She has the power to attract thousands of viewers, inspiring them to healthier lives through organic gardening.
She’s Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl. She calls herself a modern American homemaker. Being “modern” these days is about growing your own food.
“I’m Newyorican,” says Patti, whose parents migrated to New York City in the 1950’s. “I didn’t know what a garden was.” As a kid, her experience of nature was limited to Central Park, very different from the farm life her parents had in Puerto Rico.
She moved to Boston, where trees surrounded her, but it took gaining seventy extra pounds during pregnancy for her to put on some garden gloves, grab a shovel, and jump into action, as a way to exercise and eat healthier.
“When I started, it was horrible. Se me moría todo. I think I’ve tried up to 500 different plant varieties in the twelve years I’ve been gardening. Every year’s an experiment. My first successes were two apple trees. They were the best apples I’d ever eaten! Then I knew what it was to eat fresh food.”
Patti believes in Gardening by Cuisine. Through her Garden Girl TV show, she teaches viewers not only what to plant and how to grow it, but how to harvest, cook it and can it. The dozen raised beds, filled with homemade compost, are divided according to the dishes that she plans to cook.
“Never plant potatoes with tomatoes,” she says, as she shows her garden. “In this bed I have all the ingredients for Sofrito, and this one is for Ensaladas, this one’s medicinal herbs, and this one Latin Caribbean cuisine. And here is the Mediterranean bed: tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, oregano, basil…”
Her love for the garden is palpable and contagious. “Start small, with cilantro and tomatoes and then grow to bigger things,” she advises.
The Garden Girl TV shows are a natural evolution, since her professional background is in filmmaking. Her short videos are fun and full of fun and useful trivia. Did you know that you could harvest as many as 30 pounds of tomatoes from a healthy plant? “I made the mistakes so you don’t have to,” she says, inviting viewers on her website to play with dirt, and food, and to raise rabbits and chickens.
“My mission is to inspire people to begin farming, to connect to nature, and to remove the stigma; growing your own food is not going back in time, but it’s the future, freedom, and money savings.”
Moreno has made over 200 videos for Garden Girl TV, her online TV show. Many of them are available in two DVD titles. She’s currently working on a book and TV Show named Gardening by Cuisine, which she has pitched to PBS.