Internet Inspiration, an Easy Growing Giveaway, and a New Herb Garden

Our last frost date has passed and the pressure’s on. Having entered motherhood almost 3 years ago now, I know this round just how all encompassing the first few months, if not a year of new baby’s life will be.  It’s all well and good to be self employed and a bit of a work-a-holic but a new baby has a way of making sure no task can actually be finished no matter how much you wear them in a sling and try and keep your garden and family thriving.

So we’re finishing projects, both here in the city and at the farm in the county.  We’ve finally hooked up the potting sink in the back yard, officially finished the tiny bathroom reno (photos of both to come). We’re setting up Cubit’s to need less attention than normal this fall, making sure the gardens are easy to harvest once baby is here and set up to reseed next spring without too much fuss.

In the city we planted an obscene amount of basil and then the rest of our herbs in containers as usual.  I’ve had the same technique for years.  Inspired by Gayla Trail’s You Grow Girl book and site when I first started growing my own food, we take almost any food safe container, add drainage holes, put a layer of stones or broken terra cotta pots along the bottom, and then try to replicate real soil by combining good top soil and compost.

This year I was inspired by Gayla’s new book “Easy Growing; Organic Herbs & Edible Flowers from Small Spaces” to add some more exotic basils like “Blue Spice” to the mix,. The biggest advantages to growing herbs in containers for me  are invasive plants like mint and lemon balm can be contained and you can take advantage of small patches of good sunlight, like the porch steps.

As much as I love my containers, we also took on a rather frivolous project; a new herb garden at the farm.  Totally unnecessary, but I’ve been dreaming of having the space for one for years. Inspired but all these gorgeous round herb gardens that keep showing up on pinterest we set out to make our own.  Using the new Mantis Tiller ( I let Ryan do it this time), leaf compost from our Toronto garden, and some discarded pieces of the old barn we have the basis for a new herb garden and some great tool storage to boot.

I’d love to know where you’re finding your inspiration these days and have a copy of Gayla Trail’s great new book Easy Growing along with 6 packs of Cubit’s herbs to send out to a North American reader.  Just leave a comment letting me know what has inspired you lately. Link up and share with us if it’s online. A great recipe? An over the top English Garden on pinterest? A website like yougrowgirl that you’ve been visiting for a decade now? Share and I’ll pick a winner at random on June 1st. 2012.

Thank everyone! Such great answers.  Contest is now closed.


  1. Alison Dunn says

    Ummm, you got it! Yougrowgirl has been a favorite for a decade or so. Ive been working with youth garden projects for many years, and Gayla’s books have been great guides and gifts. But I want this one for me!!! (and this year we’re all growing Cubit’s seeds)

  2. lynn says

    Lately my 17 month oldhas been my inspiration. Knowing his love orhatred of the earth comes from me and my actions, i want him to grow up knowing what real food tastes like and thewarmth of sun on his skin.

  3. Ann says


    I’ve been feeling inspired by Jenna Wognirich’s blog, ColdAntlerFarm, after reading her book BarnHeart. Also, I’ve just started reading Backyard Market Gardening, by Lee Foreman. It’s full of wonderful stories of his adventures, and misadventures, and loads of practical growing tips.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win the book and seeds.

    Best Regards,

  4. Trixie says

    Maximum security prisons, of all things, have been “inspiring” me lately. I’ve fenced (and double fenced!) my vegetable beds, installed motion-activated sprinklers, and even used spinning pinwheels from the dollar store to try to deter grabby-handed animals from chopping/knawing down pretty much all of my produce before I get a chance to taste it.

  5. Ashley Watkins says

    I pull out ‘You Grow Girl’ every spring to search inspiration for a new type of herb or edible flower. I also enjoy Martha Stewart’s gardening section of her website that offers lovely collections of photos of beautiful planters and small space inspirations.

    And of course I reference my own gardening journal as a reminder of successes, failures and ideas for the next time!

    Would love a new book from Ms. Trail to add to my collection!

  6. Deb Hanson says

    I just started visiting some facebook pages on gardening, recycling, homemade products, they make it sound so easy I just had to give it a try. Started with making my own detergent, homemade cleaning products, and this year I started my garden! Don’t know if I’m doing it right, but it has been fun and refreshing for me to be out there, and I believe that each year I’m going to learn a little more!

