Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Vote for Your Favorite Green Thumb

Posted by

Last week Homegrown, our gardening show on Martha Stewart Living Radio ran a "What was your big green thumb moment?" contest. Below are the three finalists for the contest. Please vote on your favorite story in the POLL. The person with the most votes wins the contest. Winner receives a mower or composting bin!

Please note: The poll closes on Monday, March 16 at 11:59 PM EST. On Tuesday, March 17, please tune in to Homegrown on Sirius 112/XM 157 between 9:00 and 10:00 AM EST to hear who won the contest.

My mom was an avid gardener during my childhood years. I truly resented this fact because she would often ask me to help weed (a task I loathed) and I felt she wasted much of her day in the garden. I vowed to her that I would never ever have a garden. She knowingly listened, but said, "It's great therapy. You'll feel differently about gardening when you are older. It is in the genes." I knew at that moment that she was wrong.

Well, much to my surprise, she was right. I do not know exactly how it happened, but once I moved into my own home, one of the first things I wanted to do was plant a garden! I did not even realize the irony until one day, while I was proudly showing my sister my herb garden, I began to chuckle to myself as I heard my mom's words echoing in my mind. She was right! Not only did I have a garden, I loved every second of it and felt the same sense of accomplishment that she did as I gazed upon my small albeit well-stocked herb garden. Now I could never imagine life without a garden.

I owe my passion for gardening to a woman who passed away months before we bought her house in early November. The scraggly backyard was uninspiring. Come spring though, gifts started appearing. Wide leaves folded around the tiny white bells of lily of the valley. Delicate bouquets of bridal wreath welcomed me at the front door. Peonies provided blooms to float in a glass bowl. The scent of a mock orange was intoxicating. Later, I harvested blackberries, and made jelly from the purple elderberries. All this without lifting a finger, I thought, just imagine what I could do once I invested some thought and work. Never having gardened before, I devoured garden books, and eagerly experimented with their many ideas. I grew carrots and covered them in hay, harvesting all winter. From the pride of production, I learned to enjoy vegetables I had avoided, like broccoli, peppers and onions.

Every meal I announced "This is from our own garden," a pleasure I continue to this day, 30 years on. But for the gifts of that first garden, I might never have been seduced by the pleasures of ornamentals and the superior taste and pride of growing my own food.

I'm a student who shares a one-bedroom apartment in an urban neighborhood with my husband. My patio is roughly the size of a twin bed -- not enough room to create an outdoor room, but too much space to leave bare. Last spring was our first as a married couple and we were feeling our space needed a fresh beginning (just like us!).

Since we're on a budget and into being as self-sufficient as possible, we decided to turn our little patio into a garden. After some lengthy research, we gathered our containers and began planting. The garden started out with dwarf fruit trees, heirloom tomatoes, berries and lots of great herbs. As summer drew on, the plant list expanded to include almost every basic (and exotic!) garden staple imaginable.

We practiced companion planting so we could keep our garden as condensed and organically grown as possible. The most incredible moment of our first garden was biting into fresh baby-sized watermelon in the heat of summer. I've never tasted sweeter. All the naysayers believed we were crazy for trying it, but now they're asking when they can expect some more great food from our little garden!

Comments (44)

  • I vote for Gina. She does a lot with very little.
    I can't figure out how to vote for her - so I hope my vote counts!

  • I think Gina has a little of that Maine engine-uatty in her

  • I would also like to vote for Gina. Congratulations on your great use of a small space!

  • Thanks, everyone, for your interest in the contest! To vote, you must scroll back up toward the beginning of the post where you'll see a box with three flowers and the entrants' names next to them. Use your mouse to "check" a box and then click on "cast your vote". When you've clicked that button, you'll get a results screen to see how the contestants are doing.

  • Hey Gina, great job on the watermelon and your garden on your patio! It looks like you were resourceful with the room you have, and I like that you and your husband are being self-sufficient. You have my vote.

  • Gina you rock you are my only vote.

  • Way to go Gina! I have had similar aspirations because I haven't had my own backyard. Now I know I can do it!

  • C'mon Mary! You have a great story and will definitely finish out on top! Good Luck!

