Gardener Story: Craig & Mikaela Lewis

Thanks to the Build It Up Program we had the opportunity to create our first garden in 2021. We didn’t have much growing experience, so we started with a small garden and grew herbs and hot peppers. Since we also were starting a hot sauce company at the same time, we thought those two items would be the most beneficial to our sauce making.

We knew aphids were going to be the biggest enemy of our garden, so we used basil plants as our main method of pest control. We grew basil in-between pepper plants to diversify our rows and deter aphids. Of course, we still had some aphids, but I believe their population was smaller than it would have been without the basil plants. We also sprayed our bushes of peppers and basil with water to wash the aphids away. Overall, I am pretty pleased with our basil strategy, and I think we’ll try it again in the future.  

For our hot peppers, we grew White Ghost and Pink Tiger varieties. We started our pepper seeds in-doors in February, and we are still waiting for them to ripen (early August). A lesson learned for hot peppers is that it takes a whole season for them to mature, so it is definitely a commitment. Gardens in general are a big commitment so we’ve been so appreciative to have the guidance and encouragement from the BIU staff and other BIU participants! 

More images from the Lewis’ garden!