PGM 23 | Gardening in Urban Landscapes with Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl

May 07 2015

In episode 23 of the Pure Green Podcast, Celine talks to Gayla Trail, a gardening guru from Toronto, Ontario who runs the gardening blog, You Grow Girl. Frustrated by the media's portryal of perfect gardens, the perception the gardening was for old ladies and housewives with time on their hands and brutally bored with most gardening books, Gayla set out to change the conversation on gardening to prove that it can be fun, exciting, and for people of all ages. We talk specifically about how to get started, how to shift your expectations for success, how to grow veggies in the city and growing in containers, common mistakes to avoid, great plants to start with and sustainability in the garden. Get show notes and see photos of Gayla's gardens over at

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Also, in the episode, we promised more detailed instructions on how to test what kind of soil you have, so here goes:

Simple Soil Test

  • Using a pint- or quart-sized jar, add 1 cup of your soil, then fill the remainder with water. Screw lid on tightly.
  • Shake the jar fairly vigorously for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Allow to settle (this could take a while).
  • Your soil should settle in 3 distinct layers, telling you what kind of soil you have!

Decode Your Results

Soil is composed of 3 basic "ingredients": sand, silt and clay. Each are different sizes and weights, with sand being the largest and heaviest, silt being the middle and clay being the lightest and smallest. Your soil in the jar will have settled with sand on the bottom, silt in the middle, and clay on top. The goal is to have equal parts of all three, which creates loam, the gardner's holy grail of soil which supports healthy growth in the widest variety of plants. If your soil has heavier concentrations of sand or clay, the solution is the same: add organic matter in the form of compost and brown organic matter like chopped up leaves. If you have clay-based soil, you will need lots and lots of organic matter to amend the soil. 

PHOTOGRAPHY by You Grow Girl | PODCAST produced by Ben Goldstein

Show Notes