  7. says

    I’ve been inspired by the people in my neighbourhood who are pulling out all the stops to help myself and a couple of other Mom’s put in a community garden. Check out our progress at

    Whenever I feel like I’m getting burned out on the project I look at the pics from our events and I’m galvanized again. If you look through the blog you might see pics of your seeds as well!


  8. Patti says

    My 4 new hens, Mildred, Pede, Edith and Ruthie. It took me 4 yrs. to convince my husband to let me get them. He built them a beautiful coop and run. Now they only have to lay about 300 dozen eggs to pay for it! Can’t wait to see what their doo does to my garden next year. Reading free range chicken gardens by Jessi Bloom.

  9. Dawn says

    Your posts are always inspiring, and I’ve found a lot online that have to do with eating real food and not taking the prepackaged stuff that passes as food from the grocery shelves. My biggest inspiration are my 3 awesome kids, they deserve to eat better than I did as a kid (Hello KD and weiners all.the.time) and I want them involved. We’ve put our garden in already and are watching things happen and they’re just as excited as I am. Or else they’re pretty good fakers. Ha. We have treats, but they’re just that, treats. Not an every day thing, or every week thing either. It’s nice to open up my browser and see that out there we’re not the only ones, and that inspires me too.


  10. says

    I’ve been inspired by visiting my local farmers market last weekend. The produce is just so beautiful and delicious and the people take such care to share their love of good healthy food:)

  11. says

    I have been inspired by the people in my community, surrounding areas & blogs to become more self sufficent & to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

  12. Julia says

    I love Sunset magazine and website. Unfortunately, it costs a fortune to get a subscription in Canada – and the gardens are largely US west coast based but they are beautiful!

  13. says

    Being a New Yorker, I get inspiration from walking around different neighborhoods and seeing how others garden, People are so creative when they have little space.

  14. Valérie Dugas says

    I subscribed to pinterest just some days ago and it really is a wonderful site! There seems to be no end to the number of wonderful pictures you see there… really makes me dream of the day I will have my own backyard!

  15. Soozle says

    Knowledge has inspired me lately. I read more and more about the chemicals that are pumped into/onto the food we consume and it frightens me.

    If I can grow my own produce and herbs with a little TLC vrs chemicals and know 100% where it came from, that piece of mind is priceless!

  16. says

    Definitely YouGrowGirl too. When I couldn’t find a good, practical resource on container gardening in early-mid 2000s her blog was the my go-to. I’m also extra keen after a visit and photo walk to local gardens and parks. Similarly, I also make a point to visit local community gardens to see what other gardeners in the area are doing, plus strike up a chat to see what works in our area and what doesn’t.

  17. Nadia says

    I’ve been inspired by the climate and native plants we have in the Okanagan. Living in Canada’s only dessert and trying to grow my own produce can be a challenge. For the first few years, I yearned for delectable lettuces and cucumbers. Our summers with +30 degree weather for weeks on end can work against you sometimes, as well as having local watering restrictions and a plethora of local deer who “prune” everything. This year, I’m going to stick with crops that have worked in the past, grow native berries and put up deer fencing, lots of deer fencing….and whatever I don’t grow I’ll buy at the farmers market.

  18. Tina says

    I’ve had my own vegetable garden for a few years and my inspiration has been my dad. I am keeping ‘alive’ the seeds that his dad brought over from Italy these being Roma tomato and Marconi pepper seeds. My dad passed away two years ago so the pressure is on!! However, thanks to Facebook, I’m learning more about self sustaining methods of gardening, composting, etc. etc. I would love to sell my house and move onto a larger parcel of land wherein I can have greenhouses, etc. and really be able to grow a majority of my food. I need all the help I can get!

  19. Leslie says

    Im inspires by the enthusiasm of my kids. They have such joy in finding a ripe strawberry or eating lemon balm straight from the garden.

  20. says

    This year, I was inspired by what worked last year, and by the vegetables and fruits I was craving most over the winter. This means, I have an overabundance of tomatoes, peppers, and radishes, and maybe not enough cucumber, melon, or beets.

