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Farmer of the Week: Mindy and Shera Paskil

by on August 14, 2012

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I first met Mindy and Shera at the Spring Garden Show in Costa Mesa, CA.  Mindy is a true lover of gardening and she lights up when she talks about it.  And Shera is just like her mother.  Mindy is a photographer and Shera helps run the business. They’re quite the duo.

It is lovely to see a mother and daughter tag team their vegetable garden together.  They are the quintessential example of urban farmers and we’re so glad to feature them here on UrbanFig.

Check out the Mindy’s photography here.

NUMBER OF YEARS URBAN GARDENING:
3 years

FAVORITE THINGS TO GROW:
Vegetables and roses.

URBAN FARMING LOCATION: Orange County, CA

GARDENING ADVICE:
It’s all in the soil. Always use the best soil, even though it costs more. It’s well worth the cost and comes back to you in abundance with a great crop.

YOUR OWN GARDENING TIPS AND TRICKS:
When gardening organically, have patience and remember that you’re always donating some of your crop to the bugs and other critters.

WHY DID YOU FIRST START GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD?

We started growing our own food because we’ve always had rose gardens and wanted to try something new. There’s nothing better than being able to go outside and pick fresh blueberries in the morning to put in your cereal, or tomatoes that have been soaking up the sun all day for a salad at night.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK OUT OF THE GARDEN?
We always have an abundance of tomatoes, so anything from roasted tomato soup, gazpacho, various pastas, and tomato salad with feta and onion are some of our favorites. (click here to view recipe)

WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO GARDEN (OR HOW DID YOU LEARN)?
Mindy: “I learned from reading books and magazines, and just trying different things.” Shera: “I learned mostly from gardening with my mom, and by reading books.”

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNER GARDENERS?
Have patience, and have fun. There’s change in your garden every day, and every season.

HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK DO YOU SPEND IN THE GARDEN?
6 or 7 hours per week, but we wish we had more time to spend out there.

HOW MANY MINUTES PER DAY?
About an hour or so a day. Between the two of us, that’s a lot of work getting done!

HOW MUCH SPACE ARE YOU USING TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
We’re not quite sure of this one, because we have it spread out around our backyard.

DO YOU RAISED BEDS, CONTAINERS, THE GROUND OR A COMBINATION OF WHAT?
We use all three. Our raised bed is the newest addition and we love it.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE GARDEN?
Snails. They like the vegetables as much as we do, and it’s harder to get rid of them all when you’re gardening organically.

WHAT ARE YOU GROWING RIGHT NOW?
Various types of tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatillos, strawberries, beets, onions, artichoke, and squash.

HOW HAS GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD AFFECTED OR CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
It’s something that we share as mother and daughter because we both love it so much. We’re always so excited about going outside and picking our own fruits and vegetables every day. Growing your own food is so rewarding, but it’s also a lot of fun.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT´S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE GROW THEIR OWN FOOD?
So they know exactly where it’s coming from, that there’s nothing being put into it that we wouldn’t want put into our bodies. It’s also a great learning tool for kids. Our four year old niece has her own strawberry plant in our backyard and she’s asking constantly if there are berries on it and when she can come over to water and pick them.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE THING ABOUT GARDENING?
Sharing it with each other and having fresh food every day.

ANY GARDENING “TRADE SECRETS” THAT YOU´D LIKE TO SHARE?
Leave lots of room for zucchini plants! They tend to take over whatever space you have, even if it’s inhabited by other plants. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things you haven’t tried before, you never know if you’ll end up growing something you love. Also always tie up your tomato plants. They go pretty wild and will end up growing in space you didn’t even know you had.

OTHER THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS?
Invite kids to spend time in your garden.

Carol Carimi Acutt

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