Shireen is a novice gardener turned master. After inheriting a 50-year-old garden with the purchase of her current home, she decided to seek in help in learning to tend it, as she limited experience in gardening, "other than a few tomatoes in a two by four plot...". She completed 3 years of mentorship with Growing Gardens, and then moved on to tackle the Master Gardener program through Oregon State University. She joked about not feeling like she knew enough as she thumbed through the binder that contained all of the information she had to study to call herself a Master Gardener, the content of which ranged from entomology to soil chemistry to plant disease prevention.
"See? This was a miner pest," she says a little later as she pulls a leaf off of one of her collard greens, which I learned meant that whatever critter it was that attacked her plant tore through the middle of the leaf. She explained to me that she lets some of her greens bolt, to attract the mason bees her neighbor keeps. She told me about the families of hummingbirds that live in the trees at the back of her garden and come down to the feeders. "And it's really just neat for me to maybe just have a book, or just to relax, or have peace of mind with whatever else is going on in the world. I just open my little screen door and go outside and sit back there and chill and...this works for me."
Listen in to hear Shireen's perspective on gardening.