Patti Moreno is the founder and star of Garden Girl TV, a website where she posts videos about urban sustainable living. At this year’s Expo East, she is opening her Boston-area garden for an Urban Farm Tour.
Originally from New York, Moreno studied film production in college. She never thought that her path would take her from producing television commercials, music videos and documentaries to producing vegetables, herbs and salad greens. She traded in her film-producer hat for a sunhat and gardening gloves after the birth of her daughter 11 years ago. “I had gained 70 pounds,” Moreno says. “And you can’t really go to the gym when you have a newborn to take care of, so I started fixing up my yard.” A true city girl who had “no idea” what she was doing, she gained confidence little by little until she achieved her first big success: a mini-orchard.
“The first time I got apples, it was just awesome,” Moreno says. “You never know until you grow your own food how delicious it can be and how superior the taste is.”
When she and her family relocated to a 3/4-acre property in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, Moreno’s hobby became an all-out passion. The main vegetable garden has 16 raised beds, each planted with a specific cuisine in mind. Tomatoes, basil, onions, peppers and oregano mingle in the Italian bed. Habanero peppers, cilantro and red kidney beans are a nod to Moreno’s Puerto Rican heritage. “It’s important to connect that the food you are growing will end up on the kitchen table. It’s about growing the right amount of things, rather than a million pounds of zucchini that you’ll end up giving away at the office.”
Moreno’s overall philosophy and the foundation of her gardening how-to
videos (available on gardengirltv.com) is to keep it simple and find things that you can incorporate into your lifestyle, even if you live in a city. “I’m all about maximizing growing space,” she says. There’s a lot you can do indoors or on a sunny patio or porch. “You may not be able to feed your whole family, but you can supplement what you have. Those of us who live in cities are the ones who use the most resources to support our lifestyles.”
Participants in this year’s Urban Farm Tour will see the fruits of Moreno’s labors firsthand—including the main garden, a patio garden, the orchard and the demonstration garden where Moreno filmed herself building an entire plot from scratch for her DVD, Urban Sustainable Living with Patti Moreno. “I’m not preachy. I don’t want to intimidate people,” she says. “I just show how I do it, and hope it will inspire someone else to try it, to get jazzed up and say, ‘You know what? I can do one little thing.’” –Cara Hopkins
Learn more about Patti Moreno and urban gardening at gardengirltv.com. The Expo East Urban Farm Tour takes place on Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sign up at expoeast.com.