  21. RobynL says

    Garden inspiration is hard to avoid these days! I couldn’t it if I tried. My neighbour has a veggie garden on top of his garage roof, and I stare at it whenever I’m in my kitchen or on the balcony. I love it! He’s busted me sussing it out more than once, and I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m oogling him (sometimes I am, but only a little!), so now I have to oogle carefully – so as not to look too creepy.
    Gayla Trail is one of my favourites too. Her gardens motivate me, and make me dream about the yard I will one day own. Karen, from is another (but you already know how amazing she is, I found you through her!). Her front yard veggie garden has me eyeing up every free patch of grass I see.
    And finally, the book, Bountiful Container, by McGee & Stuckey. That book, and Grow Great Grub (Gayla), are so dog eared it’s crazy!

  22. Paula says

    My Google Reader has been filling up with blog posts and photos in tandem with the weather warming up, and even though my boyfriend can’t understand why (yet), I keep finding new green things to squeeze into the tiny spots of sunlight left outside my front and back doors, or into the 3×3 patch I carved into my landlord’s yard, just to feel half as productive as they all look!

  23. says

    Honestly just things growing in my own garden(s). All that fresh food inspires me to keep it up, keep planting more, and continually turn more of our lawn into garden space!

  24. says

    Amazing article! Cubit's Organic Living » Internet Inspiration, an Easy Growing Giveaway, and a New Herb Garden really tends to make my day somewhat happier 😀 Continue on alongside the exceptional articles! Heed!!!

  25. says

    I read Cold Antler Farm blog. I enjoy watching Jenna’s short videos of her animals, which include dogs, sheep, goats, ponies, rabbits, chickens, pigs, etc. Her tales are not always happy-she’s had some animals get sick and die, but they are true to what life on a farm is really like, which I appreciate. If farming is about anything, it’s honesty and hard work.

  26. says

    I’ve discovered permaculture this year. Actually, I’ve been doing many of these things forever but now I have a name to google and with that new knowledge to take it way further. I’m having fun building swales in my garden and making the grandest (sometimes too big) of plans. Toby Hemenway’s book “Gaia’s Garden” is really fantastic. It’s very readable and adapted to the home garden scale.

  27. says

    The Everglades have been a huge inspiration recently – We moved to south FL about a year ago and the tropical wildlife here still amazes me daily. On the weekends, we usually forgo South Beach and instead spend the day hiking through the hardwood hammocks and marshlands that make up the Everglades ecosystem.

  28. karen b says

    this year I’ve been inspired by things that are growing around me; usually I’m pretty pessimistic about what will grow in our clay-heavy soil but lately I’ve been looking around the woods thinking “if all this stuff can grow here, SURELY the soil can’t be that bad!” it’s been making me reconsider what I’ll plant next year and try to work with the soil. I’m also seeing things I planted starting to thrive which is DEFINITELY inspiring to someone who considers herself a plant-killer.

  29. Karen says

    My inspiration… so many! I realized I had so many beautiful house plants that didn’t do anything for me, so I have jumped headlong into balcony/container gardening. Going to Seedy Saturday at the Brickworks was great too; seeing all of these people interested in growing their own food even though space is limited is also inspiring. I felt reassured that trying to have 8 pepper plants and 3 tomatoes + various herbs is not crazy!

  30. says

    I’ve been homesick for quite a while now (grew up on a tiny tropical island in Japan), and my grandparents had a cow/veg farm that I dream of often. A month ago, I decided it was time to stop the dreams and live it. I’ve slowly ripped up the back half of our giant lawn yard and built raised beds…a first for this novice who has never experienced seasons before. Every day that I’m in the garden, wearing my boots and mixing up steer manure just like grandpa did, I feel peace and calm. I didn’t know if I had the farmer gene in me, and even if I don’t, I think g’pa is by my side. Those summer vacation days spent with him in my youth have made a bigger impact than he would have known. I just wish he was here to see his bratty little granddaughter in the dirt. He would laugh!

  31. Sara P. says

    I have been taking a gardening class at a local community garden. I am very inspired by my classmates and their stories of fruit and veggie garden success!

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