Me & My Blog

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.


  1. I was wondering if you would be interested in a guest blogging opportunity at Gardening Know How? The URL of our gardening blog is if you'd like to check it out. If this is something you'd be interested in please e-mail me at Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

  2. HI Amy,
    This is Beth (crazy Gardener) My garden is doing great this year, I guess because of all the rain. The only problem is that I haven't been able to grow green beans, don't know why, they just don't come up. Just want to know what I'm doing wrong and what I can do to correct it. I have tried several packets so I know it is not the packet, it must be me!:( Please email me at Hope your having a great summer, miss you at the extension service!

  3. Hi Beth!
    It is great to know that your garden is doing mostly fine with all the rain. The green beans could be rotting in the damp ground before they have a chance to come up, but they could also be victims of all kinds of insects/animals that are having a "snack attack" involving your beans.

    If you are planting a small area with the beans, you could actually start them indoors or on a shady porch in pots or a flat and then transplant them out to the garden when you see the first leaf unfold. Adding some netting propped above the plants, after moving them into the garden, will protect them from larger plant-eaters (crows, bunnies).

    If it turns out that the problem is slugs or roly-polies, that both thrive in moisture and like to eat green bean seedlings, you can also sprinkle out a little iron-phosphate bait, which is organic-approved. I had a horrible problem with roly-polies one wet year, and I replanted my beans a few times before I figured it out, used the bait, and finally got mature plants. Let me know how it goes?

    -Amy (I will send this note to your email, too.)

  4. How do I sign up for your blog? Love your book!

  5. All my new blog posts are at A sign-up spot is in the sidebar of the homepage there, where it says "subscribe to blog via email". Glad you love the book, and I hope it is helpful!



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