When my little family moved to the metro-Atlanta area in 1990, we started right away to set up a garden to grow some tomatoes and other garden crops. Frustratingly, we didn't have ANY success, even after some spectacular success with our food-garden on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where we had lived for two years.
It turns out the red clay that is the "soil" in our yard needs a lot of help to grow garden vegetables, but I didn't know that at first. Also, vegetable plants need a lot more sunlight than our first Georgia garden was getting.
A search at our county's central library turned up very little information about gardening in this area, and the best source of information I could find back then was Don Hastings' "Gardening in the South" book series. That is still a great source of information, but not everyone spends as much time at the library as I did then!
If I had grown up with gardening, it might not have taken as long to figure out the essential details, but even though I grew up in a big family -- eight kids -- my parents didn't garden in our suburban-Oklahoma yard. There was an amazing patch of amaryllis by the front door, and Mom had a bay window full of lush houseplants, but that was it.
Over the years, I have continued to read about gardening, talk with local, longtime gardeners, and experiment in my own garden. As a result, I have learned a LOT about growing food in a yard that has only about an eighth-inch of topsoil over compacted red clay and that is affected by the stunning pest and disease pressures here in the Southeast.
I started this blog because I kept meeting people like me, who moved to the
Atlanta area from other places that had deep, fertile soils, tried
growing vegetables in their new yards, but then just gave up after all their hard work yielded so little.
The hope was, and still is, that
what I write here will provide other hopeful gardeners with some of the
information they need to be successful.