‘A Growing Passion’ host to answer gardening questions in La Jolla

By Ashley Mackin

Nan Sterman, host of the upcoming KPBS gardening show, “A Growing Passion,” will set up shop at the La Jolla UTC Farmers Market 3-7 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at 9001 Genesee Ave. to discuss the show, the planting process, answer questions and give away seedlings, while supplies last.

Set to air May 2, “A Growing Passion” has one focus “to explore all the ways that San Diego grows” Sterman said, “From farms and nurseries to backyards, schoolyards and native habitats, you name it.”

Episodes feature San Diego growers of flowers and edible plants, as well as sustainable gardening, container gardening and recycling gardening materials.

In one episode, Sterman tours a wholesale flower market in Carlsbad, then features international floral designer René van Rems instructing how to arrange flowers people can grow in their backyard. In this episode, “we basically traced flowers from growing to sale to making the arrangements,” Sterman said.

Her best tip for new gardeners: start small. “A lot of people say ‘I’m going to plant a huge garden’ and they don’t have any experience. It’s impossible to be successful your first time out; it’s just not realistic. They get really ambitious and when they fail in small ways or big ways, they are so discouraged they don’t back up and say ‘OK wait a second, what did I do wrong?’” she said. “Gardening is all trial and error so if you fail, you just have to figure out what went wrong and start again. The best thing to do is start small, start at a scale you can manage as a first-timer, build some success and do a little more the next year. Then you’ve got your big garden.”

She said people are getting excited about planting summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, but the soil is still too cold, so she suggests waiting a few more months.

Sterman is a lifelong gardener and San Diego resident. She is a gardening writer and lecturer, and runs a sustainable landscaping company. Learn more at