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Dominique Charles is a woman with a mission.
A busy professional living in Washington, DC, she first began gardening in 2017, after her friend Lauren built her a starter garden as a gift. Despite having grown up in New Orleans, and spending summers helping her grandparents – Emmitt and Thelma Muse of Greensburg, Louisiana – with their farm, where her favorite activity was picking blackberries and snapping green beans, Dominique didn’t really believe that she had a green thumb.
It wasn’t until she began working in her starter garden, which consisted of 3 large terra cotta pots full of tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs, and discovered the sense of excitement and accomplishment which comes with planting and growing your own food, that she realized this was something she loved and wanted to share with others.
She started writing articles for her own website and took to social media too, finding an audience on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok– where she now has close to 30,000 followers! Her followers are eager to learn how to grow, gather, and cook their own food. Dominique’s garden has since grown to two 4×4’ raised beds, one 4×8’ bed, and various other mediums throughout her yard.
Dominique also builds gardens for others, and works to show new gardeners, especially those in urban areas, that it is possible! One client, Nicole, is now growing radishes and celery in her own backyard in Washington, DC. Dominique has even helped clients develop methods of adapting to local fauna – such as creating a special cage to protect plants from foraging deer.
Dominique has several tips for new gardeners just starting out. When it comes to general things to keep in mind, she says, “Evaluate what you like. Grow what you love or can utilize.” She provides an example – though she doesn’t love bell peppers, she still grows them, as they’re handy in many recipes. She also encourages new gardeners to be mindful of the startup costs involved, and to not get caught up in the desire to buy lots of gadgets or other costly items.
With urban gardening, she says to “be mindful of space. Don’t feel limited to just growing in the ground.” Dominique herself has raised beds and a trellis she built in her small backyard, and points to other gardeners who have taken to growing cucumbers in party tubs with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. “Don’t be afraid to get creative!”
That creativity in the garden can be put to use repelling common pests. For example, Dominique has a tip for anyone dealing with mosquitoes: plant basil. “The sweet yet pungent scent of its leaves emits an aroma that, while delicious to people, is toxic to mosquitoes,” she explains.
Dominique’s joy and passion for gardening is evident in her every action. She’s on a mission to encourage new gardeners to dive in and begin growing their own food, flowers, and really anything they can dream of. With a little creativity and curiosity, Dominique hopes new gardeners will realize that they too, have a green thumb.
What does Dominique say about Womanswork Digger gloves? “I have extremely small hands, so in most cases, I opt out of gloves and use my bare hands. The Digger gloves were perfectly sized, comfortable, streamlined, and allowed me to work in the garden without the bulkiness of a traditional work glove.”