Q&A with Shelley Levis, author of “Countertop Gardens”

By Shelley Pierce | April 21, 2019
by Shelley Pierce
April 21, 2019
Shelley Levis

Shelley Levis is a passionate horticulturist, speaker, writer, and garden designer. She is an editor and content creator for Urbanique magazine, a regular contributor to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and the voice behind the popular gardening blog Sow & Dipity. Her creative DIY garden projects have been featured in the Huffington Post, Fine Gardening and GreenCraft magazines, and other publications. In her latest book “Countertop Gardens“, Levis walks you through the challenges, benefits, and how-tos of growing inside and presents the wide array of methods available. Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of two copies from Quarto Publishing Group!

How did you develop an interest in countertop gardens?

Desperation breeds inspiration. Many years ago, my husband and I lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment with a tiny balcony. I wanted to grow vegetables and since I could not garden outdoors, I needed to learn how I could produce food using the small indoor space I had. At that time, there was very few options for the home gardener to grow successfully indoors.

What is one of your favorite ways to grow edibles indoors and why?

I really enjoy using the Aerogarden device for edible flowers and herbs. It’s easy to use and the device lets me know when it needs water or fertilizer. In addition to the helpful reminders, the device looks great on my countertop and I enjoy having fresh ingredients on hand when I’m preparing meals.

Is there something for everyone in this book, no matter the size of their kitchen, their ambition or their budget?

With so many growing device options available today, the most difficult decision is finding the right one for you. In the book I discuss what considerations should be made when trying to decide which method would work best for anyone’s unique situation.

For those without a budget to buy a system – what are some clever and creative ways that you can grow edibles indoors?

There is a good chance that people may already have items in their home or kitchen that could be converted into a device that could grow edibles. Upcycling a shower caddy into a window planter for herbs or using a soda bottle as a simple hydroponic planter are just a couple of examples of some easy DIY’s shared in the book.

It is stated that you personally tested all the devices featured in this book, which is a lot of devices.  Which brings up this question: Did this journey to help others with “no space gardening” leave you with “no space” in your home?!!!

This question makes me laugh because it is true that every countertop and shelf in my home became a garden! Lights and hydroponic pumps were clicking on and off at all hours and some household items had to be packed up for about a year while I trialed so many devices at one time. While some of the spaces in my home have returned back to normal, others are still dedicated indoor growing areas.

What are you currently growing in your countertop gardens?

I’m always growing herbs, microgreens and sprouts on the kitchen counter. For me, edible flowers are a must throughout winter since I love having spring blooming by my coffee pot on cold dreary days. The office bookshelf is a permanent home to kale and Mesclun greens which take longer to grow, but since I succession plant these vegetables, they are ready for eating every other week. All of these edibles and the devices I use are featured in my book, Countertop Gardens.

Enter to win one of two copies of Countertop Gardens!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight (EST) on Sunday, April 28, 2019 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What would you like to grow in a Countertop Garden?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

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  • Sashi
    Comment added June 26, 2020Reply

    What Do Garden Snails Eat?
    #gardening #oakia.com#vegetablegarden #garden

  • John Storer
    Comment added April 23, 2019Reply

    sounds a must read

  • Marianne Peters
    Comment added April 23, 2019Reply

    I really could have benefitted from this guidance, considering the places that I have lived that just didn’t have the best window placement. I would definitely grow herbs. Sure, herbs are available in the grocery store; but, the quality isn’t always that great. Thyme, parsley, rosemary, cilantro....how great to have the freshest herbs available on a daily basis!

  • Beth dekoker
    Comment added April 21, 2019Reply

    Love to win this book!

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