four seasons of 2011, grow at least one type of fruit or vegetable that you’ve never grown before, and grow it from seed. (So at least 4 crops from seed this year – one for each season.)  If you’ve never grown anything, grow one thing! If you’ve never grown beans or carrots or lettuce or strawberries, try one of those…. And if you don’t have a garden, you can grow in a pot or on a window sill!
  2. Check in here on occasion, and maybe tell someone else about gardening. Checking in here allows us all to learn from one another – I won’t post all the time, but will try to do it once a month at least.  Ask questions, share stories, whatever you’re thinking about regarding your garden.  And tell others about gardening if and when you can – because it’s a great thing for the world to have more people eating from the land.  (Psst, this is one of the fun parts of gardening:  becoming a part of a gardening community.)
  3. Sign up in the comments below. Include your Name, your location, and your gardening zone (U.S., Australia, CanadaEurope, South America, China) – plus any other details if you like.  For example:
    • Melinda, Seattle, WA, zone 8. In addition to growing a four season garden, I’m going to try saving seeds from at least one crop in the fall.

Who’s In?

  1. Barely beautiful girl, Ohio, US – zone 6
  2. Judy, Eastern Iowa, US – zone 5a
  3. Deb G, Bellingham, WA, US – zone 7
  4. Green Bean, Bay Area, US – zone 9/10
  5. Ken Toney, West Virginia, US – zone 6
  6. Angie Harding, Southern Highlands, Australia – zone 3 Aust, zone 9 US
  7. Rue, Perth, Australia – zone 4 Aust, zone 10 US
  8. Lyndsay, London, UK – zone 8
  9. Michael J. Church, US – zone 5b
  10. Andrea, Cape Cod, MA, US – zone 7
  11. Andi, US – zone 4
  12. Rob, WA, US – zone 7
  13. Mark Ruhl, US – zone 6
  14. Kim, Long Island, NY, US – zone 6b
  15. Lynda, Sacramento Valley, CA, US – zone 9
  16. Jennifer
  17. Peggy, Denver, CO, US – zone 5/6
  18. Helen, Catonsville, MD, US – zone 7
  19. Marianna, Greece – zone 9
  20. Kory – zone 5
  21. Eryn – zone 5b
  22. Melissa (Bee Girl), Santa Fe, NM – zone 6-7
  23. Elizabeth, Australia – zone 8-10 US
  24. Christie Mandeville, Washington, DC – zone 7
  25. Grace, Atlanta, GA and Greenwood, SC – zone 8
  26. Heather Adkins, Louisville, KY – zone 6
  27. Catherine, Texas – zone 8
  28. Barb, Pennsylvania – zone 6-7
  29. Jeanine, Lost Coast, CA – zone 9-10
  30. C Robb – zone 7-8
  31. Melinda, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  32. Jody, Eastern Iowa – zone 4-5
  33. Shell, Eagle, PA – zone 5-6
  34. Dorothy, Southern California – zone 9-10
  35. Katherine, SE of Atlanta, GA – zone 7b-8
  36. Carrie, Newark, NJ – zone 7
  37. Brandi & Terri, Mankato MN – zone 4-5
  38. Guru and Giri, Bay Area- zone 8b
  39. Stacy, Indiana – zone 5
  40. Frances, Bermuda – zone 10-11
  41. Jonathan, Yakima, WA – zone 6a


Sign Up – You Know You’re Intrigued!

And if you’ve already signed up, or you’re already gardening, or you just want to check in and say hello – I invite you to comment about your garden – how’s it looking?

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19 comments to Are You Ready To Grow Yet??!!

  • Jody

    Jody, Eastern Iowa. In addition to all of my plants, growing 4 crops from seed from last years garden!

  • Shell

    Shell, zone 5/6, New Eagle, PA My garden went in 2 weeks ago. I planted garlic last fall for the first time and it is coming along wonderfully. I also planted spinach for the first time this year. Love my garden!

  • Dorothy

    Dorothy-Southern California

  • Katherine

    Katherine, SE of Atlanta, zone 7B/8. I can’t guarantee I’ll try a winter crop, but I’m doing at least 3 seasons. I’m currently letting my cilantro go to seed so I can collect the coriander.

  • Carrie, Newark NJ, zone 7. This is my very first year attempting to grow anything and I think I’ve gone a smidge overboard. Started tomatoes & peppers from seed and bought a bunch more at plant sales. Hope to get all these plants in the ground ASAP!

