Starting a home garden in Birmingham—including tips from Trevor Mann of Walden Farms

If you’re at home, might as well flex that green thumb! Photo via Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Now that we’re practicing social distancing and springtime is here, it’s the perfect time to start that project that’s been in the back of your mind—a home garden. Check out these tips and tricks to develop your green thumb, including advice from Birmingham’s Trevor Mann of Walden FARMacy.

Now’s the perfect time to work on that green thumb

Although it can be difficult at times, I’ve been trying to see the bright side of social distancing. As a person who finds it hard to sit still, now’s the perfect time to pick up a hobby I’ve always been interested in.

A silver lining to the coronavirus is that it’s putting a bright spotlight on all the fragile parts of our society.

Trevor Man of Walden Farms

Trevor couldn’t have said it better. With food security being such a relevant topic, building your home garden will not only relieve some of the stress caused by this pandemic, but also teach us to create food-producing ecosystems in our own backyards.

Let’s Build A Garden, Birmingham

shoppe greenhouse
Shoppe’s greenhouse is every plant lover’s dream. Photo via Chaise Sanders for Bham Now.

First things first. Start small.

If you’re a beginner like me, we should probably just start small. I feel like a larger garden could get a bit overwhelming and we don’t want that extra stress. Grab those seed packets, borrow cuttings from a neighbor or check out curbside at your nearest garden shop. Let’s get started!

Plant what you would like to eat

indoor herbs
Move your garden inside and have your own collection herbs on your windowsill. Bon appetit! Photo via Christine Bird on Shutterstock.

Some of us want to plant for aesthetic purposes only and there’s no shame in that! For those who would like to take their produce right from the yard to the kitchen, here are some of Trevor’s suggestions that are ideal for the Alabama climate:

  • Radishes
  • Baby greens
  • Chickweed
  • Violet
  • Dandelion
  • Cressy Greens
  • Lambs Quarters

Plant what will nurture your body

It’s that time of year that has you wondering if you’re sick or if it’s just allergies. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to your health whether that’s immune-boosting or putting those allergies in check.

For those holistic approaches to immunity pick-me-ups, Trevor suggests planting:

  • Reishi mushroom
  • Astragalus
  • Bladderwrack
  • Stinging nettle

Walden Farmacy uses herbs to make allergy blends sold in-store. Consider adding these to your garden when you want to nip allergy symptoms in the bud:

  • Nettle + Mullien + Goldenrod + Artichoke for seasonal allergies
  • Fennel + Fenugreek + Mullien for decongestion

Stock up on your herbs at Walden Farmacy’s herb walk and plant sale on April 11-12th. You can also learn more about their permaculture farm that uses ethical and holistic systems of design that work with nature rather than against it. Find more info on Facebook.

Show your garden some TLC

Although it can be a low-maintenance job once the seeds are planted, you want to make sure your garden isn’t neglected. That means making sure the soil isn’t too dry…or too wet, watching out for pest and just letting it do its thing.

Bringing the Garden Inside

house plants
Besides puppies, nothing makes me happier than seeing aesthetic house plants. Photo by Hannah Chambley for Bham Now.

Starting a home garden just isn’t for you? You can still put your green thumb to a different test. A few plants around the house can make all the difference.

Check out these 10 house plants that even you can’t kill

  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Aloe Vera
  • Air Plant
  • Pathos
  • Snake Plant
  • Jade Plant
  • Heart Leaf Philodendron
  • Chrismas Cactus
  • Burro’s Tail
  • Snake Plant

Not only do they look pretty but they’re good for you and your home

botanica instagram
Agreed. Photo via @botanica_bhm on Instagram.

Houseplants are a great way to liven up your space without committing to a big makeover. Not only will they cheer you up, but they’ll benefit your health. Here’s how:

  • They clean the air by reducing common toxins and indoor pollutants.
  • They boost your mental well-being.
  • Taking care of plants gives you a sense of accomplishment when you need a little pick-me-up.
  • They have the ability to improve your quality of sleep.

Places To Get Your Plant Fix

shoppe picture
Shoppe is good place to start for all your home gardening needs. Photo by Chaise Sanders for Bham Now.

Those are just a few local places for some great plant finds but your nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s could also do the trick.

Plan to Get Involved in Your Local Community Garden

Birmingham residents, Felita Powell (mom) and Skylar Nicks (daughter) volunteering at the West End Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Toyota Green Initiative

If you don’t have room or time to manage a home garden, there are several great community gardens around Birmingham to get involved with.

Check out this article to find the one nearest to you.

What new projects are you working on during social distancing? Let us know on social @BhamNow.


  • Chaise is a brunch-loving Content Producer and helps manage the Bham Now Instagram account.