Rita Pelczar

rita pelczar head shot
Title: Garden Writer
Education: University of Maryland
Location: Morganton, North Carolina
Expertise: Kitchen gardening: home vegetable, herb, and fruit production, Growing annuals, biennials, and perennials, Trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines, Gardening science

Rita is a writer, editor, and garden coach with over 40 years of professional horticultural experience. She has taught horticulture at the college level and to Master Gardeners. As a writer and editor she covers topics from kitchen gardening and landscaping for wildlife to the scientific principles behind gardening techniques.


  • Over 40 years experience as a professional horticulturist
  • 30 years experience as a garden writer and editor
  • Contributed to more than a dozen gardening books
  • 18+ years Associate/Contributing Editor for "The American Gardener" magazine
  • Contributed articles to major national gardening magazines
  • Former associate professor of horticulture at Northern Virginia Community College
  • Former manager, Green Springs Gardens and Horticulture Center in Alexandria, Virginia
  • Former Extension Agent, Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Former Peace Corps Volunteer, St.Lucia, West Indies


Rita has gardened all her life. She has had a varied career that has drawn on and expanded upon her expertise in growing both ornamental and edible plants and designing gardens. She has pursued her interest in sustainable practices, organic gardening, use of native plants, and gardening for wildlife.

She has contributed to over a dozen volumes of gardening books including: Editor-in-Chief of "Homegrown Harvest: A Season by Season Guide to a Sustainable Kitchen Garden," Author/consultant for New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques," Co-author of "Smart Garden Regional Guides," Contributing author to "Sunset's Mid-Atlantic Top Ten Gardening Guide," Researcher/writer for "Time-Life Encyclopedia of Gardening".

Rita's articles have appeared in national gardening magazines including: Fine Gardening, Horticulture, The Herb Companion, Organic Gardening, Mother Earth News, and Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications.

In addition to writing, Rita has shared her knowledge of gardening while teaching college level courses including: plant identification, greenhouse production, plant propagation, houseplants, and vegetable production. She has instructed Master Gardeners and is a popular garden speaker and coach to home gardeners.

Rita has grown certified organic hops commercially for local breweries in North Carolina, where she has shared her growing experience through workshops and Extension Service tours.


Rita has BS & MS degrees in Horticulture from the University of Maryland.

About Better Homes & Gardens

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