When I bought my house back in the late ‘60s, it came with a large yard. It was so large that I could put in a good sized garden and it would not interfere with the rest of the landscape.
There were a few minor problems that came with my idea. First, I didn’t know how to grow a vegetable garden. To remedy this, I took a home study course from Penn State and watched gardening shows on TV. My other problem was that I don’t like vegetables. But, growing them seemed like fun.
My father-in law had two friends, Chet Duffy and Bob Hemminger, come over with their tractors and rototill the soil for me. To this day, I don’t know if he paid them or or if they did it out of charity. I would bet on the charity thing.
I bought seeds and plants and, in no time, I had a fine-looking garden. The only problem I encountered was I worked 5 1/2 days a week in a greenhouse. During the summer months it is very hot inside a greenhouse and by quitting time I was happy to go home and sit on my patio with a cool breeze. The last thing I wanted to do was go out in my hot and humid garden, bend over and pull weeds for hours. The weeds finally won. They were almost as tall as my corn.
There are many of you out there who would like to put in a vegetable garden. Since COVID came along, the number of new gardeners has greatly increased. I thought I might give a little advice to you new growers, so you don’t end up like I did with a garden of weeds.
You may have grand plans for a garden that resembles a farm, but I would advise you to start small. Starting small gives you greater manageability, mobility, affordability and less weeds. Less weeds is important.
Gardens have to be fertilized and watered and may need some kind if pest control, which all may cost you a few bucks. Soil can be bought almost anywhere, but I prefer using the bales that you can get at most greenhouses and from the Amish. The smaller the garden, the less you have to spend on supplies.
You don’t need a large farm to start gardening. Containers, which I use a lot, work very well. You can use anything you want as a container, as long as it has drainage. I’ve seen anything from a five-gallon bucket to an old boat being used for planting.
You can also purchase metal or plastic frames, make raised beds, which is a little more work, or use a bale of straw. If you still don’t have room outside, you can use grow lights in the basement.
Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and herbs can all be grown in containers on the patio or alongside the garage. The important thing is that they need to be planted where they get 6 to 8 hours of full sun.
It is also advisable to have your containers near a water source. Who wants to drag a hose out to the garden and then have to rewind it. I hate rewinding my hose. I use those flexible expandable hoses that you don’t have to rewind, just pile them up in a corner.
I’ve witnessed inexperienced new gardeners put four or five peppers in a pot. This will cause too much shade and cut down on fruit production. Use one plant per pot to prevent crowding. I would suggest using a 16-inch pot for one tomato.
To prevent weeds, using Preen Weed Preventer will help.
I no longer have a huge vegetable garden for several reasons. It is too much work for an old guy. I don’t eat vegetables, and my wife doesn’t go near the kitchen. I don’t know what I would do with all that produce anyway.
Make your space a green space.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.