Meet the Grower: Angela Judd

Angela Judd is today’s guest for the Meet the Grower series. I am always SO impressed by her beautiful Instagram feed, and so envious of all the fruit she grows! While growing the majority of produce for her family, she also raises five children. Her interview includes awesome tips for how to get your kids out in the garden with you – big or small! Keep reading to find out more about Angela, her garden and her family.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Angela Judd. I am a mother of 5 children, with ages ranging from kindergarten to college. I live with my family in Mesa, Arizona. For me, it really is about “Cultivating a Good Life”. I try to do this by cultivating my relationships with my friends, family and God. I love being a mother and homemaker. I want to make our home beautiful on its face but also a place that will replenish and strengthen those who are there. I find beauty and purpose in my garden, time spent there nourishes my soul as well as our family.

Why do you garden?

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom showing me new growth on plants. I believe the quote by Gertrude Jekyll that says, “The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.” My grandparents had a large garden in Indiana. We visited them a few times, and time spent in their garden is one of my favorite memories. We also had a large garden in Idaho growing up.

How long have you been gardening?

I’ve tried to garden in other places we have lived (Utah, Nevada, California) with little success. When we moved to Arizona 7 years ago, I finally had room for a garden.

Morning harvest for tonight’s dinner.

A photo posted by Angela (@arizonagardener) on

What percentage of food do you grow yourself?

It really depends on the season. Our fruit trees provide fresh pomegranates, oranges, clementines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, peaches, plums, apricots and apples. They are harvested from October to about May. Vegetables from the garden such as carrots, beans, peas, kale, broccoli, etc. are also harvested frequently during this time. We eat it fresh and I also preserve some by canning and freezing. However, during the summer we eat some melons, squash, okra and cucumbers from the garden but have to buy a lot of our other fruits and vegetables.

Plum harvest.

A photo posted by Angela (@arizonagardener) on

What are your favorite learning resources?

I took Master Gardening courses and got certified as a Master Gardener. Volunteering with other gardeners in the community has also been a great learning experience. Some of my favorite gardening books include:

Peach harvest; juicy, sweet and delicious. We will be enjoying every single one. Sorry birds.

A photo posted by Angela (@arizonagardener) on

As a mom of five, how do you find time to grow so much produce? Do you have any tips for others who are trying to grow their own food and juggle parenthood?

My oldest child is now 20 and my youngest is 5. The children are old enough to help with different tasks. They each have varying degrees of interest.

My five year old has grown up in the garden eating freshly pulled carrots, asparagus, peas, etc and eating apricots and peaches right of the tree is what he is used to. He is a joy to have in the garden. He helps plant seeds and entertains himself alongside me.

When I have bigger jobs that my teenage boys can do, I often pay them. It lets them earn some money and teaches them to work hard. For example, last fall I hired my 14-year-old to move all of the rocks from around the raised beds. He worked hard for 9 hours and earned some spending money, and I was happy to have the rocks out of the garden.

My advice would be to start small and grow food your children like to eat. Involve them in the process and keep it fun. Be aware of age-appropriate tasks they are capable of and let them do it, even if it isn’t done exactly how you would have done it. Make the experience a positive one. Make the garden a place they have good memories of time spent and yummy food eaten.

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” Robert Brault

A photo posted by Angela (@arizonagardener) on

When you have an issue in your garden and you aren’t sure of the cause what do you do to troubleshoot?

University of Arizona Extension Office Publications are my go-to resource. They contain research-based suggestions and information for here in Arizona. I also use the book I mentioned previously, Month by Month Gardening in the Deserts of Arizona by Mary Irish.

What are you most excited to grow this season?

This fall I am looking forward to growing carrots, peas, beans, broccoli, and kale. These are things we eat right out of the garden and love.

They may be magic beans… every day there are more to harvest. Good thing we like them!

A photo posted by Angela (@arizonagardener) on

Thank you so much for your inspiration and wise words on parenting in the garden, Angela.

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