There's something about summer gardening that's so intoxicating. I've alway loved the idea of skipping out into the backyard on a hot day, seeing what's new and fresh in the garden, and picking it for the night's dinner. That feeling when your crops come out to play is truly magical and oh so rewarding! Fulfilling my greatest fantasy is Lauri Kranz, founder and owner of Edible Gardens LA. Her stunning edible gardens give me hardcore #veggiegoals! Not many people can inspire one to grow their own food the way that Lauri does. Take it away, Edible Gardens LA! #itsplantporn
IPP:what is your background & how did Edible Gardens LA start?
LK: I moved to Los Angeles after living in New York City, where I had little interaction with nature on a daily basis. When my oldest son started school, I needed to sign up to volunteer for something at his school and I saw gardening on the list. I had spent time in the garden with my own father growing up and had very happy memories of working with him under giant sunflowers and among the tomato and cucumber plantings. I thought this was something that could be fun! I began work in the school garden and fell in love with it – the smell of the soil, the bees humming, bright flowers and tender lettuces. I became obsessed and began a ‘test’ garden at my own home and spent hours at the library (I love libraries) reading everything about gardening I could get my hands on. I worked for years in the school garden and then when my younger son began school, I started a garden and gardening program there. People would see that garden and ask me to help them with a garden of their own. Edible Gardens LA was born from those early gardens.
IPP: describe a typical day at work.
LK: I wake early – sometimes 4am – and work on my book that is coming out next year all about growing your own food. I like this early time before the rest of the house is awake and all is quiet. The house wakes around 6am and then there is food and fruit from our own garden, the kids go off to school and I start my day in the gardens. Sometimes the day begins in a new garden where I work on designing a space for growing food for new clients, but every day I am deep in the soil growing, planting, tending and nurturing vegetables gardens and edible landscapes.
IPP: What does the perfect edible garden consist of in your eyes?
LK: Happy plants, rich soil and lots of surprises.
IPP: Garden tool you can’t live without ?
LK: Trowel and clippers.
IPP:what are the ADVANTAGEs & challenges of agriculture in california?
LK: Growing food in Southern California is pretty unique in that we can grow food outdoors 365 days a year. That feels very luxurious. Fresh berries, peas, citrus, artichokes, broccoli, tomatoes and much more, in their proper season, all year long. The challenge of that is keeping soil fertile and healthy when heavy demands are made on it without a dormant winter to recharge and nourish. Compost and composting are vital for this kind of growing.
IPP: Do you have a favorite plant you like working with?
LK: Fava beans. They bring so much beauty to the garden and are delicious on the plate.
IPP: What advice would you give to an amateur gardener programming their first edible garden?
LK: Everything begins and ends with the soil. Build healthy soil and work from there. Don’t feel like you need to know everything before you begin, learn as you go. The garden is a great teacher, we just need to tune in and pay attention.
IPP: What is your spirit plant and why?
LK: African Basil. It is the heart of the garden and brings the bees.
Thank you Lauri!