Do you dream of harvesting fresh, delicious vegetables right outside your kitchen door
- but you have limited space, time, or energy?
Discover how you can harvest abundant crops of food twelve months a year by using simple tools, small garden beds, trellises, and unheated cold frames.
Welcome! My name is Debra Graff, and I have been growing my own organic vegetables in small garden beds for over 30 years. I have a degree in organic agriculture, and I have trained new Master Gardeners about vegetable gardening. I have also taught organic gardening at a local college. In addition, I'm the author of: The Abundant Mini Garden's Guide to Vertical Vegetable Gardening.
Why I am passionate about growing most of our own vegetables
My sister and I share a home in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Eating nutrient-dense organic food is a critical part of my life, because I use this food to help control a serious autoimmune disease - psoriatic spondylitis. This disease has attacked and damaged my joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout my body.
Until I started a diet which focuses on eating primarily nutrient-dense whole foods, I was in severe pain 24 hours a day for over 3 years. I was not able to tolerate taking any pain medications, and conventional immune suppressant medications did not help.
Vegetables now make up nearly two-thirds of most meals that we eat. We also buy food from local farmers, so about 80% of our meals are produced locally within 50 miles of our home.
Because this diet is essential for helping to control my pain, I take the quality of my food very seriously. Fresh organic food is incredibly expensive and we eat a LOT of it (up to 12 servings a day of fruits and vegetables), so my sister and I decided to grow much of the plant food that we eat.
Another benefit of growing our own vegetables is that home-grown food tastes much better than store-bought, and the nutrient levels of freshly-harvested plants can be up to twice as high as week-old store produce. That's very important to me right now, because I'm using my food as medicine.
Because of my disabilities, my sister and I designed a new garden. I can't work down at ground level, so we created high raised beds with concrete blocks that I can sit on. We have limited level space with full sun, so we garden intensively and we use a lot of trellises.
To extend our garden season, we also use cold frames and row cover. We’ve learned how to plan our garden so that we have fresh food to eat nearly every week of the year, even in our hardiness zone 6 climate.
My sister, Brenda, handles most of the labor involved, while I plan the garden and help when I can. This website, my courses, and our garden would not be possible without my sister's assistance.
Whether you want to grow most of your own vegetables, like my sister and I do, or just a few of your favorite ones,
come join the Abundant Mini Gardens community!
Start your journey with a FREE 10-part video course!
Click the blue button below:
Debra Graff has done an excellent job in putting this course together. The graphs and models and pictures she uses go a long way to thoroughly explain each of her 10 topics for gardening in a small space... Thank you, Debra, for putting together this course.
This course was wonderful . Now I have all the knowledge I need fresh in my memory... Thanks again for all of your knowledge that you are so generous to share. It is much appreciated. Your teaching method is so easy to understand.
The information was straight and to the point, not full of fluff. The most informative for me was the section on succession planting, something I have not tried yet. But, it sounds very beneficial in several ways, so, I'll have to follow the resources and try it this season.