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Home Sweet Homegrown (+ Giveaway!!!)

The time of gardening is upon us friends! From spring weather-loving crops to those heat-cravings vegetables of summer, the days of seeds and soil and planting and gathering are here. Hubs and Huxley and I have been out in our garden every day, mucking around, getting dirty, and loving it all!

While I’ve been gardening for some time, there’s always so much more to learn. The gardening and growing learning curve is so very steep, and long, it seems, perhaps owing to the variability of successful techniques from region to region, climate to climate, and even one growing season to the next. Adaptability and an “oh, well!” disposition are essentials in gardening, just as much as good gloves, compost, and a trusty trowel, I’ve decided!

To help me, though, and you, too, thankfully we’ve got Robyn Jasko. Introduced to me via my buddy Jodi (proprietress extraordinaire of Asheville’s beloved Short Street Cakes), Robyn has just published a lovely little book on how to grow, and grow well. Home Sweet Homegrown takes your hand and lovingly walks you through the entire growing spectrum, from seed-starting to sowing to harvesting all the way up through cooking and even preserving what you’ve grown. It’s compact enough to fit in your the back pocket of your gardening jeans, but dense enough to become a go-to source time and time again.

Robyn and her publisher, Microcosm Publishing, have generously offered two small measure readers copies of her book, along with the 5-packet seed kit pictured above. How cool is that?! All that’s needed to enter the giveaway is a comment saying what you’re looking forward to growing. For me, it’s pumpkins. I have 6 varieties started and I can’t wait to bake, carve and decorate with them come Autumn. YES!

I’ll run the giveaway through next Wednesday, May 16th, midnight EST. In your comment, please leave a means of reaching you should you be the winner(s), via a link back to your blog or website or by leaving your email address in your comment (don’t forget this essential step, folks! I’ve had far too many numbers selected by the Random Widget only to find there’s no way whatsoever of reaching the commenter!).

Even if you don’t win, do check out Robyn’s book and her website, This lady knows what she’s doing and has got an enormous amount of seasoned gardening wisdom at her (dirty!) fingertips! Thank you, Robyn, and thank you Microcosm!

127 Responses to Home Sweet Homegrown (+ Giveaway!!!)

  • Chiara says:

    Here in Rome backyards are a rare luxury so, after years of daydreaming about getting my hands dirty, I'm finally starting my very own rooftop terrace mini-garden. I hope to grow my very own fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, lemons and strawberries. Happy gardening!

  • Tracey says:

    I am looking forward to growing watermelons, I can eat my weight in them daily!

  • Yasmin says:

    I'd love to grow fresh herbs and tomatoes! Fresh herbs add so much to a dish (not to mention the compound butters that I could make)…

  • Kelli says:

    I just dug a potato patch this year and I'm so excited to harvest them for the first time!

  • Emily says:

    I would love to win this book! I'm growing the basics- organic lettuces, cilantro, Chard, carrots.

  • Melissa D says:

    What a super sweet-looking book!

    I'm growing a slew of things this year but I'm most excited about the kaleidoscope carrot mix. I tend to grow things I can't find at our fantastic farmer's market, so that often means raising the brightest, oddest varieties of things!

    (luckyolive at gmail)

  • El Gaucho says:

    I'm looking forward to the three kinds of watermelons I have started from seed. There's nothing quite like a cool fresh watermelon on a warm summer afternoon.

  • astoriaAnn says:

    I would love someone to hold my hand through gardening. All I've ever grown successfully were tomatoes and herbs.

  • kateyb says:

    okra, okra and more okra. im such a southern girl :)

  • Dorothy says:

    We have 45 sweet potato slips scheduled for arrival sometime next month. All heritage varieties from Sand Hill Preservation Society. Exciting!!!!

  • kateyb says:

    okra, okra and more okra. im such a southern girl :)

    AND i cant follow instructions. hee.

  • How exciting. I'm most looking forward to the cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. The girls love to pick a ripe tomato and just snack on it right in the middle of the garden.

