Earth-friendly solutions for organic gardeners.


Plug and Play Gardens, in it’s current physical incarnation, is a tiny yard in Portland, Oregon. The garden surrounds a 1912 Craftsman style bungalow, and someday it will be an Eden of edible plants, organic wholesomeness and stunning landscape design.

But that day is not this day.

Instead, (and for the foreseeable future) Plug and Play Gardens is an experiment: One woman’s attempt to find organic gardening solutions that really work.

If you hang out at the Plug and Play Gardens site, you’ll find stories about the garden, step-by-step projects that you can recreate in your yard, honest reviews of gardening products, and “field-tested” advice on growing fruits, vegetables and flowers.

The Gardener

I’m the gardener here. My name is Luisa (my Italian grandmother would appreciate it if you pronounced it “lu-eez-a”).  And though I find it difficult to talk about myself, I can say briefly that I’m a freelance designer and writer, an artist, an avid amateur cook and a gardener.

Previously I was a habitat gardener living in Connecticut. I planted river birches, and watched as Wood Ducks and Mergansers appeared. I planted monkey flower and pickerel weed (Mimulus and Pontederia) and was delighted when a family of muskrats made our pond their home. I planted all sorts of native plants, and took perverse satisfaction in the fact that the deer ate my neighbors’ tulips and roses, but left my Asclepius tuberosa, Coreopsis lanceolata and Panicum virgatum to grow and flower.

Moving to Portland, Oregon has given me a chance to do a whole new kind of gardening. Instead of nearly 2 acres of bucolic pond and meadow, I have a small urban lot. And believe or not, I’m loving it. I love it when neighbors stop by to say hello while I’m watering. I love growing veggies in the front yard. And I love having a small garden that doesn’t require me to spend the entire weekend weeding.

That’s not to say that I don’t have issues with the garden. I’m still learning how to deal with clay soil. And instead of my tried-and-true palette of native plants, I’m learning about edibles. I have an apple tree in the front yard that has gotten infested with apple maggot for the past three years. And I want to be able to grow my garden without the use of pesticides and chemicals.

The good news is that I’m the kind of person who believes there is a solution to every problem.

And that is the entire impetus behind this Website, which allows me to share my explorations of new gardening techniques and innovative products with you.  I hope that I can make my garden stories entertaining and informative enough to keep you coming back for more.