Ready, Set, Grow

Ready, Set, Grow
Whether you start with pots or plots, these local gardeners help you spring into action and reach that homegrown goodness. Find out how you can reap what you sow — and then some.

The 21st-century woman embodies eco-consciousness, money savvy and the confidence to take on DIY projects. Combine all of those characteristics, and you have yourself a modern-day gardener.


Home gardens have been growing in popularity across the nation, and you can jump on that trend that's spreading like weeds but satisfying like a lush landscape. Stephanie Andrews, the Cincinnati Gardener on, and Vickie Ciotti, executive director of the Civic Garden Center, share their advice for starting your own home garden.


Get Started


You need to have a location for your garden before you start digging. Whether this location is a field, a small plot of land or a pot, anyone can find a place to turn seeds or seedlings into full-grown produce producers.


"Growing food in a small space is OK. People are growing tomatoes and peppers and a lot of things in pots on a balcony," says Andrews, who started her own garden in a 4-by-2-foot plot that she since has expanded to a 20-by-2-foot plot.


Sow Your Seeds


Once you have selected your space, it's time to decide what you will plant. To help you decide, Andrews recommends consulting Tri-State experts, as they will know what grows best in area soil. Local gardener Denny McKeown offers his locally-focused agricultural advice in book form.


For personal interaction, head to the Civic Garden Center or a local farmers' market for gardening knowledge and expertise. With upcoming classes that cover everything from "Sustainable Gardening with Native Herbs" on April 10 to "Composting Basics" (another big trend) on April 20, the Civic Garden Center offers a variety of topics from area experts to help gardeners every inch of the way. "We really meet people wherever they are in terms of their gardening experience and their desire to garden," Ciotti says.


For the beginning gardener, Andrews and Ciotti both recommend tomatoes. "I don't know that I've ever heard somebody say, 'I planted tomatoes, and it was a horrible experience.' Everyone has great luck with tomatoes," Andrews says. And the Civic Garden Center will offer a class specifically geared toward "Homegrown Tomatoes" on April 20.


Reap the Benefits


Gardening provides much more than just plants growing in the soil. The most obvious benefit of the activity is the wealth of nutritious food it provides. From red tomatoes to orange peppers to yellow squash, your garden can put color on your plate, thus providing you with the vitamins and minerals you need while keeping the grocery bills down.


Before any food gets to your plate, though, gardening helps your health through physical activity and mental relief. "I call myself a recovering couch potato," Andrews says, but now she has replaced her TV-watching ways by getting her hands dirty in the garden.


As she works out the weeds, she also works off her stress. "It's really nice to be able to connect with the outdoors and not really have to go that far," Andrews says.


For more information about how you can get your garden growing, head to to learn more about the Civic Garden Center. Or read Andrews' blog at




Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Stephanie Andrews
Location: The McAlpin


Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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