  • Jennifer Brewer says:

    I've got my herbs and tomatoes but I want to grow beans and squash this year and I get confused with all the varieties. I need to know what will work where I live and want to grow to can and eat all winter. My newest adventure this year was an Orange Fizz Geranium. It smells wonderful and I was told I could bake with it.
    Jennifer Brewer

  • I've been looking forward to my tomatoes of course, as well as zucchini. But I'm most excited this year about my small test crop of heirloom grain corn – I'm just starting to foray into grain growing!

  • Rebecca S. says:

    Tomatillos, I'm addicted to the salsa verde we canned last year!

  • Moma Chas says:

    This year is a big year for us and we are growing more than we ever have. I also have pumpkins growing, for the first time mind you. :)
    Sweet potatoes are in the ground also, another first time crop.
    Thanks for the chance to win such a great prize!

    You can find me at

  • Jen says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jen says:

    I always look forward to basil – my long hot summers give me a bumper crop.

  • jen says:

    I'm looking forward to growing beans, so I can watch my daughter eat them right from the vine. It's more fun to eat the vegetables you grow of course!

  • Rachel says:

    I'm looking forward to growing some tomatoes! They are by far my favorite garden fruit. However, this year I'm going to attempt to grow some of the giant pumpkin variety, just for fun! :)

  • Caitlin says:

    Strawberries! Hoping to find some of the alpine strawberry species!




  • I'm looking forward to growing garden huckleberries this summer. They're not true huckleberries, but some strange solanaceous plant that you can prepare like real huckleberries (with the aid of lots of sugar)!

  • Nala says:

    hoping our little urban garden will produce well this year (haven't had much success in the past). would love to win that book!

  • Melanie J. says:

    I've been wanting to start a pizza garden, or at least some herbs, but my conditions are less than optimal. What a great giveaway, thanks for the opportunity! (celticautumn69atyahoodotcom)

  • Kim says:

    That lasagna gardening looks interesting! So far I've got beets and peas in the ground with tomatoes soon following, but I'm such a hesitant gardener and would love to read this book in hopes of becoming knowledgeable and confident of my green thumb!

  • This year my husband has done all the work…just a week or two out and our sugar snaps are already looking REALLY good. Those are my favorite out of the whole season, so I'm eagerly awaiting them!
    Sarah M

  • Amie says:

    This year I'm looking forward to the challenge of gardening in northern NY. Planting commences next week with my friend who has so kindly offered to share her garden space with us as we have just a lake for our backyard.

  • I'm trying my hand at rhubarb this year, My first time artichokes are coming along beautifully!

  • I can't wait to head to the farmer's market and pick up some herbs to grow. I love flavored mints, like pineapple, in my water in the summer time.

  • Jessica says:

    Basil and tomatoes so I can make my favorite pasta sauce!

    penrynsdreams at gmail dot com

  • I'm adding strawberries this year but the think I look forward to the most every year are fresh cucumbers! bonnie(at)weboardshop(dot)com

  • Su says:

    I'm looking forward to planting tomatoes.

  • Lorena says:

    I don't know how to leave my email address without making it public

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm looking forward to hot peppers! Lots of hot peppers!

  • Sarah says:

    I always look forward to herbs and veggies, but this year I'm especially excited about the new cut flower bed at the community garden!

  • petoskystone says:

    I'm looking forward to cinnamon basil, & cucumbers :)

  • Heartsdesire says:

    Looks like a very informative book. Something for every gardener. I'm growing a lot of herbs this year, and freezing anything that's left over at the end of the season so I can enjoy them year round.

  • This looks like a great book!! Thanks. sharonbosw(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Kay says:

    I'm looking forward to my cucumbers. Just look today and i have a little,bitty cucumber growing, about 1/2 inch. I just can't wait for them to get big enough.

  • I forgot to mention what I am most excited to grow this year. Kale and Chard and oh zucchini. I better stop there. Thanks again, sorry for the repeat. sharonbosw(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Anonymous says:

    I am looking forward to tomatoes- all shapes, colors and flavors.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • lisa says:

    Tomatoes and basil!!! I can't seem to get enough of both in the summertime.

  • Bethany says:

    What a lovely book! Last year we did the CSA route. This year we can finally do our own garden! i'm looking forward to green beans, tomato & strawberry jam (for all the canning i can do with them!)

