Farmer Spotlight: Nick Ager

Hello garden gals and guys!! I hope you enjoyed your weekend even if it wasn't as warm as you wanted it to be. Spring is coming, just hang in there!

Photo courtesy Nick Ager, Growing Back to Eden
You may remember that every once in a while I feature someone who is into gardening to inspire you to get out there and have a garden of your own. You're never too young or too old to garden and Nick Ager proves that!

Who is Nick? Well, that's him right there to the left. He's one of my gardening buddies that lives near Ocean City, Maryland.

He was kind enough to take some time and do an interview with me. I think you'll find him inspiring. But don't take my word for it, read the interview below.

Do you mind me asking your age?

I will be 18 this May.

How and why did you get into gardening?

 So, ever since I was very young, about three or four, I was collecting seeds and somehow taking cuttings from plants in my yard and planting them all over the place. Both of my parents didn't grow gardens or even have any interests in doing so at the time. So, I personally believe I was born to garden. It's funny, everyone in my family swears that I'm a reincarnated older person from at least a hundred years ago.😀 I'm probably the definition of an old soul. But, back to gardening.

I was never raised in a farming family and I wasn't raised by gardeners, so I was self-taught and was and always have been just fascinated by plants and seeds. I personally love to inspire and teach people to get into gardening and growing your own food, which is why I started my Instagram account (@growingbacktoeden) to try and get folks to at least give gardening a shot. You don't have to be raised by gardeners and you definitely don't have to be a gardener from birth. LOL! Anyone can do it, you just need to have the patience and desire to do so.

Where do you grow and how big is your garden?

OK, so I am growing in zone 7b on the eastern shore in Maryland. So being in zone 7b I have about an 8-month growing season, depending on how the weather wants to cooperate. That includes an early spring and a fall/winter garden. My garden as of today is no larger than a two-foot by sixty-foot long strip that runs the length of a back fence which faces southeast, but also has a house about fifteen feet across from it which shades it for about four hours in the morning. During the winter months it gets mostly shade so my winter greens tend to really slow down but will normally pick back up in production around February.

What is your favorite thing to grow?
Exploding Cucumber, Photo courtesy Nick Ager,
Growing Back to Eden

Personally, my favorite things to grow would be any kind of greens, tomatoes, and any kind of strange new plants that most people have never thought of growing in a garden, or think it's impossible to grow in a garden or in their area. I like to grow things that can make gardening look fun to someone that may have never thought it could be fun.  Also, by growing strange and cool looking things, it gets kids interested. Most kids would never think a tomato is as cool as I think it is. I feel as though if I grow something like a kiwano melon, or cucamelon, or even exploding cucumbers, I can possibly spark the interest of at least one new person and get them into gardening.

Even if I do only inspire one more person to gardening and growing their own food at home, that's one less person that thinks they can't do it and it's one less person that has to rely on the large-scale chemical supporting farms that are normally controlled by the government in some way, shape, or form.  The government doesn't want people to live sustainably and be self-sufficient. They want us to depend on them. If I can inspire and teach just that one person how to not rely on the government to keep them alive, then I feel as though I've succeeded and am doing what I feel I was meant to do!

What's one of the biggest challenges you face in gardening?

Really when it comes down to it, my biggest challenge in gardening is just where am I going to grow my tomatoes! 😀 I have a walnut tree that is 75 feet from my garden, but is over a hundred years old. Walnut trees release a natural chemical from their leaves, branches, roots, and husks on the walnuts themselves, called juglone. This chemical is extremely toxic to plants of the nightshade family. Being that the tree is so old and only 75 feet from the garden, it has basically contaminated the ground all over my property over time. So really no matter where I plant my tomatoes they do terrible and normally end up getting pulled as they don't grow and look like a mess in the garden. 

So this year, as much as I don't want to do, it I'm going to grow all of my tomatoes in pots.  They will be getting lots of nutrient dense fish emulsion that I make myself. Hopefully, everything goes as planned and I actually get a nice tomato harvest this year. 

Other than my tomatoes, I don't think I have any problems with the garden because I use, and fully support, the Back to Eden gardening methods! With this method of gardening-- when done properly--you basically eliminate your weed problems, lower watering to practically nothing, and end up with the best soil you can think of over not that much time. 

Where I live in Maryland, my soil and the soil around me is really sandy.  The Department of Agriculture says that nitrogen will only last in our soil for around 45 days. By using the Back to Eden gardening methods, you build your soil and add organic matter. The organic matter is what holds the nitrogen and water in the soil. The large scale farms typically don't build their soil with as much organic matter as I do, so they are left to dump tons and tons of chemical fertilizers on their fields which result in killing the beneficial microbes and bacteria in the soil that keep the plants healthy and make them healthy for the consumer.

Why do you think it is important to grow your own food?

I think that it's important for people to have the knowledge to be able to sustain themselves and be able to live on their own and be able to grow their own food so they don't have to rely on farms and the government to take care of them. It's also in many ways healthier for people to grow their own food. I believe that when you eat food grown in the soil you live on, you build your image system and you adapt to changes in the environment a lot easier. People who eat native and wild foods from the environment they live in tend to be less affected by the slight changes from season to season.

What advice do you have for new gardeners?

I would suggest that new gardeners should check out my Instagram page. I try to add at least one helpful piece of advice or information with every post I make. And if you're not on social media, at least watch the Back to Eden film to learn about this gardening method. 

So, there you have it garden gals and guys!!! Be sure to check out Nick's Instagram page. Also, the Back to Eden film really is a great one! I watched it before I met Nick (I think that may be how we actually met...I don't remember) and it has a lot of useful info. 

If you want to know what the heck an exploding cucumber is (like I did) read here. Apparently, you can't eat them, but they look like they would be cool to watch grow!

I hope this blog post has inspired you to get out there and grow something! If you have any neat gardening friends, let me know who they are! I'd love to feature them in one of my blog posts.

Until next time garden gals and guys....

Happy gardening!!!


  1. What a great interview (and I learned about exploding cucumbers, ha!).

    1. Thanks so much for the visit and the kind words! The exploding cucumbers were new for me, too! :-) I think that's why I like gardening so much, there's tons to learn.

  2. It was so cool meeting you today! Thanks for shopping by! ~Nick's Mom :)


Post a Comment