One of my earliest lessons in gardening was that plants are the great equalizers.  They don’t care who you are, how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. 

What matters to a plant is that they get their needs met and so long as Mother Nature sees fit to give you somewhat favorable conditions for whatever it is that you’re trying to grow then to that plant, you will be a rock star.

When I founded the Riverside Community Garden in NW Atlanta at the beginning of June of this year I chose to locate it in an empty and largely abandoned lot right across from my house.  I didn’t just do it for the convenience though.  The lot gets an amazing amount of sunlight every day from morning through the late afternoon.  The lot had been overgrown with grass and weeds for years, so I knew the soil beneath would have at least something to work with other than the typical clay in the region.  Turns out I was right.

I have been breaking the mold since day one of that project.  I came up with the idea and broke ground 10 days later.  I’m the fly by the seat of your pants guy; that’s what works for me.  Now, 7 1/2 weeks later we have a beautiful community garden that is producing amazing fruits, veggies and flowers with plans to expand it every chance we get.  I didn’t do it by following the rules and you don’t have to either.

Hell, I still haven’t got on site water yet even though I started service with the water company a month ago.  The abandoned crack house where the garden is located doesn’t have any plumbing, you see, so Michael gets to play plumber and that’s not a quick and easy process since I don’t have any jeans that show off my butt crack.

Use What You’ve Got

The most common mistake I see among new gardeners is that they rush out to the big home improvement store and spend hundreds of dollars on everything they think they are going to need.  They saw it on a TV show or read it in a magazine so they must need it, right?  Wrong.

For example: Stop buying those damned expensive seed starter sets and use your brain.  An empty egg carton is the perfect size to start seedlings and your probably just toss those in the trash anyway. 

What about that plastic yogurt container?  Fill it with dirt and plant a freaking seed already.  Stop making excuses and just do it.  No room?  Bull.  I’ve seen people turn their front stoop into a rainforest and grow so many veggies they had to give them away to the neighborhood so don’t tell me you don’t have somewhere to grow something.

If all you have is a rusty hubcap, use it.  Cracked Tupperware?  Use it.  Get your hands dirty and let’s get growing already.

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