  • Keep it up Mary! You are most deserving of the win! =)

  • All interesting stories. Thanks for sharing. I love gardening like all the ladies stories above, but Gina's hits closest to home for me. There was no greater joy than trying our first watermelon and "fruits" of our labors. I think Gina should win using her green thumb to win over the naysayers, even if she can't mow yet!

  • Thanks everyone for your comments everyone! =) It's a fun contest!

  • Whoops- double everyone.

  • GINA'S STORY IS FAKE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LOL- ooohhhhkay Mohammed. Who are you?

  • I do have a gardening blog to prove it, if anyone needs to see it.

  • gina that was great i hope you win

  • Please everyone play nice! I wish the best of luck for Mary, Kate and Gina. Please refrain from writing negative comments -- this is a Martha Stewart contest after all. Thanks.

  • Thank you, Alexis. That comment really surprised me.

  • Thank you all for the votes! Great news! My 86 year old mom, whom I wrote the story about,just had to have an unexpected surgery and did really well so far. When I went to the hospital to see her before surgery I was able to read the story to her and tell her that it was a finalist. She was thrilled!
    Thank you, Alexis, for keeping things fair.

  • Hey gina congrats from Bonita springs fl. Lila Feliciano and family

  • That's great news!! Best wishes to her. Moms are such great supporters. I related to that portion of your story; my mom gardened when I was younger, as well, and she always made us plant seed and keep things tidy. Backbreaking work, indeed. But very much worth it now; I was able to translate some of that knowledge into the container garden. Moms know best! =)

  • Great Job Gina, I hope you win. Phillipa

  • I vote for Mary!

  • Thanks Phillipa! I appreciate it!

  • Thanks to Lila and her family as well!

  • I love the garden on a patio idea - where there's a will, there's a way. Good for you Gina, best of luck!

  • Thanks for the nice wishes, Gina! Yes, moms do know best. It is amazing too how the love of gardening never stops. My mom lives with me now, and even at the age of 86 she goes out into the garden whenever she is able to to check the progress of plantings, looks at the bulbs bursting forth reassuring us that spring is coming and even weeds during the growing season! She is amazing!

  • Go Gina!!! :o )

  • Gina, congrats from Tampa, Fla.

  • Kate, your story is beautifully written and very inspiring! I like how you recognized the gifts springing from the earth, and how you chose to cultivate and encourage those gifts to enrich lives even more. I also enjoyed the fact that you were just as thrilled with the flowers as with the produce.

  • A little bit goes a long way,
    Good Luck

  • Great story, Gina!

  • Gina,
    I am so proud of all the effort you do just to be so self-sufficient but in a creative way... you do this with cooking, decorating, gardening, writing, etc. In fact, your a Martha Stewart on a budget and without a crew... probably like what she was when she just started. I think she'd love your style!

  • Whoops! I meant to write "you're" - just excitedly writing a comment. :) A Big Thank you to all our friends!!

  • Wow, I didn't know there was a second page to the comments! Hi Mom! =) And thanks everyone.

  • I must admit I am entertained by everyone's comments on this blog post. Gina & Mary -- how did you hear about the green thumb contest? Did you tune in on the radio or stumble across it on this blog?
    Thanks and Happy Friday everyone!

  • Hi Alexis-
    I subscribe to Martha's email newsletters and wanted to view one of them in more detail, so I came to the site. Of course, that lead to more browsing around. =) Browsing lead to discovering the blog, which lead to noticing the contest announcement. That pretty much sums up how I ended up here! Have a great weekend!

  • Great to hear that you are doing so well with all your gardening and ideas. Hope school is coming along as well. Keep up the good work, it is nice to have contact with you again after so many years.

  • Hi Alexis,
    I heard about the contest while listening to Sirius radio. I often listen to the Martha Stewart Living Channel. When I heard the description, I felt I had to share my story.

  • My vote is definitely for Gina! Great story!

  • Gina, where is your blog?

  • I voted for Mary...Mom's need to get some credit...God Bless..

  • Congratulations, Gina! Hope everyone has a wonderful gardening season. Spring has almost sprung! Hallelujah!
    Thanks to all who voted for me. Happy gardening,

  • Hi! Thanks Mary and thanks to everyone else. To the above poster, it is
    Thanks to Martha Stewart and her staff as well, for this contest. It was really fun!

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.