  • Kate says:

    I'm attempting pie pumpkins growing up trellises and supported by old hosiery! :)

  • Kris says:

    Everything! The most exciting is the tomatoes I've started from seed. I've never been successful starting my own transplants, but this year it looks like it might be a go.
    This book looks awesome. Even if I don't win, it's definitely near the top of my wish list.
    krisnusskern at gmail dot com

  • Melissa says:

    Hmm…it appears that I will be growing weeds at the rate I'm going…not good. I hope my tomatoes are a success, but this is my first year gardening, so we'll see. I'm thinking that book would be a godsend.

  • Lauren says:

    Herbs- especially cilantro since we go through so much of it. The book looks amazing!

  • Ericabee says:

    I can't wait for my heirloom alpine strawberries to ripen! I grew them from seed last spring and that was no easy feat! Hopefully they will make a nice little batch of homemade strawberry lemonbalm jam, sweetened with backyard honey.

  • Gill says:

    I'm looking forward to tomatoes! I'm growing 6 different varieties so I'm hoping for a good growing season!!

  • Laura says:

    Three varieties of tomatoes.

  • k a t says:

    Tomatoes, always tomatoes. There can never be enough and in Seattle we usually don't even get close to enough for me!

  • says:

    I would love to win this book. I have the basics in my garden and I also planted one watermelon plant.

  • Tomatoes and cucumbers are first on our list to grow and then herbs such as rosemary or basil.

  • I've started a nice little garden this year. It includes greens, peas, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes. Everything is starting to grow and I can't wait till I can eat them!

    skylarknme @

  • Tomatoes!! Lots and Lots of tomatoes.

  • becki says:

    I'm excited to grow watermelon! I remember growing them as a child (well, my parents grew them) and I loved it!

  • i'm looking forward to a few different heirloom tomatoes- i scored a bunch of heirloom uglies last summer at the farmer's market and made the. best. sauce. ever. so this summer i hope to recreate it with my own tomatoes :)

  • Jessica says:

    I'm looking forward to fresh beets, fennel, and of course tomatoes from our garden. Also, It's about time to bring in some rhubarb. It's calling to me.

  • sarah says:

    I'm super excited about the 50 strawberry plants a friend gifted to me when she thinned her patch! I can't wait to sit in the garden feasting on sun-warm berries.

    (I'm not sure if my email address comes up with my comment or not, I always leave it in the space on the form, but… sarah dot brassard at gmail dot com)

  • Hollie says:

    This looks like an amazing book. I am so looking forward to homegrown tomatoes and corn straight off the stalk. Mmmm…

  • Molly says:

    I'm looking forward to growing potatoes (already in the ground) and sweet potatoes.

  • Sarah says:

    I'm looking forward to growing paprika peppers and west Indian gherkins! I can't wait to taste the homegrown paprikas though.
    sarahmelisse (at) gmail (dot) com

  • tbos says:

    I am trying out some artichokes this year, probably won't get much with this short season, but they will be beautiful!

  • Anonymous says:

    all tomatoes, all the time. :)
    allison (dot) bjorndahl (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Inge says:

    I could really use a book like this! Last year I just planted some things I eat a lot, like tomatoes and bell peppers, but we have bad soil and little sun and eventually the cold winter got the best of them. This year I'm looking forward to lettuce and arugula, they should do better and tasty nonetheless!

  • ddu says:

    More sweet potatoes this year. What a no-brainer, what a delicious harvest. Best wishes!


  • Robin Lauzon says:

    We're just starting our first raised bed and we're so excited! First summer in our first-owned house too. Contact me:

  • Lana in MI says:

    I am really looking forward to growing tomatoes again this year! Canning is my thing.
    Lana Schaub in MI

  • Kim says:

    This year we are growing strawberries in our new raised bed! We love strawberries. My real babies are the heirloom tomatoes that I have grown from seed obtained through Sow True Seed, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine and Amish paste. I am so excited. I have babied these plants for months now and can't wait to taste the fruit!!

  • lilybeans says:

    I cannot wait for my tomatoes to come out. We planted 12 in our urban garden. I love fresh tomato juice!

  • Michelle says:

    First garden ever and looking forward to it all, but mostly green peppers!


