I See What You Can Do Better

Vegetable Garden Consultations Madison Wisconsin

My front yard garden bursting with flowers and vegetables last fall.

I can’t help it. When I’m walking down the street past neighbors’ vegetable gardens or biking by the community gardens on my way to work I instantly start to think about what each gardener could do to get better results from her garden. I keep my mouth shut and I don’t offer suggestions unless asked directly, but I do notice.

I’ve been working with gardeners in their own yards for seven years and I’ve learned what works in most situations.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your yard and not sure where to begin?

Do you have ideas for your garden but don’t know exactly how to translate them into action?

Do you want a professional to help you figure out how what to do in your garden?

I have been out and about these past few weeks visiting with gardeners all over town and discussing a wide array of topics. Maybe you have some of the same issues as the following gardeners?

Sarah has raised vegetable beds in her yard in two different locations. One location seemed to perform much better than the other one. With my solar pathfinder we discovered the underperforming beds were in a shady part of her yard. After walking through several scenarios we hatched a plan for her to move the shaded beds to join the others that were in full sun. We also decided on some design additions like fencing in the garden area with a cute gate and adding some trellises along the house for visual interest and height.

I visited with Molly in her sweet and tidy back yard. She and her husband had a fenced area running along the back of the property that enclosed a weedy perennial bed and several shrubs. She wanted to add raised beds for vegetables, control the weeds, and beautify the area. With stakes and twine we decided on the layout and location of the raised beds. I suggested adding some curved mounds for perennials and herbs to add some visual interest and echo some of the other soft lines in the garden. We walked step by step through the process, writing down the sequence of actions they’ll take. I drew up a materials list with source suggestions and shared my favorite varieties of the vegetables she’ll plant in her garden.

I would love to help you come up with a plan to improve your garden this spring.  During my one hour garden consultations we spend time in your garden and talk about anything you want. You ask lots of questions, I offer suggestions and design ideas and we end our time together with an action plan for you to implement. May is a great time to re-envision your garden! Schedule your consultation here.

If you live outside of the Madison area I do offer phone consultations. Reply to this email if you’re interested in setting one up.


  • I want to eliminate some flowerbeds and create a vegetable garden but most of my yard has had some sort of artificial weed killer or fertilizer used on it over the years. Two years ago I had a 5’x10′ area dug out and new soil brought in. We dug down 10″. I really want to grow more vegetables but fear my soil is so tainted that I would be growing toxic produce. Suggestions? Please keep in mind that I am alone when it comes to gardening and on a very limited budget. So bringing in landscapers may be out of my price range. Thank you for any help you can provide.

  • Hilary Kemsley

    For years I ordered well seasoned mushroom compost which always arrived ready to go in the gardens. This year my husband build me a beautiful 3.5′ raised bed out of cedar that I wanted to fill with the same material. A local landscaper offered me free mushroom compost as long as I hired his guy to fill the box. BUT the mushroom compost is so raw! Maybe that’s why it was free. Im worried it will burn my vegetable seedlings.

  • Hilary Kemsley

    Thanks for writing back so quickly, Megan. I’m going to mix it with soil on Saturday and see what happens. In on,y one day, the squirrels ate my five fledgling strawberries, dug up a cucumber and broke a sprig off my tiny oregano plant! Won’t be feeding too many people with the meagre veggies left untouched. :))

    • Oh no! How frustrating! You could consider using row cover on some plants to protect them from pests. It just needs to be taken off when vegetables are flowering so they can get pollinated. Some people use netting to protect their strawberries.

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