Texas Urban Organic Gardener Grows Just About Everything On 1/5 Acre

Here’s the inspiring story of an urban organic gardener making the most of her backyard…

This amazing urban organic gardener is living proof of just how much you can do on a very small piece of land! Lori grows dozens of fruits and vegetables organically in her 0.17 acre yard in North Central Texas.

Lori first began growing her own food after learning about the harmful chemicals that are prevalent on most commercially grown produce. She wanted to eat foods she knew were safe and healthy for her body and her family, so she took the plunge and started a backyard garden. A few years later, Lori now grows fruit trees, medicinal herbs, and loads of both perennial and annual veggies, and hopes to add chickens to her yard soon.

Check out the interview below with UrbanFarm.org to learn more about this inspiring urban organic gardener:

What are you growing?

An easier question would be, “What am I NOT growing?”  I grow veggies, fruits, and herbs of every shape, size, and color. On my 0.17 acres, I have:

  • 12 fruit trees (fig, peach, pear, apricot, plum, cherry, and persimmon),
  • medicinal herb trees (linden, hawthorne, elderberry, toothache tree),
  • fruit bushes (blackberry and blueberry),
  • medicinal herb bushes (rose, rosemary, lavender, sage, chives),
  • perennial veggies (asparagus, artichokes, walking onions, horseradish),
  • annual fruits and veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, corn, green beans, black-eyed peas, sweet peas, kale, chard, melons, squash, lettuce, Malabar spinach, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens),
  • other medicinal herbs (mints, oregano, thyme, mullein, passionvine, chamomile, violet, evening primrose, comfrey, anise hyssop, tulsi, hibiscus, catnip, moringa, lemon balm, dill, fennel, lemon verbena, echinacea, hyssop, yarrow, nettles, burdock, marshmallow, calendula, Spilanthes, poke, Mexican mint marigold, plantain, cactus, milkweed), and
  • native butterfly and hummingbird plants (mostly edible, of course).

Do you use any organic, permaculture, hydroponic, biodynamic, or other methods?

I use 100% organic methods, and I tend to go beyond organic by not using even organic means of pest control but rather relying on natural processes and ecosystem dynamics to sustain my garden.  I employ permaculture principals of planting polyculture, multi-functioning raised beds with plants adapted to my region in fertile soil in the right seasons.  I invite predatory bugs (that would also be killed with organic pest control) to do my bug killing, much to the shock of visitors who find out the paper wasp nests are actually allies!

Do you use compost? Where do you get it and how does it help your plants?

While my current yard (cough cough, husband) doesn’t allow for outdoor composting, I have multiple worm bins indoors where I cultivate worm castings.  This allows me to do something with at least a bit of my food scraps, and provides enough worm castings for seasonal application and worm compost tea as often as I can dedicate myself to making.


What do you enjoy the most about farming/growing food?

I think most people love the harvest most, but I love watching the seeds pop up out of the ground.  There is something truly miraculous in watching this seemingly inanimate object spring to life with just a few environmental requirements being met.  And then of course when that tiny seed turns into so much food that you eventually give up harvesting it….how incredible nature is!  And just the thought that when I eat this fruit that used to be this seed, those nutrients now literally turn into my body.  Wow!  Ok, so maybe it isn’t just watching the seeds pop up that I enjoy most!  It’s the brilliant perfection of the circle of life that I get to witness again and again, season after season, as I cultivate the future of my body in my yard.


Do you have any advice for someone that’s just getting started?

You don’t have to plant ALL the things right at first.  Start with your favorite veggie and grow it from seed to harvest, to seed again.  If you don’t have a yard, grab a pot!  And don’t reinvent the wheel…the great thing about gardening is that the knowledge is there; we just have to seek it!

Read the full interview at UrbanFarm.org


Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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