Step Into Crista’s Garden

Hey guys,
I’m missing the Blogher conference in NYC because I’m in Los Angeles right now working on a top secret fun job, but while I’m gone, I wanted to share with you Crista’s garden.  This is a ongoing “peeking” feature that I’ve been wanting to grow that showcases people’s growing spaces, from big gardens to plants that live on NYC fire escapes. I hope you enjoy!  And if are interested in getting your garden featured, leave a comment and I’ll contact you!  And to everyone at the Blogher conference, I hope you are taking lots of pictures and having fun!   Brooklyn Farm Girl will be featured doing the Voices of the Year ceremony, so if you can, grab some pics for me!

So now without any more yapping, meet Crista from peace.love.quinoa
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Can you tell me about peace. love. quinoa and how it relates to growing your own?  How did you come up with your blog’s name?
When I first conceptualized my blog, I struggled with a name for it – I honestly thought a name would come to me easier than it did. After listing out the things that are important to me, the things that define me as a person and would eventually define my blog’s brand, I found three words: peace, love, and quinoa. The three words sounded good together and quickly became my blogs name.

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Where do you live, what’s the climate like?
I proudly live in Denver, Colorado. The weather in Denver is typically sunny and 75 degrees in the summer however this summer we’ve gotten hit with crazy thunderstorms, and hail. The amount of rain we’ve gotten this year is highly unusual and has hindered the growth of the plants in my small garden. The night after I planted my starter plants, we got hit with a big HAIL STORM – it wasn’t good. Recently, we’ve had a lot of rain, not as much hail, and lots of hot sunshine so my plants are finally starting to show growth!

 

How long have you been gardening?  Do you have any memories gardening as a little girl?
I can remember my mom caring for rose bushes when I was a little girl, but I don’t remember helping much. I have a faint memory of helping pull weeds when I was young, I probably thought it was “fun” back then, haha. I really got in to gardening as an adult about 5-6 years ago when I moved to an apartment in Chicago that had a small space for gardening. When I moved in, that space was overtaken by weeds, but I was able to completely transform the space by ridding it of the nasty weeds and replace them with edible veggies and herbs.

How did you learn how to grow?
I learned to grow through trial & error and research. That first year I gardened, I picked out a few starter plants from the Farmers Market, put them in the ground, then crossed my fingers. I got lucky that year, the only real challenge I had was an over-growth of weeds. Even though I lucked out, I still learned a lot – and I continue learning new, valuable lessons every year.
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You just bought a new house, congrats!  What has been your process to get your new garden up and running?
Buying a house in interesting because you not only inherit the home but the yard and everything in it as well. Luckily, the previous owners of the house had just re-done the landscaping so it was in beautiful condition. In November when I bought the house, I had no idea of all the hidden gems that would sprout in the spring and summer – rose bushes galore, beautiful succulents, and blooming bushes.I planted about 10 starter plants in what looked like a dedicated gardening bed but many of the plants were attacked by grubs, a few I moved to pots. I planted tomato plants in-between old tree stumps alongside a fence that borders my neighbors (ugly) house. I planned on planting bushes in that space but decided to give tomatoes a try instead – as they bush out, they create a barrier between the neighbors house and my yard the same as bushes would!

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Do you hope to expand next year with your new house?
Absolutely! The plan for next year is to build a raised garden bed and to plant a few trees for added privacy and shade! Also, I’d like to add some additional patio furniture and string lights for ambiance.

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You seem like you grow a variety of flowers and vegetables.  Do you have a favorite?
Succulents are my favorites right now, probably because they are NEW TO ME. Every single day, the succulent garden offers me a new surprise!
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How did you come up with a garden design?  It seems like everything is organized and spread out nicely.
As mentioned before, the previous owners of my home did the landscaping just before I bought the house so I got lucky.  Even though I do love the space and design they created, there are a few things I’d like to change (mostly for functionality), and I may do so some day when I have the time and $$ resource. Because of the traditional dry, hot weather in Colorado it is common to see yards that are xeriscaped, meaning that you see mulch and rocks used vs. grass to conserve the amount of water being used.
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Ok, name your kids time.  Tell me everything you grow!
This year, I’m growing 4 tomato plants, a few different pepper plants including cherry peppers, jalapeños, and a sweet chili pepper, celery, and several different herbs. In addition to the veggies and herbs, I have a sweet succulent garden, and some beautiful rose bushes. 

