If you visit our blog, you’ll notice that Hardy Heart and the crew are learning about the value of gardening. So to continue this thought, we wanted to introduce you to some innovative people and ideas that we’ve found around this subject. We recently met Mike Lieberman who is the author of the Urban Organic Gardener Blog. Read his interview and then head on over to his site to get some great ideas about how to start a garden with some recycled containers and a small space!
OWG: You’re a city boy, so how did you get into gardening and what kinds of gardens do you plant?
Mike: Growing some of my own food has been a journey in personal health for me. It wasn’t until 2006 that I started to think differently about western medicine and personal health. Then in 2009 I was living in the East Village of New York City and I decided to grow my own food. All I had was a fire escape and some imagination. I had no experience in gardening, I just started researching. I quickly found that gardening books are pretty boring. They are very technical and read like textbooks so I just decided to try it myself and learn as I go.
OWG: People often think you need a lot of space to garden or that you just end up with an ugly ‘hole’ in your yard for most of the year, but from the photos we’ve seen, you have simple containers that create beautiful green spaces. What are some of the everyday items that you use to create your gardens?
Mike: In creating my gardens and growing my own food I’ve re-used such items as 5-gallon food containers, soda bottles, shipping pallets and coconut shells.
OWG: How have you seen gardening impact the healthy choices that people make?
Mike: Growing food helps people reconnect with their food source. I’ve found that people who grow or source their own food locally are usually of sounder mind, body, and spirit. In addition, there are factors like the distance food travels (on average 1500 miles), the chemicals used to protect food from insects, and the treatment of those harvesting our food. These are some of the reasons I started to grow my own organic produce.
OWG: Another perception held by many people is that gardening is expensive and time consuming. What would you say to those hesitations?
Mike: Excuses, they are merely excuses. It can be expensive and time consuming if you choose for it to be. I’ve been able to do what I’ve done on an extremely limited budget with a little time investment. Each container I make costs less than $5 to make! Incidentally, I also don’t think that a huge garden is for everyone. If we all were to grow just one plant or herb, it would make a huge impact, not only individually, but also for the environment.
OWG: Why would you encourage anyone to venture into the world of gardening, even if it’s just a few plants?
Mike: I would encourage others to try it out for one simple reason … Because we’re humans and humans have grown their own food for hundreds and thousands of years! Only in the past 100 years or so have we put that responsibility into the hands of other people.
OWG: What’s your favorite thing to grow and why?
Mike: Lettuces and sprouts. They are easy to grow and easy to use!