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Episode 91: My Mom’s 10 Tips for Beginning Gardeners and Edible Landscapers

tips for edible landscaping and beginning gardeners



So excited to welcome my MOM back to Bloom and Grow Radio today! It feels very fitting to have her joining us so close to Mother's Day! You might remember her from Episode 20: Talking Tomatoes when she gave us her Italian secrets to tomato gardening, and now she's back to talk about what she's learned with 5 years of edible landscaping under her belt (and a lifetime of general gardening experience). She shares her top 10 tips for Edible Landscaping and Gardening with our audience today and has a LOT to share. You might hear birds chirping in the background, that's because we are Italian and have birds in our kitchen and they wanted to be a part of the interview as well!

In this episode we learn:

  • My Mom's history as a plant lady
  • Her garden growing up with my Italian Grandparents
  • Her tip for how to memorize your houseplant names
  • Her process for evaluating her new house and figuring out how to start a garden on new land
  • How she chooses plants for her garden
  • How she grew the “Failla Farm” section by section over 5 years
  • Mom's top 10 tips for edible landscaping and beginning gardeners!

Mama Failla's Top 10 Tips for Edible Landscaping and Beginning Gardeners!

  1. Start SMALL: get to know your land, start with one section of land, or with one type of edible (like herbs) and see how they do in one season. Then, as you get more comfortable, expand you garden slowly and steadily.
    1. Herbs are a wonderful place to start as they communicate with you and tell you what they need. Be careful with mint, only plant that in containers.
    2. ** extra tip- when planing herbs, continue to plant seeds in with seedlings, that way you will have a continuous harvest
  2. Understand your light and water
    1. Track the light throughout the spring and summer season. Make sure that you wait for trees to grow their leaves back in late spring before you plant. You could think you have lots of light, but then their leaves grow back and you realize your garden is in shade.
    2. Understand where your water is coming from. Plan your garden close to your hose or irrigation system. If you are hand watering, make sure you plant a garden that you can water (don't bite off more than you can chew).
  3. Understand your soil
    1. Amend your soil before the main garden season. Mom adds moss and lots and LOTS of compost. Mom goes to her local dump and gets bags of compost that she adds to her garden.
    2. You can get a soil test done with your local government extension office
    3. Make sure the soil you buy is soil you can transport! If you can't life big bags of soil or compost… don't buy them!
    4. Add compost into your soil in the start of spring, so by the time you're ready to plant, your soil is healthy and ready!
  4. Pick what you can do, what you want to do and what you can afford to do.
    1. To save money, divide your perennials at the beginning of the spring – more plants for free!
    2. Choose the right plants that you want to see and what thrill you
    3. Time your garden so there is always something in bloom:  my mom has Tulips and hyacinth in the early spring, edibles in the summer, sunflowers in the late summer/fall and cabbage in the winter
  5. Get family and friends involved
    1. Assign family members different garden tasks
    2. Share cuttings and plants with neighbors
    3. Teach neighborhood children how plants grow
    4. Have extra tools on hands for ready and willing helpers!
    5. Talk to the older gardeners in your neighborhood, they are a treasure trove of tips and information!
  6. Get your gardener involved
    1. If you're nervous to start your garden, have your gardener help. Even just paying someone to help get you set up with the right plants is a worthwhile investment.
  7. Plan your seasons
    1. If you want a spring season of flowers, you'll have to plant those bulbs in the fall
    2. If you want color all summer, you'll need to plant annuals
    3. If you want sunflowers in September, you have to plant them in May/June
    4. Plant cabbage in the fall and they will last the snowy season (if you are in the Northeast) and their flowers are beautiful
    5. Think about variety in color and texture and where you plant everything
  8. Start with annual color
    1. Use annuals like coleus or sunflowers for color pops in your garden
  9. Choose a time to devote to your garden
    1. Gardens are not a one shot deal
    2. Pick a time and go out at least 3 times a week to check on the garden and weedn and see how everything is grow
    3. Weeds can get ahead of you really quickly if you leave them on their own
    4. Mom recommends going in the morning because the afternoon can get hot and the plants aren't their happiest
  10. Protect Yourself
    1. Do not show an inch of your skin in the garden!
      1. Mom's garden outfit
        1. closed toed shoes
        2. long socks with pants tucked in
        3. long plants
        4. long sleeve shirt tucked into gloves
        5. DOUBLE GLOVE with thin gloves under garden gloves
        6. a hat that protects the back of your neck
        7. sunglasses!

For the start of Failla Farm in May and an inside look at my Mom's Germination Station, check out our youtube tour!

Thank you to this week's episode sponsor: Modern Sprout!

For more information on Modern Sprout's amazing *NEW* line of smart indoor grow lights and adorable and innovative hydroponic grow kits, seed starter kits, seed pops, planty accessories and more visit and use code “15BLOOM” at checkout for 15% off.

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