{Giveaway} Win a “couture” seed kit from an FOF Garden Guru!

FOF gardening guru, Laura Baldwin, is giving away a starter gardening kit with a dozen types of her favorite spring seeds. To enter, ask her a gardening question here.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Twenty years ago, FOF Laura Baldwin, then a financial analyst for IBM, was involved in a crippling accident (she was hit by a dump truck while in a phone booth). Unable to work due to injuries for three years, Laura found respite in the garden. “Gardening is therapeautic, it’s grounding and it’s healthy because it’s so connected to eating,” says Laura.

Laura enjoyed gardening so much that when she was ready to return to work she traded “counting beans” in the corporate world for growing them. She opened her own nursery, “Reba and Roses,” housed in a reclaimed chicken coop in Hilsboro, N.C.

Laura operated “Reba and Roses” until 2009 when she launched InTheKoop.com, a website where she sells carefully-selected seed combinations in egg carton planters. She sells only “heirlooms” (the “haute couture” of seeds) in her kits. Through her website, she aims to spread her passion and knowledge for gardening far beyond North Carolina.

Below, Laura shares her top tips for beginning gardeners:

1. Choose heirloom seeds over hybrid seeds. “Heirlooms are like antique seeds. They produce the same variety of vegetable or plant that your grandmother or great-grandmother planted. Heirloom vegetables have more nutrients too.”

2. Egg cartons make great planters. “Plants can be started out in egg cartons and then transplanted to your garden. You don’t even have to remove the plant because egg cartons decompose and make great fertilizer.”

3. Start simple. “If you’ve never gardened before, start with herbs, peppers or tomatoes, which are simple, then graduate onto more complicated varieties.”

4. Start small. “Don’t start with a 10″x 20” garden. Start with container gardening such as a window box, then graduate to bigger projects.

5. You don’t have to water plants every day. Women, in particular, tend to over-nurture plants. Rather than water every day, you can water a plant very heavily, wait until it dries out and then water again. This ensures you are not over watering.”

Have a gardening question for Laura? Ask it here and you’ll be entered to win her “Back to the Garden” starter kit.