May 3, 2022 - Things to Do

Gardening tips from a passionate local tween

Boy in a garden
Owen Dodson works on his raised-bed garden last spring. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Alessio

Owen Dodson's passion for plants bloomed early. "When I was 5 or 6, I started gardening with my dad and kind of fell in love with it," the Bloomingdale eighth grader tells Axios.

  • Owen's father passed away unexpectedly last spring, and he's used gardening as a way to remember and heal.

🧑‍🌾 In the week before the start of the unofficial planting season, we asked if he could share some of his experiences and tips.

His crops: "I love to plant pumpkins and watermelons because even though they're challenging, they're a whole bunch of fun."

  • "I also like sunflowers because I see them as a vegetable and flower at the same time."
  • Owen also sprouts potatoes in his closet over the winter so he can plant them in mid-spring to be ready by the fall.

Be smart: "Lettuce is probably the easiest and fastest to grow," Owen says. "It's great for cool climates, and you can harvest in one big bunch or over time."

  • "Radish is another cool-season crop and very, very fast growing. So if you're impatient with gardening, it's a really fun plant to grow.
  • "Herbs are really easy to grow. Probably the easiest one of all of them is basil, which is a classic. And there are all sorts of different colors and flavors. So I find those are a lot of fun."

What we're watching: Owen doesn't just garden. The tween also hosts the YouTube cooking show "Owen's Treats."

  • Recipes range from baked buñuelos and peanut butter bars to his all-time favorite, a chocolate chip cookie microwaved in a mug.
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