Introducing the Bloggerific Gina T.!

A few years ago someone asked me what my favorite part of my job is. My answer came quickly and effortlessly: the people. And after you read Gina’s post below, you’ll see why. Today I am thrilled to introduce to you the most bloggerific, terrific, gardentastic blogger Gina T. to our blog. I’ve been following her for years at www.myskinnygarden.com and on Twitter @myskinnygarden. Now we are graced with her presence, as Gina will be writing regularly for us!
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I remember the first time I met Maria. Several years ago I was looking for environmentally friendly kitchen tiles and a Google search led me to Green Home Experts.  I didn’t order any tiles that day but I walked out having discovered a local business that I would come to rely on, and a friend in Maria, the owner.  That first day when I met her, I casually mentioned that a friend and I were trying to start a community garden in Forest Park and from that moment, she’s been one of our biggest supporters. She showed up at our first community outreach meeting where we scrambled, nervously to get our presentation together. Her being there made me know we were on the right track. If you know Maria, you know what I’m talking about. She seems to have this special sense about what people need, about what the planet needs and although I didn’t know it at the time, if she supports it, it’s probably going to be successful.

I have never seen somebody who can connect so many complete strangers with similar goals to each other simply through casual conversations at her store. She is literally always trying to help somebody do something. Selfishly, I’ve come to rely on her as a friend and a resource for all things environmental. And because of that, I’m honored that she asked me to contribute blog posts to her website each month because I’ve been looking for a way to show her my appreciation.  And with that, let’s get down to business.

Grow Salad Greens From Seed!

In my opinion, salad greens are the absolute easiest thing to grow from seed. One of my favorite seed companies is Botanical Interests, which you can find at Green Home Experts.  Grab a pack of any salad greens that look interesting, take them home, sprinkle the seeds over dirt in your garden or a container, water them consistently and in a few days the salad greens will have sprouted. They can be harvested as baby greens within a couple of weeks or allowed to grow a little larger if you prefer. Salad greens like the cool weather we’re having in Chicago right now but once it gets hot and they start to produce flowers, the leaves become bitter and tough so plant them soon. My favorite salad green to grow is a Romaine variety from Botanical Interests called “Freckles”.  The name comes from the splattering of red against the bright green leaves. I love growing “Freckles” with any red salad green because it makes such a beautiful and delicious salad.

My real job is in Information Technology, but in my head, I’m a gardener and a writer struggling to determine if my identity is Gardener or Writer.  Gardening is a vehicle for my writing but it has also restored my sanity and it’s changed the way I view our planet and made me realize how my personal decisions impact it.  As I have said to many friends, there is something about being in the dirt that puts things into perspective.  Take growing salad greens for example. I believe everyone could be a little happier if they’d just try growing a few homegrown salad greens from seed. Serving family and friends a beautiful salad made of lettuce grown in your own garden is so empowering and inspiring. And cost effective! Organic salad greens are expensive!  So if you’re new to gardening or if you’re an experienced gardener that’s never grown salad greens, go grab a pack of seeds, give it a try and be sure to come back and leave a comment letting us know how the turned out.

Read more about my home garden at myskinnygarden.com or follow me on twitter or facebook.

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