Valerie Boese 

Gardens Bliss

By Valerie Boese

Valerie has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration. She has lived in the country all her life. She grew up on her family's truck farm in South Dakota, picking acres of tomatoes and melons every summer for local markets. Her father, 83 years old, still grows a large garden to this day. She currently lives on acreage in northeast Nebraska with her husband, Bill, daughter, Alyssa, and son, Brian. Her family grows a huge garden every year. They plant everything you can imagine a garden could have. They plant potatoes, popcorn, globe artichokes, herbs, heirloom tomatoes, flowers, peppers, melons, carrots, green beans and many more varieties of vegetables and fruits.   

She has been growing fruits, vegetables and flowers for more than 25 years. Planting them and watching them grow are her passions. She strongly believes in self-sustainability, if she can grow it or cook it, she will. She cooks from scratch, designing many of her own recipes. She bakes all of the family’s breads, including whole grain bread, English muffins, bagels and more. Her family preserves their fruits and vegetables by canning, freezing, storing fresh and drying. She makes jams, yogurt, pickles, relish, salsa, tomato juice, pizza sauce and more. They eat from their garden every day of the year.

In addition, they have a vineyard and an orchard, and grow many small fruits. She uses organic practices for pest and disease control, in the garden and orchard. She likes to try new varieties and grows something new every year. Some of the new plants she will be growing this year are huckleberry, black cumin and dried beans.

They have many critters including dogs, cats, pond fish and more than 20 breeds of chickens. Her children show chickens in 4-H and photograph them for 4-H projects. She also enjoys photographing flowers, landscapes, and the fruits and vegetables she grows. It is her hope that her writings and photographs will inspire others to grow and make their own foods, and having a few chickens wouldn't hurt either.

For more on Valerie and her family, visit her blog at