Theresa feeds her family of 4 from her garden

City Homesteading:
In today’s world, most of the food we love, such as watermelon and strawberries can be had on any given day of the year. Yet to call them fresh or even local would be a major understatement. In fact, on average, the food we eat today traveled 1,500 miles from farm to fork, which is not exactly great for the environment.

In this episode we visit with Joe’s then Associate Producer of Growing a Greener World, and homesteading expert, Theresa Loe. (Theresa is now the Co-Executive Producer of the show.) Joe, Nathan and Patti descend on Theresa’s small but productive urban garden in LA to see first-hand how this popular blogger and trained Master Canner incorporates enough produce aesthetically to feed her family of four. Annuals and perennials are intermingled with vegetables, herbs, fruit and chickens for a visually pleasing yet highly productive garden and outdoor learning environment for her two young boys.

Espaliering fruit trees is a productive way to save space in a small garden

Chef Nathan takes us on a tour of a local farmer’s market with tips on what to look for as we shop for super fresh produce. Supporting your local farmer is an important way to reduce ‘food miles’…the amount of resources it takes to get food items from their growing source to your grocer. Learning how to eat seasonally is a key concept in embracing this lifestyle.

And, Patti shows us an inexpensive way to reproduce one of those ‘upside down planters’. When space is at a premium in your urban landscape this could be the way to squeeze a few extra vegetable plants into your garden plan.

For more information:

More about food miles

Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

Garden Fresh Living



Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.

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    • says

      Hi Jamie. Yes, some of our episodes get repackaged along the way. So either the show is the same but with a different episode number, as this one. Others have new content in them but the bulk of the show is the same. Think of them as hybrids. Hope that helps.

  1. says

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  3. says

    I was never able to convince my young-uns to garden until after they were out of the house and on their own. My 31-year old son started his first veggie garden in Kentucky this year and loves it. I’ve also never warmed to the idea of backyard chickens, although I have plenty of space for a coop and roaming room. I’m quite impressed with your ability to garden in such a small space Ms. Theresa. Whimsical repurposing is an art form and you’re a pro at it, your garden is beautiful, even with those feathery things running around in it.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thanks so much TC!

      I think it is great that your son has started his first veggie garden. I bet he knows more than he realizes just by being around your garden. You are so kind with your comments about my “whimsical repurposing”. Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it…with or without the feathery things. LOL


  4. Jerrilynn says

    I never knew about this show until about a month ago. Now I am COMPLETELY hooked! I’ve always loved watching Nathan Lyon cook (was a huge fan of Lyon In The Kitchen). I didn’t get to have a spring garden this year due to having to move right in the middle of planting season, but I’m growing a fall garden and am SO inspired by this show. We started out a couple of years ago with 4 chickens but have a lot more than that now! Joe, Theresa, Nathan, and Patti are my new heroes! I hope this show continues to grow in popularity. Thanks for putting it out there! Can I come to work for you??? :)

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thanks so much Jerrilynn –

      We love that you are so excited about the show and glad you are getting good info from it. That is all we can hope for!


  5. says

    I really liked the upside down tomato planter idea with the herbs on top. i hope you do not mind me sharing the idea with my blog followers.

  6. Tony says

    Congratulations Theresa! I am impressed by your vision, efforts, and creativity in your gardening. I’m truly inspired and hope to emulate your garden. An integrated garden is delightful! I’m working on relocating fruit trees, placing stone, rearranging the layout, and fetching colorful, fragrant and/or edible plants – are there some books you can recommend on this subject? How about on bee-keeping? Unfortunately, I live in a city that frowns upon chicken rearing, but we’re still lobbying our city officials on behalf of the egg-laying critters! Thank you!

  7. Katrina Pattison says

    I caught this program for the first time today on PBS and was totally enthralled with Theresa Loe’s chicken coop! I had bantams growing up who had the run of my parents property and have been planning on building a coop for my own flock. My husband and I have been looking at various designs for coops and really are intrigued with the design of the one in your backyard. Can you share where you purchased the coop or if you built it yourselves, if there was a plan you followed? We would love to see the coop closer up and mimic it for our own yard, would you please share with us? We would greatly appreciate any help you can give us in creating such a lovely coop for ourselves!
    Sincerely, Katrina and Mark

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Katrina,
      Thanks for your lovely comment on my coop. I purchased the coop from a company called The Green Chicken Coop Co. and had it shipped to my Los Angeles home. You can see all their coops here:

      The coop does NOT come with a green roof. I added that myself. I covered the roof with pond liner plastic and the attached plastic “wall garden” planters that I found at the local home improvement center. You can see more photos of my coop and garden at my website:

      Thanks for watching and I hope you are able to find a coop design that you enjoy!


