I started this blog in part to promote my organic gardening teleclasses but mostly to share my passion for gardening and to connect with other backyard gardeners.

I’ve been gardening organically most of my life (starting with a few bean seeds in Dixie cups). I guess I just like to play in the dirt. 😉

Until January 2, 2009, I’d been calling myself an urban organic gardener. I had a little patch behind a Catholic girls high school on the far North Side of Chicago. It was a great location; several people in the neighborhood were already firmly established in their plots, which the nuns from the convent graciously shared with us. A statue of Jesus blessed all who entered. I carried my gardening tools around in my car (nicknamed the “Tool Shed”).

Life-changing events over the past year (including a death in the family and my need to reduce living expenses) forced me to take stock. Ultimately, I want to wind up on a piece of land somewhere in the Midwest where I can stable a couple of horses, take care of rescue dogs, run a profitable home-based business, and garden – organically – to my heart’s content. I could reach a few of these goals as an urban apartment dweller, but not all of them.

So, I recently moved from a city of 3 million to a little town of 14,000 in western Wisconsin. (You can read all about it here.) I moved into a funky (thanks, Doug Green) little 2-bedroom rental I found on Craigslist. I’m on a month-to-month agreement ’cause I’m hoping to find my permanent home sooner than later.

It’s colder up here than I’m used to (and Chicago winters can be pretty brutal). But the countryside is beautiful, I can see the stars at night, and everyone I’ve met so far has been super friendly and hospitable. I couldn’t be happier.

I’m feeling like a gardening nomad right now, though. I don’t know yet whether I’ll be here long enough to plant flowers and grow some cucs and tomatoes this summer. I had to get rid of my gardening tools to make room in my car for clothes, towels, books, and my home office stuff. But it’s all good ’cause it’s only 15 F degrees outside and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. No major decisions have to be made today.

In the meantime, I’ll continue sharing my passion for organic gardening by hosting teleclasses. I’ve lined up some of the most respected organic gardening experts in the U.S. to talk about what they know. (Teleclasses are on hiatus indefinitely.)

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6 Responses to “About FarmerPhoebe”


  1. 1 Julie January 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I like to spend the cold winter months making plans for new gardens in the Spring. 🙂 I hope you can find a permanent place soon!

  2. 2 Katie Elzer-Peters January 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Phoebe,
    Glad your move went safely! I am sure you will find your spot before too long. Plants to gardeners are like moths to flames. If you don’t find plants, I’m sure they will find you!

  3. 3 gardening with confidence January 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Container gardening…that way you can easily take it with you ;-}

  4. 4 hyperlocavore February 13, 2009 at 3:30 am

    I am no longer urban myself…moved from Brooklyn NY to Halfway Oregon (a town of less that 300 near the Idaho Border) Huge change but a good change, partially prompted by the urge to grow my own food.

  5. 5 Bill Olson April 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Phoebe,

    I went to UW 40 years ago and always planned to go back to WI to buy a small faarm and live somewhere west of Madison. Instead I married into a family with a small farm on Long Island NY. Just recently we’ve started bringing it back to a working farm. Farming is such easy work, I wonder why they don’t just give the vegetable away (I hope you realize that’s irony, I’m surprised that food is as cheap as it.) It would have been cheaper for me to buy the most expensive organic veggies for the the rest of my life than to attempt to do it myself, but you can’t beat a beautiful spring day out in the field working.

  6. 6 rob stolzy May 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Hi Phoebe,

    What say ye about last year’s organic seeds? I have some leftover pole bean and pea seeds cause I did not have space to plant them all last year. Are they still usable this season? (Kept them in a cool basement bookshelf.)

    Thanks,
    ~RS


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