February’s Featured Gardener

Hello everyone!

I am excited to publish my first Feature on Gardenoir! Please help me welcome Benny to the community…

Name: Benny
Home city: Tampa, Florida
Hardiness Zone: 9/10
Gardening or Farming: Gardening

What made you start gardening?

“After I left the Marines in 2000, I felt something missing in my life. I felt the need to do more, so I started to read books on gardening and landscaping. I actually used to own a small landscaping business and I really enjoyed being outside and working with my guys…it really helped me to appreciate life and just in general watching something you love grow with time and patience.”

Why do you think gardening is important to our community?

“We work inside our offices and we rush inside to our AC and technology. I just personally think as a society we need to get back in touch with the land and Mother Earth. We need to teach our kids and show them the ways. It’s a great family bonding experience to eat something you have grown… I feel it’s important to get in touch with nature and learn how to create with our hands.”

What do you like to plant? What are some new things you have been experimenting with?

“I would have to say I have been playing around with Bok Choy. A friend of mine challenged me and said that I could not successfully grow it in Florida which is Zone 9. Bok Choy likes a little chill. Can’t wait to taste them.”

Awesome. What advice would you give to the novice gardener/farmer? What would you say to convince people that gardening is something to try?

“Good questions. Start small. Grow what you and your family will eat. Don’t spend [a lot of] money, everything for the most part for someone just starting out is free. Recycle seeds from tomatoes and peppers. Soil and water. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use Youtube or visit your local library. I would say gardening is like money in the bank. You can produce enough fresh veggies for your entire family in time and with a little effort. You are what you put into your body. We don’t know what’s in our food. Natural is the way to go.”

Benny enjoys planting from both seeds and existing plants and trees. He also enjoys sharing his harvest with friends and family by cooking from garden to table. He is excited to see how his new peach tree will do this year. And oh, the Bok Choy… I can’t wait for an update.

Benny’s Gardening Life in Pictures

Benny has been gracious enough to provide us with some photos of some of his work. The captions are his words and they express a sense of happiness and pride in what he does. I found joy myself as I was looking through his work. Click on the pictures below to see his stories…

I hope to have more for you about Benny’s harvest as the season progresses. I am wishful that he will have some more stories and great advice for us. Thanks, Benny!


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