  8. says

    Wow! This is my favorite episode yet, very inspiring! Thank you for showing productive vegetable gardening doesn’t require a large space… just creativity, desire and having the family help (the best part)! Kudos!

    • Theresa Loe says

      Wow Lisa – your favorite? I am so honored!

      And for those readers that do not know – I hope they tune into #gardenchat every monday night on twitter (6PM PST& 9PM East Coast time). Lisa is one of the hosts and they have great topics!

      Thank you for your comment. {I’m humbled!}

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thanks Annette! I could not agree with you more (obviously – since we filmed in my backyard).

      Thank you for stopping by!

  9. says

    I’m so impressed with your work Theresa. Your edible garden is designed in a way that affords maximum enjoyment and food production. So much nicer than vegetable plots! Great inspiration.
    Shirley Bovshow

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thanks Shirley –
      That means a lot coming from such an expert as you! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the episode!

  10. Theresa Loe says

    You are welcome Kim and thank YOU for the great comment. You are correct. Gardening with children and helping to develop the next stewards of the earth is a serious passion of mine. I am so glad that came through as I hope others will see how fun and rewarding it is.

    Thanks for watching and I am happy to hear you are now “hooked”!

  11. says

    This is the first time I’ve watched this program (we don’t get it here) and now I’m hooked!
    As a small organic farmer I appreciated the plug for your local farmer’s market…its really is an amazing resource that many communities have.

    Theresa your garden is truly and inspiration! You have so beautifully shown that you do not need a large yard in the country to live a self-sustainable life full of ‘real food’. I am so impressed at your passion for gardening with your children, a personal passion of mine also.

    Thanks so much for sharing your little slice of gardening heaven with all of us! Kim

  12. says

    I’m so glad I can watch the episodes online since I don’t get them here on television.
    Loved this one. Although I have four acres I am always drawn to others small space gardens. It just seems like it takes a lot of creativity to use the space to it’s fullest potential and it’s fun to see what others are doing. Theresa your garden is functional and also so pretty. Love the chickens too.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thank you so very much. I do have to “think outside the box” sometimes to fit all that I want into my tiny space. It definitely keeps me on my toes. But, oh what I wouldn’t give to have 4 acres like you! I will pass on your message to the chickens. They will be thrilled to know that you enjoyed the episode so much!

  13. says

    Wow, I’m blown away! I initially wanted to stop by the site and show my support for this episode on Theresa, but wasn’t expecting to come away with what I did. I garden in the city on a balcony, most of my landscape design clients don’t grow their own food and none have chickens. But on every level, I was blown away! I love the design of Theresa’s garden (think a cottage garden is just casually thrown together? Think again!), was impressed to see how much she grows in such a small space, and totally inspired to do/grow more than I thought I could! I haven’t really encouraged my clients with urban homesteading to this point–now I think I’ve gotten the inspiration I needed!

    Thank you SO much for such an informative show! Having seen an episode filmed here in Austin, I know how much hard work goes into it, but still amazed that you all pull it off with such humor and top-notch information. This show is the real deal!

    • Theresa Loe says

      WOW! Thanks so much Jenny. What a great comment. I am glad that you enjoyed the episode and that you found it so informative. We very much appreciate the feedback and hope you keep coming back for more!

    • says

      Thanks Jenny. Yes YOU do know what’s involved in pulling off a show like this. Thank you for appreciating our efforts to deliever the kind of content you (and others) seem to be appreciating. That means a lot to me and our whole team. You know we work really hard at this so thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts.

  14. says

    This is wonderful great intro to learning to live better/simpler.
    Theresa’s garden is one of the most beautiful and inspiring I’ve ever seen. Her explanation of what works well, especially with kids inspires hope. If enough people learn to think like this then this truly can be the decade of “hope” for Americans.

    At this moment I’m beginning my own ‘victory garden’, composting (in two countries) and beginning to can the fruit that I can’t eat. I couldn’t be more thankful for the timeliness of this webcast.

    Kudos to all involved. Joe and Theresa seem to be natural teachers. In that you are all beautiful people should be advertisement itself to growing green. You all, Patti and Nathan included, are great role models who clearly love what you do. Now I’m going to look for the episode on canning.

    Endless praise is deserved.

    • says

      Wow Patrick. Your kind words are very much appreciated. You are right in that we certainly love what we do, and feel a real passion for sharing the GGW message with our viewers. Best of luck with your “international’ victory gardens.

      Thank you very much for your generous comments!

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thank you Patrick for your generous comment! I am so glad that you enjoyed the episode and my garden. Gardening with children and living homegrown are true passions for me and I am glad that came through on the episode.

      How exciting for you to be gardening in two countries! We will have some videos up here soon that will help you with your canning adventures. They are already filmed, they just need to be edited before we can get them up here for you. Stay tuned!

      Thanks again for watching and for taking the time to write such a wonderful comment.

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