  • Brandi Jo

    Brandi & Terri, Mankato MN, zone 4-5, I honestly can’t grow anything, I leave that to Terri but we’re growing a garden large enough this year to (hopefully) not have to shop for produce for the fall and winter seasons. I don’t know what we will plant inside over the winter for the challenge, our cats love to eat tiny green sprouts…

  • Guru & Giri in the bay area- Zone 8B. Not sure if my new seedlings are going to make it through this harsh weather that has taken over the bay area

  • Rob

    Gsrden is looking good. Waiting for that really warm weather so I can plant my tomatoes. Peas and beans are up at the allotment, as are radishes, amaranth next to be planted.

  • Checking in, here. I may be getting a bit carried away. Most of the summer crops are planted in the main garden in SC. Did I really need 54 tomato plants for just the two of us? At my suburban Atlanta home, I have potatoes, garlic, onions, yellow squash, zucchini, pickling cukes, comfrey, and horseradish growing in pots. The best news is I’ve made a convert of my wife and she is helping me make some raised beds so we can really get growing in both locations! I ate the first of my own fresh peas last week. It was almost a religious experience. I can’t wait to harvest and try some of the other first time for me crops!

  • I am ready to garden!!! unfortunately, here in the Cleveland Area we are under water and have been for the wettest April and Early May to date. The farmers can’t get the crops in and we can not get the garden in either. Can not even think about tilling much less getting the green crops turned under. Even the lawns are soggy!!! What misery…

  • I’ve got some early stuff in but it’s been so cool and rainy here that I’m behind where I usually am. Usually I can trust planting my tomatoes and peppers by mid May but not this year. We had frost this morning so I’m still waiting… rather impatiently. But, I’m so fortunate that we haven’t had the rain that others have had. We’re just wet, not squishy or flooded.

  • Plaid Science

    Our garden is full this spring. Our new crops for our container garden are radishes, carrots, and cucumber. I have grown carrots in pots in the past, so I know that they will do well. The cucumber is blooming, which is so exciting. May grey is just starting in San Diego, so the sunshine is limited…but it is plenty warm.

  • Picked first lettuce last night. Potatoes and peas are going strong. Tomatoes are off to a good start, including the ones that I started with seed I’d saved. I think with the heat that we’ll have this week the spinach and radishes will take off. I’ll start planting some of my beans, squash, cucumbers, basil, and more Swiss chard this weekend as the night time temps are getting closer to 50 degrees. My new crops for summer were peppers from seed, garbanzos and lentils. I have one pepper start that is looking really good, not so sure about the garbanzos and lentils, think the slugs got them. Oh and I’m going to try a melon. Was going to do that last year but didn’t get to it.

  • Hi

    I am from Bangalore …. the Garden city of India and love gardening. I grow flowering plants that bloom in profusion and have also grown a few vegetables and fruits.

    I have recently started to blog and write about my interests which include recreational mathematics , sustainable living and of gardening .

    I really enjoyed your posts….particularly the one on sweet potatoes. That is going to be my next plant for growing . Do sweet potatoes grow well if one gets just 1-2 hours of direct sunlight? Do the vines need to be trailed up a trellis or can it be allowed to trail on ground? What about pest control , since I am told that this plant attracts a lot of pests.

    Thanks for sharing so much information and links to other sites.

    I would be pleased if you visit my blog at .. and provide your comments if any


  • We’re picking and eating lots of lettuce and chard. I’m thinking it’s not going to be too happy here when the hot temperatures come in the next month or so. All our other seedlings are growing bigger and bigger. We ate our first strawberry yesterday (plant purchased from store and planted 2 months ago now). And I’m thinking we’ll begin eating some of the sweet pea greens really soon. The delicate tendrils are calling me.

  • Jonathan

    Yakima, WA Zone 6A. First year with backyard garden.

  • Jen R./Emerald, Mount Vernon, Iowa, zone 5a. I’m going to incorporate even more vegetables into my garden this year and start an herb garden (on a fence). The herb garden is really an expansion, but I’ve never had so many as I will this year. I want to say that I’ve grown a ton (how punny) since I signed up my first growing challenge where I’d never had a garden!

    Thanks Melinda!

  • Mieko

    I am newbie to gardening. I will plant tomatoes from seed, starting as soon as I can go buy the supplies! Fun!

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