  • Caron says:

    Thanks! The book looks great! This year I planted strawberries for the first time! Can't wait!

  • Elizabeth says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I know it sounds so mundane but I am fallen totally in love with all things tomatoes. I also added a blueberry bush and peppermint to my garden. And yes I did confine my peppermint to a container.

    Home Sweet Homegrown seems like the garedning version of Make YOur Place by Raleigh Briggs which is a favorite of mine.

    In previous post I did what you asked us nt to and that was to leave out my contact information.So here goes,

  • Caro says:

    I'm growing peas this year. I'm looking forward to the pea shoots almost as much as the peas themselves!

  • Jake n Kait says:

    Right now I'm most excited for my peas. Probably cause that's what I'll be munching on first! My tastes evolve over the summer according to my garden.

  • Rebecca says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Rebecca says:

    Looking forward to lots of strange heirloom varieties of toms and peppers – for salsa!

  • Heather says:

    This is the first year I'm growing tomatoes and tomatillos from seed (I've always just bought the transplants at the local nursery). I'm especially excited about growing my own San Marzano paste tomatoes!


  • Lucinda says:

    This year is my first 'real' veggie garden so I am excited about everything! Just hoping my seedlings will take!!

  • Leanna says:

    Basil! Now if I can just keep the rabbits away… leannafford at

  • Rosanne says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Rosanne says:

    After just moving to this new place in August, I have been busy trying to craft a garden from a lawn so that we can have some harvest this summer and fall — I already have enjoyed lettuce, chard and kale — but I am most excited about growing potatoes for the first time ever! Now if I can just keep the beetles away! :o)

  • oukay says:

    I am looking forward to my Cherry Roma and Everglades tomatoes – some of the few that do well in our summer.

    (sauercoleman at gmail)

  • angelak says:

    SUNFLOWERS! We have a huge vegetable garden, and there are always some sunflowers in there. But this year, I am claiming my own little sunflower patch outside of the garden. Can't wait.
    kopetan at

  • Justin says:

    I'm just looking to have a successful year with enough tomatoes to can, a few more than the two or three small peppers I usually get, and maybe some cukes and zucchini (which most people get a-plenty, but I seem to have a hard time with). I love getting home from work, walking out to the garden and seeing what's for dinner that night.

  • Lynn says:

    What a great giveaway!

    hhenna73 at

  • claudia says:

    your giveaways are so special! my garden will be filled with herbs this summer. . .i do love your blog ashley. . .

  • Tammy says:

    I am looking forward to growing patty pan squash for the first time – started seeds a while back and they are doing good so far!
    (tammy.bowers1 at gmail)

  • Anonymous says:

    I cannot wait to plant my lettuce! (and tomatoes, peas, peppers & strawberries!)
    Thank you for the chance!

  • Grace says:

    I tried not to have a garden this year. I tried and I failed. We are moving a year from now and I just want to concentrate on getting ready for that and not spend endless hours in the garden. I just couldn't do it. My front yard has somehow sprouted pots and more pots and earthboxes and repurposed shipping crates and even, gulp, the dogs' swimming pool (So! They ate my potato pot!)full of growing green things. I am most looking forward to seeing how potatoes grow in a kiddie (doggie) pool.

  • Anastasia says:

    I am looking forward to harvesting my very own garlic! So abnormally proud of myself :)

    stasigh at gmail

  • I'm looking forward to the six different kinds of basil I planted, and the opportunity to have my own house soon, with my own yard. My husband and I have big plans for it. :) thanks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Count me in please!

    -Britt T.


  • redhott says:

    How tricky. I love all of my garden! I guess I'm most excited about the green beans. I planted 3 varieties this year. Plus some soup beans.

  • Meg says:

    looking forward to tomatoes, carrots, cukes, & beets!

  • Allison says:

    I'd always like a bother gardening book! Of course, I'm most excited about the tomatoes!

  • Christy says:

    A mass of green and violet Zinnias beside my porch. If I could ever get the green Zinnia seeds I ordered. Those and a mini herb garden with rosemary, chives, cilantro and basil.

  • Christy says:

    A mass of green and violet Zinnias beside my porch. If I could ever get the green Zinnia seeds I ordered. Those and a mini herb garden with rosemary, chives, cilantro and basil.

