The one thing I miss about living in a house with an spacious backyard is the ability to create a garden. Maintaining a garden is an excellent way to grow your own produce organically, keep you motivated to incorporate various fruits and vegetables in your diet, and soak up the sun (there’s your Vitamin D). I highly encourage anyone who has enough yard space to begin growing your food because you seriously cannot get any healthier than that.
Katie-Rose Watson is one of the few in Fort Worth, Texas that has witnessed great success in creating her dream garden in her very own backyard. I asked Katie-Rose a few questions about her garden in a Q&A below:
Q: Tell us about yourself, Katie-Rose.
A: My name is Katie-Rose Watson and I am the head of Public Relations at Anchor Marketing & Design. I am an equestrian and the proud owner of two horses, Prince and Wendy. I’m also the author of Little Gabby Books (www.littlegabbybooks.com), a children’s book series based on my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Gabby. I am a serious dark chocolate lover as well as an avid cook and baker.
Q: Why did you want to begin a garden? What inspired you?
A: Every cook worth her salt (see what I did there?) wants the highest-quality ingredients. What better way to get fresh fruits and vegetables is there than to pluck them from your own backyard moments before you eat them?
Q: Can you describe the different plants that are growing in your garden? Which plants have you the most excited about, and are they growing successfully?
A: Excellent question! I have four different varieties of tomatoes, two zucchini plants, three cucumber plants (although one died quite unceremoniously), red and green bell pepper plants, peas, cantaloupe, strawberries, and loads of herbs. I also have a pomegranate tree, pear tree, apple tree, orange tree, Meyer lemon tree, blueberry bush, blackberry bush, and two grapevines which are not in my raised bed garden.
At first I thought the peas were my favorite because I started them from seeds and they sprouted up so optimistically! They were doing great but I’m afraid the heat is too much for them and they are not flourishing. No worries, I’m going to try again in the Fall after the temperature cools off. Cherry tomatoes are extremely satisfying. The plants are big, beautiful, and bountiful and the tomatoes taste like the sun. I’m the most excited to try my home-grown orange. That’s right, orange, singular. I have exactly one orange growing on my orange tree. But it’s a start!
Q: Will you be incorporating the foods from your garden into your cooking? If so, how?
A: Absolutely! That’s the whole purpose. Greek food is my favorite cuisine. I consume an obscene amount of cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese. My favorite workday lunch is those three ingredients tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, Bulgar wheat, and a few Kalamata olives. Perfection, and you don’t get healthier than that!
I also love mixing home-grown fruits into homemade ice cream just before it’s done churning.
Q: Describe the benefits and the challenges of maintaining your garden.
A: The most shocking benefit to me is how much I love tending to it! Gardening is hardly a chore for me. It’s therapeutic. After work, I rush to my backyard to check on and attend to my garden.
I think the greatest challenge for a Texas gardener is the heat. You can (and should) start gardening much sooner than colder climates but some vegetables that are supposedly “full sun” cannot handle the Texas sun. I watered my blackberry bush on a Sunday in May and it looked completely dead by Wednesday. I moved it to my much shadier backyard, trimmed it down to nothing, watered it every other day, and now it’s happy as can be.
Q: Do you have any secrets or tips in maintaining a garden of your own?
A: It’s all about where a plant is. That’s the best tip my Mom gave me. See above blackberry bush example! Come to think of it, the truly best tip she gave me was: Don’t be afraid to cut back plants. Others might have thrown away the blackberry bush, but cutting back any crispy plant will direct the effort into new, healthy growth instead of struggling to revitalized dying branches.
Q: What is your food philosophy or do you have a favorite food motto?
A: Eat great food every day. It sounds so simple, but I can’t tell you how often people comment on my food photos and say, “I can’t believe you cook like this for yourself!” Why not? I’m worth it!
Wish to connect with Katie-Rose? Find her Blog Here!