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Nov 1, 2019
Gardener Of The Month: November 2019
Burpee  Edible Gardening Team Members

The Practical Gardener - @miss_kenpo_julie

What inspired you to start gardening?
An orange tree. It’s that simple. There was an old orange tree in the backyard of my parents’ house since long before we moved in. It never produced well, was always a sickly thorny mess. My parents would occasionally try something drastic to try to revitalize it but never had much success and would usually only damage the tree more. I was determined I was going to have fresh oranges. So after a couple years of taking over its care and learning and treating that tree, we had a bumper crop of some of the sweetest oranges. Along the way I got more and more into other gardening, but it really started with that tree.

Describe your garden.
Our garden is very practical – every plant has a purpose. From the pollinator-attracting flowers, to the vegetable-providing plants to the shade-giving trees. We have very little space to work with in our small urban, inner city yard so we have to make good use of every square foot. It’s a nice relaxing bit of calm in the middle of a bustling city.

Do you cook?
Cooking is actually a big part of why I got into gardening in the first place. I love to cook and what better way to make an already great meal even better than to add fresh vegetables and herbs you grew yourself? Everything tastes so much better homegrown compared to store bought.

What’s one piece of advice you would give a beginner gardener?
Don’t be afraid to experiment and occasionally fail. It’s a learning process and nothing works 100% of the time. Also find yourself a good group of people to talk and interact with regardless of their experience level. Facebook groups are an invaluable resource.

Do you have any other hobbies?
Quite a few actually- we live only a few short hours away from the Texas Gulf Coast. I love to get away there as often as possible. I love to relax in the sand, fish off the pier and just enjoy the salt air. I’m a very outdoor-oriented person so this is where I find the most relaxation. Other than that, I’m also a fanatic in the kitchen. I look to cook and try out new dishes and types of food.

Any pets?
We’re a big pet family. Our pets are a daily part of our lives. We have 3 goofy dogs and 3 crazy cats – all of which are rescues. To add to the craziness we also have 5 fish and a parakeet. Each of my pet babies has a unique and quirky personality that makes every day a little more interesting.

If you had a personal theme song, what would it be?
The theme song to The Office. My life often feels like a mockumentary.

Favorite veggie?
Even though I grow a large variety of peppers, I’d have to say my favorite is still okra. It’s such a tasty and versatile veggie that’s often overlooked. Even though okra plants are such great producers, my kids are such fans of it, it’s almost impossible to keep enough on hand. Whenever they see me gathering veggies for dinner, they always ask, “Is there okra?”

Do you grow a lot of peppers like November’s Gardener of the Month? Drop her a line in the comments to let her know what you grew this year or visit Burpee Home Gardens’ webpages to explore new varieties of peppers:
Hot Peppers
Sweet Peppers
Banana Peppers

Reader Comments (1)
What a great story - love it!!!
Monday, November 11, 2019 | Augie Sanchez
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