  • nancy says:
  • tree says:

    i'm looking forward to growing heirloom tomatoes. i have about 11 different variety planted. i also planted purple carrots, purple cauliflower, purple kale and purple asparagus this year…so i'm excited to see how purple they actually are! enchantedtree(at)

  • BAE says:

    I would love to win this book and give it to my daughter whose birthday was this week. She is now happily ensconced in West Asheville and laying the groundwork for her very first all-her-own garden. She also begins her very first full-time job on Monday, AND her horse arrives that day as well all the way from his current home in southern Maryland. Now I KNOW I'll never get her to move home…:-}

  • Tracy says:

    I'll be growing potatoes and butternut squash. I can't wait to get my hands dirty!!

  • elizabeth says:

    I'm trying out sweet potatoes this year!
    ekdwilson at gmail

  • Marissa says:

    Beets! I love their pretty magenta coloring in salads and I recently came across a recipe for beet cake to try out this year.
    marissa.jmsn at gmail

  • Rebecca says:

    I'm so looking forward to strawberries–they're just budding here.

    Also radishes, which are a more imminent excitement. They're so pretty, and I finally found some exciting recipes that use them this year.

  • The Q says:

    I am growing herbs for tea, along with beans and okra for pickling. Very excited about the tea!


  • Kathleen says:

    Tomatoes–declicious to begin with but absolutely fantastic when picked from your own garden, sliced with mozzarella and basil… :)

  • Mel B says:

    Wow! I would love to add this to my reading list! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Basil, Can't wait to plant basil. It just snowed for 1 minute here in Alaska.

  • Megan says:

    I've just moved into an apartment with space for window boxes. Mint, parsley and basil are at the top of my list.

  • Kitty says:

    I am looking forward to growing tomatoes and chilies! 😀 and some beans! I love to see how the grow tall and beautiful while fixing nitrogen in the soil for other plants to enjoy. I am so happy summer is coming!

  • Kitty says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • spike says:

    I'm looking forward to my purple tomatillos! The seedlings look healthy and they will go in the ground this week. I haven't grown this variety before but I just love the way tomatillos grow on a vine with the little delicate paper husk. It is beautiful!

  • Danielle says:

    For three first tinge ever, I have chars and spinach in my garden, but I'm looking forward to my heirloom tomatoes and zucchini the most! One day I want to try ground cherries!

  • Leigh says:

    Always basil. Love it and can't get enough! nasturtium(at)

  • Meaghan says:

    Tomatos are always my favorite…this year I am excited for the heirloom black cherry plant :)

  • Sarah says:

    Tomatoes! Always, always tomatoes.

  • Anonymous says:

    oh my goodness – after reading the comments, i may need to try my hand at watermelons! i hadn't even thought about it and my kids eat them like mad. it is our first year attempting to grow anything at all, so i am starting with herbs in containers. LOTS of basil – my favorite.

  • Paula M says:

    Strawberries! They grow so well in this part of Canada.

  • Any kind of bean! I love beans! You know what they say about beans…..good for your heart!


    Marydeluxe53 @ gmail dot com

  • Mackenzie says:

    My one and only Selke heirloom tomato plant. We are preparing to move and so I couldn't get a garden going this year, but I couldn't resist growing one thing! So a Selke it is (sweet, juicy, fat-ish cherry tomatoes). It's in a big pot, ready to get hauled when we go.

    –Mackenzie Rivers

  • Thank you!! pumpkins! our own neighborhood pumpkin patch

    ~erica m

  • Angi says:

    I am moving into an apartment where I can plant a garden, so this book would be great!

  • Carlin says:

    Trying my hand at lettuces this year- should be an adventure!

  • Ashley says:

    Such a cute book! We have our first garden, raised beds and our first small flock of backyard chicks! Loving both in our meager little urban lot.

  • HikerGurl says:

    Oh, that book looks amazing!! I am looking forward to growing cucumbers.. I want to pickle them this year! I always put extra cukes in a basket on the front walk for all the neighbors and passer by in Historic Harpers Feryy to partake. It is awesome to give to others that can't grow veges!