Farmer of the Week: Sinead Hartmann
Number of Years Urban Gardening: 1
Favorite Things to Grow: Tomatoes
Urban Farming Location: Playa Vista, CA
Gardening Advice: Enjoy its therapeutic effects!
Why did you first start growing your own organic food?
I moved to Playa Vista, a new community on the West side of LA that emphasizes everything green in life, from recycling to energy efficiency to conservation. Growing your own food goes hand in hand with living here and everything I needed was provided for me. There are garden plots available to rent (which strongly appealed to my lazy side) and once I saw them I just had to start.
What is your favorite thing to grow?
Tomatoes are easy, hundreds of varieties to choose from and many ways to incorporate them into cooking.
Who taught you how to garden?
Self taught, although the interest in fresh delicious food is something I was raised with. Having an Italian mother and spending half our lives in Italy, our Irish family had a huge advantage when it came to the table. In Italy fruits from our garden - pears, peaches, plums and figs - would be discussed and eaten with enthusiasm. Even the market veggies were scrutinized on a daily basis. Constantly evaluating the freshness and taste of foods and dishes gave me an early interest in good food.
What advice do you have for beginner gardeners? Plant what you want to eat, start with something pretty much fail proof.
How many hours per week do you spend in the garden? 3-4
How many minutes per day? Anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours.
What is your biggest challenge in the garden?
Bugs, such as grub worms and birds who love picking off my tiny baby lemons – Aaargh.
What are you growing right now?
Tomatoes, sunflowers, garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, lemon tree, chilli’s, carrots, strawberries, snap peas, courgettes and one helluva stubborn giant pumpkin.
How has growing your own organic food affected or changed your life?
It has improved the quality of it. I never thought I could derive so much basic pleasure from gardening. My 4 year old and I stroll to the garden plots, tend to our veggies and then bring some home to use for dinner. Creating meals for my family from seed to plate is an enormously satisfying wholesome feeling. To know that every bite is brimming with goodness and health benefits is the cherry on top!