(photo: Jill Wellington Photography)

Good to Grow: Meet Krista Green

By Sandra Sperounes

Krista Green has a passion for growing food.

“We always had a big vegetable garden—I’m the middle of seven kids—and that’s partly how my parents fed our family when we lived in the Okanagan,” she says.

Now in her 30s, she grows vegetables on an acreage south of Calgary, where she lives with her husband and two children. She experienced a few setbacks at first—her first batch of beets and carrots were disappointingly small.

“So I tested my soil and since then, we’ve been amending with compost, manure and wood chips,” she says. “But I see all those hardships as learning opportunities.”

Indeed, Green decided to use those opportunities to help others. She started her own blog, zone3gardening.com, where she writes about growing vegetables, deer-proofing gardens and composting to enrich your soil. She’s also one of the experts taking part in AMA’s gardening community, Good to Grow, and posts regular tips and updates from her garden. 

“I love gardening and I really have a passion for helping other people with their gardens,” says Green, who also works part-time as a primary care paramedic. “I really find it rewarding.”

How did you get into gardening?
When I was 11 or 12, I planted some pumpkin seeds in cups and once they needed to be transplanted, my mom was like: ‘You need to plant them out in the garden.’ I wanted her to do it, but she said: ‘They’re your pumpkins. You need to do it.” So, I transplanted them and then I really didn’t take care of them and I harvested 20 massive pumpkins. That was when I really fell in love with gardening. It felt so rewarding, it brought me so much joy—I just stuck these little seeds in the soil and look what I got! Pumpkins grow like weeds in the Okanagan, I wish I could do that here.

What’s your favourite vegetable to grow?
Carrots are my No. 1 favourite to grow, probably because garden carrots taste so much better than store-bought carrots. They’re also easy to grow.

What’s your favourite gardening success story?
Seeing how far my garden has come over the last four years. It’s such a huge difference. I was so embarrassed after the first year—I love gardening, I have a passion for gardening and I couldn’t believe I couldn’t grow a garden.

What do you wish you could grow in Alberta?
Pumpkins. Watermelon. I keep trying, but where I live near Black Diamond, we’re in a pocket of cold. So I’m jealous of those who can grow them. I keep trying different squashes but I have yet to have success.

What’s your #1 tip for beginner gardeners?
It’s not all easy and don’t give up when you face difficulties. It does take a little work to grow your own food, but it’s so rewarding.

Looking to improve the health of your garden? Composting is one of the best ways to add nutrients to your soil. Join Krista Green and master composter Nicole Spring for Good to Grow’s virtual Q&A session, Dig In: Gardening with Compost 101, on June 15 at 7 p.m.

AMA members save 10% on select regular priced seed packets, fashion, house plants, perennials and planted hanging baskets at Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre in Red Deer. Save 10% on regular priced flowers, gifts and more at Blondie’s Garden and Gifts in Dunmore. Save 15% on tree and flowerbed planting services from Evergreen Lawn Services in Calgary.