One of the things I like most about TikTok is you can find Black creators doing all the things you might be curious about or interested in. One such creator, Detria Wilson, aka Grower of All Things, has a knack for connecting with her audience and inspiring them to try their hands at making things grow.
“I'm a gardener and a mom of three,” Wilson says. “I've been gardening for about eight years, and I dabbled a little with my parents and grandparents. [It’s] corporate life in the daytime, but I check in [on] my yard as much as I can. I got into [gardening] because I was working on my home after I got a divorce. I needed to step up the curb appeal, while I was doing the inside. I really got into it and started enjoying the whole process, especially the vegetable gardening.”
BGX caught up with Wilson to talk about how she got into gardening, what it means to her now, what advice she has for beginner gardeners, and why it’s not too late to start spring planting.
First, is it too late for us to start planting?
It's a perfect season! You could still put in spring crops now. Today I'm going to plant some peas. But you could start some broccoli or cabbage too. This is the perfect time for those spring plants that can still take a little
cold. Depending on which zone you live in, you could even do kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, garlic, onion, or Brussels sprouts.
It's not too late!
Where do you suggest a novice gardener begin?
Container gardening is the way to go for a beginner [because] the ground sometimes can be tricky [if] you don't know the composition of your soil. I suggest container gardening because you know exactly what's in the soil, it's going to grow for you.
Raised beds can get a little expensive and they can be intimidating for a beginner. For a small garden container, start with a 24-inch pot or maybe a whiskey barrel you can put something in.
If we were doing vegetables, I helped a friend create a salsa container garden. You put a tomato plant, a pepper plant, maybe some cilantro, and it’ll grow together, and you have your salsa ingredients right there.
If we're going with flowers, it depends on the state and season. If it's spring, we could do violas or pansies. There's a lot of perennials that you could put in containers for the first season and then put them out in the garden.
Once we have pots picked out, how do we prep for planting?
Select your favorite potting soil, preferably something organic, but it doesn't have to be. Depending on what you're growing, [be sure to] choose the right fertilizer, if you feed your plants, it'll be fine.
As for watering, it's better to underwater than overwater, because once you overwater, it's over, it's more difficult for the plant to come back from that.
If you want to involve your kids in the garden, what do you suggest they start with?
There are a lot of plants you can start from seed at the beginning of the season. Radishes are a good beginner plant for people because you can plant it and forget it. And they grow fast, so you get encouraged.
If you’re growing in a container on a balcony, you are probably looking for more privacy. A nice ornamental grass could work, because it wouldn’t need that much attention, and it will give you nice blockage.
If you choose flowers, they have petite roses that you can do in a container, or a small hydrangea would work. You can never go wrong with hanging plants on the balcony too.
What resources do you find that you return to repeatedly?
My local library. They always have an abundance of books and usually have a seed library too. Every time I go to mine, I can get three different packs of seeds each visit. I also like planting guides and things like that. But mostly if I'm going to look up something, I'll probably look it up in a book at the library, if I need help.
I follow Laura on Garden Answer on YouTube. I like her, and I learned a lot when I first started. There's also gardening clubs in each city, and they'll help you for free. They’re full of master gardeners. And of course, The National Gardening Association website.
What does gardening mean to you?
It helps me with my mental health, and it gives me a sense of clarity when I'm outside that I don't get when I'm inside. When I'm nervous or stressed out it really grounds me. It's just more peaceful. And then, of course, it doesn't hurt that it's pretty to look at.
What do you want novice gardeners to remember as they get started?
If you’re growing vegetables be sure to grow things that you want to eat, because that makes it more exciting to deal with, and you’ll want to get out there. Remember, don't compare your garden to others because it's a journey and you’ll learn along the way. Don't get discouraged because it takes a lot of patience.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Perdita Patrice is a Texas-based writer and documentary filmmaker. She enjoys live music, reading, and watching TV. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @perditapatrice