The Local Palate Newsletter
Sign up to recieve news, updates, recipes, cocktails and web exclusives about food culture in the south

Share this article via email


Save 72% off of newsstand price now!

Subscribe to The Local Palate
Shop Marketplace Savor the South Newsletter Tableaux Newsletter Shop the South Marketplace Newsletter Snapshot: Nashville Newsletter Snapshot: Atlanta Newsletter Snapshot: Charlotte Newsletter Snapshot: Austin Newsletter Subscribe Digital Edition Send a Gift Customer Service App Store Google Play

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Get the latest from the Local Palate, straight to your inbox.

Get Your Garden Going

Get Your Garden Going
Photo by Christina Oxford


I remember the first time I planted a garden. I wanted to show my kids where their food came from and let them experience the whole cycle from planting the seeds to harvesting beautiful, delicious vegetables. I remember thinking about the miles of farmland in rural South Carolina and how easy the farmers make growing crops look. I was not intimdated in the least, why shouldn’t my garden be successful? I went to the bookstore before I planted the seeds and I remember laughing at books with titles like The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden. How naive I was! Since then, I have tried to plant a garden many different times. I had the natural summer where I made tonics out of onions and garlic to keep the bugs away and fertilized with mixes of dark beer and baby shampoo. The bugs came anyway and I had very little to harvest of anything I planted. The next year, I had the commercial garden where I fertilized with Miracle Gro and doused everything with Sevin’s powder but even then the bugs came and I had very little of anything to harvest.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart or those with little persistence. Just when you have tackled one problem, such as soil issues, along come the burrowing worms. It gets frustrating and expensive. Imagine my delight when I learned of Rita’s Roots. Rita Bachman is a gardening consultant and has the answers to all of our persistent gardening questions. Rita travels to her clients homes and assesses their garden design, where the garden sits in the yard, the amount of sunlight the garden receives, the pH of the soil,etc. She will help you get organized by keeping records of what you plant and when and will help with plant selection and fertilization. According to Rita, the secret is in the soil and she can help make sure your soil is balanced and is ready to support a garden. Another issue she can help you tackle is when to harvest. It might seem obvious but just when is a head of lettuce or okra ready to be picked? Rita recalls her first garden and watching the head of lettuce get bigger and bigger and then send up a shoot, flower and get bitter.

The popularity of the localvore food revolution has made home gardening more popular than ever. Garden consultants are everywhere and they can help turn your green thumb conundrum into a gardening bounty. I only wish I had reached out to one sooner. Happy Gardening!

Here is a list of just a few garden consultants in the South:


Jean McWeeney, The Natural Garden Coach


Kris Barton, The Garden Coach


L. Daniel Ballard, Green Thumbs Up!  

Daryl Pulis – Mrs. GreenThumb

Jelle Tamminag, A Garden of Your Own

North Carolina:

Helen Yoest, Gardening with Confidence

Ellen McGavern Kirby, Garden Coach

South Carolina:

Rita Bachman, Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest

Germain Jenkins, Urban Veggucation


Gail Barton, Yard flower

Mentioned in this post: