Humans of Brambleton: Amie Otto – Suburban Gardening

Posted August 30, 2015

Harvesting one’s own food is the ultimate in sustainability, not to mention a simply satisfying achievement.  No matter what style home you live in – apartment, condo, townhome or single-family – nature’s bounty can be readily available to you with just a little bit of preparation and patience.  Need advice on how to start your own garden?  Amie Otto, a Brambleton resident since 2003, has had a very successful growing season this year so we asked her a few questions. Happy planting!

Suburban Gardening in Loudoun County with Amie OttoIs this your first suburban garden?

No, I’ve been growing things since I first became a homeowner back around 2001, when I was able to put in my first real garden. At first I grew mainly flowers and herbs. When I moved to Brambleton in 2003, I had planting areas put in around the patio and that was the first iteration. A few years ago, my husband and I added two raised beds, and then this year, we added one more! The current garden is definitely a joint effort between the two of us.

Have you always had a green thumb?

Not really, but I grew up with a gardener, so that helped. I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and lately, we have been using a lot of online resources for help and advice.

What have you had the most success at growing in Brambleton?

We’ve gotten really good at growing tomatoes and hot peppers. Basil and cucumbers are a close second.

What do you love most about gardening?

We love being able to grow what we eat. The veggies we grow taste totally different from what you get in the store, and it’s really satisfying to be able to make a meal out of what is growing in your backyard.

What advice can you share for someone who would like to start a suburban garden in Brambleton?

Use areas in your yard that are underutilized—think, edges of patios for planters, corners of the yard or side of the house for raised beds. Start with good plants! De Baggios Herb farm ( is my favorite local place. They have an amazing selection of just about everything and they are only about a 10 minute drive from Brambleton. Make sure to start with good organic soil—this will make a huge difference in your harvest.