Rita Bachmann graduated from College of Charleston in 2004. She studied political science, but decided to shift gears upon becoming aware of the problems surrounding the foods being consumed by the average person. She felt that she could make a small difference locally by bringing awareness to the consumers of what they are putting in their bodies and feeding their families. “You are what you eat” definitely is a true statement.
After completing internships in New York State and California, she developed a real passion for organic farming and began by starting her own small organic farm in Charleston, South Carolina. She began sharing her knowledge of organic farming around the Charleston area with established farmers and then decided to begin her own business of helping people in the area as a ‘garden coach’ and getting them started growing produce in their own backyard.
She mostly works with families, getting the children involved in growing the vegetables and goodness. I got the chance to interview her briefly at her home and tried to get the best advice for Sparkleberries just getting into small container gardens with restricted space and on rented property and such.
What is your best advice for a person with limited space and do not own the land?
Make use of all space with large planters and utilizing vertical planting, with strings and bamboo sticks. Using old greenhouse fans or reclaimed items to build wall planters is also a fantastic way to grow with little space.
What types of produce yield the most quantities in the smallest amount of space?
Leafy greens for sure, lettuce, kale, swiss chard and anything planted vertically. The nutritional benefits of leafy greens are so plentiful. They are good sources of vitamin B (Folic Acid) and vitamins A and C. They have a notable amount of vitamins which are essential for good bone health. They are also a rich source of potassium, magnesium and iron. The calcium content in kale, spinach and collard greens is also significant. They also include valuable omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals known to help prevent cancer and help preserve eyesight.
When building raised-bed gardens, what type of wood do you use?
Cedar or cypress wood is what I typically use with my clients. They are more expensive but seem to last the longest. Even recycled wood can be used as long as you are sure that is un-treated.
For easy at-home organic gardening, what do you recommend?
Using good soil and Live compost and using a vigilant eye in the garden.
Is organic gardening easy to do at home?
If you know what you are doing and can keep active nitrogen in the soil.
Do you think when people begin actively growing their own food they tend to maintain a healthier diet?
Absolutely, they take pride in their produce. Joining a CSA, or Community-Supported-Agriculture group is always a great idea as well. A CSA is when one buys into a share of a farm to help the grower afford a start-up and therefore get amazing produce at the end of the harvest.
Check out localharvest.org to find a CSA in your area.
This article was submitted by Sally Watkins. If you know of someone awesome you’d like to interview for Sparkleberry Lane, contact SparkleberryLane@gmail.com!