An avid gardener, workout enthusiast and mom of two, Reshma Saksena maintains an organic garden in her Bridgewater backyard. When she's not in her kitchen garden, she can be found volunteering at the community garden at Duke Farms and working with the non-profit charity Feeding Hands.
Recently Reshma was selected by Burpee Home Gardens as one of their 2020 Gardeners of the Year. As a recipient of this award, she will be sent some of their 2021 plant varieties to grow and experience first.
Ironically, gardening didn’t always come so naturally to Reshma.
Reshma explains, “My friends would grow nice, juicy tomatoes but my plants would be ridden with pests and I'd barely produce anything."
Instead of giving up, Reshma grew determined. She watched YouTube videos and voraciously read gardening books and magazines.
“I always tell everyone that the first year doing anything new is always difficult. Persistence and sticking with it pays off,” says Reshma.
The same goes for gardening. Today Reshma is an experienced, urban gardener, growing everything from lettuce and tomatoes to peas and cantaloupes!
Follow Reshma's garden on Instagram @bridgewatergreens
5 Tips for Beginner Gardeners:
1. START SMALL
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to grow too much too soon. The easiest crops to grow are lettuce, arugula, basil, and mint. Cherry tomatoes are great too!
2. AMEND YOUR SOIL
Make sure you add a few inches of compost on top of your soil every fall to make it porous and rich in nutrients.
3. AVOID WATERING IN THE AFTERNOON
Morning watering is best. Watering in the afternoon is futile as much of the water is lost in evaporation and roots are unable to grow long and deep.
4. PROACTIVE PEST MANAGEMENT
Regularly check your plants for pests and diseases, especially the underside of leaves. Keep neem oil and pure castile soap handy to manage pests organically.
5. FLOWER POWER
Plant flowers such as milkweed, marigolds, and lavender to bring in the pollinators. Bees, butterflies, and ladybugs are great for the ecosystem and help increase harvests by pollinating flowering fruits!