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What’s your favorite time of the year in the garden?
My favorite time of year in the garden is when I get to visit the local Farmers Market to pick out my STARTER PLANTS. Although I have a wish list every year, I’m never 100% sure that I’ll be able to find everything on that list so there is always mystery and excitement involved! What I am able to find sets the tone for what my growing season will be like that year.
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What’s your favorite vegetable to grow?
I love, love, love homegrown tomatoes. There is nothing better. I hope for a bountiful harvest this year despite the weather challenges we’ve had in Colorado.. 

What’s the hardest vegetable to grow?
For me, it’s kale. I’ve had bad luck with APHIDS and haven’t figured out how to get rid of them without the use of pesticides. Until I can figure it out, I won’t even plant it in my garden.

 

OMG these bugs in the garden… A video posted by Crista Lash (@clashbabi) on

What’s the one thing you wish you could grow?
I wish I could grow citrus trees. Or avocado trees….
(Note from Pamela: me too!)

How much time do you spend in your garden a week?
I spend as much time as I can in my garden/yard whether it be weeding, watering the plants, pruning, eyeing the growth, gawking at the pretty flowers, or hanging out in the hammock with a good book. I try to get 30-45 minutes (minimum) in the garden daily, and on Saturdays, my boyfriend & I typically spend at least half the day out in the garden doing whatever maintenance is needed. 
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We all have a garden horror story causing tears.  What’s yours?
The biggest horror for me is probably not as big of a deal as I make it. I hate having to pull big, green TOMATO HORNWORMS off of my tomato plants and terminate them (to ensure that they don’t come back). I don’t like killing bugs (or anything for that matter) so it breaks my heart. Luckily, In 5-6 years of gardening, I’ve only dealt with tomato hornworms in 1 season.

I love the kitschy items that you have in your garden.  Can you tell me about all the playful objects that surround your garden?
After years of urban gardening in small spaces, I’m beyond excited to have my very own yard with open space to fill – it’s something I never had in those small, city spaces. I love having “THINGS”, things that have meaning or tell a story – a story or travel, or experience. My metal water can hanging was purchased at a small vintage boutique in Crosslake, MN, a place I stumbled upon while visiting my best friend at her parents lake house cabin. The metal chicken I have in my yard was inspired by a blog post titled “AND THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO PICK YOUR BATTLES”. My dad begging me to stop and take a photo in front of the “Welcome To Colorado” sign the day I moved to the state inspired my purchase of a small replica of that sign that now hangs in my garden shed. Every time I see that sign hanging, I’m reminded of that happy, happy day and my fathers simple requests. It’s the little things in life that bring the most joy…..
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What’s one of your favorite farm to table dishes?  Would you be able to share a recipe with BFG readers?
I have so many favorite recipes, but I’ll share only 3! I didn’t do it on purpose, but I did pick out 3 recipes that all contain garden fresh tomatoes. This goes to prove that tomatoes really are my most favorite veggie to grow! 

Spicy Garden Salsa

Mushroom Caprese Salad

Peach & Tomato Skewers

 

 Hope you enjoyed this feature and thanks for taking a walk through Crista from peace.love.quinoa garden with me.

 

6 Comments

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  • What a gorgeous garden, so happy and healthy and vibrant and summery.
    Great to escape the cold for a few minutes and hang out Crista’s garden.
    PS: That peach & tomato skewer is incredible. What a great taste combo.

  • Wonderful post…. lovely garden! 🙂 I also have a little garden where I have 5 tomato plants, few pepper plants, herbs and many many flowers! Gardening is wonderful and I love to spend time in the garden. I don’t mind watering, weeding or arranging my flowers… the problem is getting rid of the pests.. I guess you understand what I mean… I feel bad killing any living creature, but when you become a gardener it is really necessary sometimes. Thanks for sharing! I feel really inspired by your beautiful garden! 🙂 Greets!

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