Paul is a physician and the father of three children living in Los Angeles with his wife, Elsa. Ever since graduating from college he’s always had a veggie garden, from Chicago to North Carolina. But here in Los Angeles, it’s his biggest urban farm yet. This year he grew 80 ears of corn.
NUMBER OF YEARS URBAN GARDENING:
More than 20 on a small scale, 3 years on a large scale.
FAVORITE THINGS TO GROW:
Corn, tomatoes, strawberries, onions.
URBAN FARMING LOCATION:
Mar Vista, CA (a Los Angeles neighborhood)
Good soil is critical.
YOUR OWN GARDENING TIPS AND TRICKS:
Good soil is critical
WHY DID YOU FIRST START GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD?
Mostly for fun, because i like gardening, both the flowers kind and the food kind.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO COOK OUT OF THE GARDEN?
Too many to list.
WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO GARDEN (OR HOW DID YOU LEARN)?
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNER GARDENERS?
Don’t be afraid to try things that don’t work out. That’s the only way to figure out what will grow well in your area and how much effort you do or do not want to put into it.
HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK DO YOU SPEND IN THE GARDEN?
2-3, more in spring when planting, less in summer when harvesting.
HOW MANY MINUTES PER DAY?
Maybe 15 minutes during the weekdays, more on weekends.
HOW MUCH SPACE ARE YOU USING TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
Not sure. probably between 100 and 200 square feet.
DO YOU RAISED BEDS, CONTAINERS, THE GROUND OR A COMBINATION OF WHAT?
Almost all raised beds.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN THE GARDEN?
Snails and slugs.
WHAT ARE YOU GROWING RIGHT NOW?
Corn (3 kinds), tomatoes (4 kinds), strawberries, peppers (3 kinds), string beans, pole beans, basil, potatoes (2 kinds), asparagus, artichoke, carrots, parsnips, zuchinni, eggplant, cucumbers. Onions are already harvested. Garlic and peas and greens when it is cooler.
HOW HAS GROWING YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD AFFECTED OR CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
It’s been a great social thing, because we grow it in the front yard, and we constantly get people stopping to look and ask questions and share growing tips.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT´S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE GROW THEIR OWN FOOD?
I think it’s good to understand where food comes from, and to decentralize the production of some kinds of food.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE THING ABOUT GARDENING?
ANY GARDENING “TRADE SECRETS” THAT YOU´D LIKE TO SHARE?
Not sure I have any trade secrets.
OTHER THOUGHTS OR COMMENTS?
I’d like to encourage everyone to grow a few things. it’s easy, fun, and the food tastes good.