AT A GLANCE:
Where you live: Central IL Zone 6a
Day job: Registered Nurse
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite holiday: Gardening season ;)
Favorite veggie: Fresh Asparagus
Favorite activity (other than gardening): DIY projects
Favorite movie: The Grinch
Describe your garden.
Our garden is unique because it is planted in an old horse pin, and we are fortunate to live in a part of the country that has some of the best soil in the USA. I feel for everyone that has to emend your soil… you are the real MVP's! Our garden dimensions are 30 ft by 70 ft with 5 raised bed planters on the outer edge that we added last summer for perennial plants like asparagus, strawberries, herbs, and climbing berries.
What’s the hardest thing about gardening?
The hardest part about gardening is the gamble of the forecast in the Spring and Fall. One day you think you're fine to plant your garden and the next day you may wake up to snowflakes!
If you could have one gardening superpower, what would it be?
Summon unlimited garden space and fast forward time on perennial plants like fruit trees, grapes and asparagus so they can be harvested the first season you plant them.
We love farmers markets. Tell us about how you started yours!
Ugh, I love farmers markets too! I live in a small town in Central IL where the nearest Walmart is about 30 minutes away. We are blessed to have a local store that does supply fresh produce, but I noticed there were a lot of creators and makers who lacked an outlet for their products. A friend of mine and I went to a "community pride" meetup at our local bar and got started on the topic of a farmers market. We left that night with no definite plans, but I couldn't stop thinking how exciting it would be to have one in our town. In February 2019, I messaged my friend, and she hadn't stopped thinking about a market either. We decided to just go for it! We messaged everyone who had ever mentioned the words "tomato," "produce," and "garden" on Facebook, and by the start of our season, we had over 20 vendors at each market.
Talk to us about being from a small town and how you think that has had an impact on you.
I am so thankful to be surrounded by grain bins & cornfields & that I can see a sky full of stars from my own backyard. I love that my grandparents are only a few miles away. I love walking into the local store and always seeing at least one person I know. I love driving to work and seeing my father-in-law in the combine. I love that I can start a farmers market, and the entire town will support me. I love that I met my husband when we were 17, and our future children will attend the same school where our love started. Growing up I always remember saying I would NEVER live in my hometown when I had my own family. Fast forward 10 years and I couldn't have even imagined a life as wonderful as the one I have… you guessed it… in my hometown. Life is funny sometimes. You don't realize what you have until you leave it. I feel so blessed to call my small-town home sweet home.
We see you’re also a nurse! Do you see any connections to your work world and your gardening world?
Absolutely! I think my love of people and nurturing goes hand in hand with gardening. In nursing school, we were required to take a nutrition class, and I think that really helped spark my love of fresh produce and wanting to grow my own food.
If you were to give a class on one gardening topic, what would it be and why?
I would say a class on how to get a garden started. The whole process can be very overwhelming when you are a beginning gardener. Having someone walk you through step by step would be very helpful.
As a 2020 Gardener of the Year, you received 2 sample boxes of Burpee Home Gardens’ 2021 new varieties… one for you and one for a friend! Who are you giving your second sample box to and why?
I'm going to use my sample box for the community garden in our town! We are fortunate enough to have gained access to 5 raised beds through running the farmers market, so I'm going to share this produce with my community and encourage anyone and everyone to go harvest the produce anytime they'd like!
P.S. @smalltowngardenlife just gave birth to twins! Give her your congratulations in the comments below!