Ebony Jamison (left), who started backyard gardening as a pandemic hobby with her children. Now, the suburban Chicago resident has attracted a social media following with her TikTok gardening exploits and tips.

Ebony Jamison (left) started backyard gardening as a pandemic hobby with her children. Now, the suburban Chicago resident has attracted a social media following with her TikTok gardening exploits and tips.

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Suburban TikTok gardener Ebony Jamison, AKA BrownSkinBeautiful, has some ideas to help with your gardening

“Gardening is a very patient game,” she says. “Like most things in life, you have to do the work, keep watering and be patient.”

For Ebony Jamison — known to her 70,000 followers on social media as BrownSkinBeautiful — gardening started as a pandemic hobby.

The Chicago-area photographer and mother of two already had 26 plants in her home. Then, after a friend raved about outdoor gardening, Jamison decided to try it in her own suburban backyard.

“My kids got super-involved and invested in gardening with me,” Jamison says. “It became our pandemic activity and a way to get some fresh air but also a learning experience for all of us.”

She started getting messages from people sharing their own gardening experiences and soon found followers on social media who also were beginner gardeners.

Gardening tool brands like Little Burros took notice and signed her for product campaigns. She’d happened on something that surprised her: an audience captivated by her adventures in gardening.

Jamison started out small, planting tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers in a raised garden bed four feet by eight feet in her backyard.

She suggests that beginners and city-dwellers do something similar or try growing things like tomatoes and cucumbers in pots.

“It’s easier to control as far as fertilizer and nutrition of the soil is concerned,” she says. “It also helps cut back on the amount of weeding I have to do, which can be a real pain.”

Once her first harvest proved bountiful, she enlisted family, friends and neighbors to take much of the produce, of which she had an abundance even after making and documenting salsas and homemade pasta sauce with her kids.

Jamison credits her first fruitful garden to the research she did on which types of plants could survive in a raised garden bed in her backyard.

That helped keep her from wasting time trying to grow “root vegetables like carrots, beets and potatoes,” she says. “I’d love to grow them, but the soil in my beds and in my yard is too shallow. Their roots wouldn’t have room to spread.”

Even when her family moved to the suburbs the next year, Jamison stuck with her garden-bed model.

@brownskinbeautiful

Fellow Gardeners this is what you need! This little burro has been great for cleaning out my garden for the end of season…. And you can grab it at @Lowe’s

♬ original sound - Brownskinbeautiful

Getting it all on video for her followers online, the TikTok gardener showed the entire process, with her kids helping measure the pieces, Jamison cutting them by hand and a crew building the beds in the family’s new backyard.

Beginning gardeners especially might learn from Jamison about things like when to plant. She says the ideal time to start planting around Chicago is sometime near Mother’s Day. That’s to avoid any chance of a freeze, though that might not be ideal for people who want a particular plant to produce a yield at a specific time.

“Looking at the cycle of a plant and vegetable will help you have a better understanding of when you can expect a crop and whether you should do a seed or seedling,” Jamison says. “Veggies like tomatoes can take around 50 days to go from seed to plant, while produce like strawberries can take nearly 100 days.”

There are some aspects of gardening she doesn’t enjoy, like pests and weeding.

Also, Jamison says, gardening requires patience. Whether it’s waiting for a seed to sprout or carefully tending to pests and weeds, being patient, she says, is the key to a successful harvest.

“You have to be very patient,” she says. “That’s my biggest tip. I know a lot of people who get discouraged because they don’t see rapid growth. Gardening is a very patient game. Like most things in life, you have to do the work, keep watering and be patient.”

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