Gardens can grow anywhere—even on your balcony

Hosted by

As urban gardening gains popularity, Lauri Kranz of Edible Gardens LA  is helping novices and veterans bring edible beauty to their backyards and balconies. A Garden Can Be Anywhere is a new book by Kranz and her husband, Dean Kuipers. Here's an excerpt from their book:

“My sister, Shari, is incredibly tidy. Summer holidays together are spent on the coast of Maine with our families in a cottage we rent each year. We have a great system in place that works well for both of us. I shop the farmers markets in Portland and cook whatever is in season, making a full, creative mess of the kitchen as I go, and she happily cleans up behind me. I say “happily” because the last thing she wants to do is cook and the last thing I want to do is clean. We are both happy with the results of our efforts: big family meals enjoyed by all, lots of laughter and music in the kitchen, a total engagement with the produce of the season, and a clean kitchen that
awaits the preparation of the next meal.

Shari and I have joked about it over the years, but the truth is that too much order makes me uncomfortable. I like a bit of disorder, especially in the gardens. Perfect gardens, laid out in perfect rows, with equal amounts of this and that make no sense to me. I want garden magic—Bachelor Buttons popping up in unexpected places between the broccoli plants, scabiosas spilling up and over and through the herb patch. I love disorderly order, and guess what? It’s good for your garden! Diversity is what our soil needs. Not the monoculture of the same plants planted all together from one season to the next, but instead a rich tapestry of plants from various families interplanted and moved about from season to season. That’s how nature works in the wild: Any piece of ground that is disturbed by fire or the plow will come roaring back with a vast array of plants that situate themselves in a new arrangement. That’s a good way to think about your garden, too. Assume that these plants want to find their own arrangement and that it is happening through you. You are helping them distribute themselves like they would in a wild setting.

This is my aesthetic, and remember it is just that: my own. These are my own preferences, and just as I have mine, each gardener finds their own. As long as the plants are given enough room to grow and are planted in their proper season, the garden can be anything we want it to be.”

Excerpted from “A Garden Can Be Anywhere” by Lauri Kranz and Dean Kuipers. Photo credit: Yoshihiro Makino



Evan Kleiman