Talking garden planning with Epic Gardener Kevin Espiritu


Kevin's urban garden contains 14 raised beds.
Photo used with permission: www.epicgardening.com.
If your available planting space seems limited, then Kevin Espiritu's book, "Field Guide to Urban Gardening" has advice for you.

It includes chapters on container gardening, vertical gardening, hydroponics and raised bed gardening.

Kevin's urban front yard was made up of hard-packed clay that was difficult to plant into. Today it holds 14 raised beds — and he's looking to squeeze in more.

"My logic was, I'm renting so I want something portable, so I can deconstruct my raised beds and reconstruct them somewhere else," he said. "I also get to customize the soil straight out of the gate instead of waiting for it to improve for a couple of years."

Figuring out which gardening style works for your location is the first step. Deciding what to grow is next.

Looking for something unique? Grow your own from seed

Kevin's goal is to encourage millions of people everywhere to take up gardening. One skill he recommends is "getting the process down for starting seeds" because

  • it's cheaper.
  • you get more access to different varieties.
  • you get to control the exact moment you put your plants in the garden.

"It ends up being better for your pocketbook and your garden, but you need to make sure you are not making mistakes in the seed-starting process," he said. (Kevin also covers a simple seed-starting process in his book.)

Kevin's passion for growing edible plants shines through on all his social media accounts*, but one of his favorite edibles to grow are radishes.

"I really like growing tons of different types of radishes because they're easy," he said. "I've been getting into pickling, so radishes are obviously great for that ...and if you grow some of the Asian varieties you can dice them into spears and use them for sushi."

He enjoys growing vegetables that offer a fun harvesting experience (such as pulling instead of clipping) and also makes room for vining plants, such as luffa or cucumbers —"anything where you get to use space in a more creative way."

This growing season, Kevin will be working in more flowering plants to attract pollinators for his crops, and will be focusing more on succession planting. "I'm going to start seeds every week or two depending on what's coming in or out of the garden," he said.

He also plans to grow vegetables better suited to his climate**, such as brassicas that will tolerate night temperatures that do not drop as low.

"I may try more proven varieties,” he said. “But I get seduced by all the new varieties like everyone else does — but the ones that are tried and true are for a reason."




"Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live" debuted in 2019, and it’s a great resource to keep handy while prepping for the upcoming gardening season. If you are new to gardening, have recently downsized your space, or are looking for ways to maximize your growing area, Kevin has a chapter for you. 


*You can follow Kevin on all the major social handles, InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube, along with his site Epic Gardening and his podcast.

**Kevin gardens in USDA Zone 10B, where the annual extreme minimum temperature ranges between 30 and 40 degrees F, or -1.1 to 4.4 degrees C.

I received a promotional copy of this book from Quarto Knows. It retails for $27.99.

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