I have been vegetable gardening for over 30 years. I was taught the skill form my dad who learned it from his. You probably are not too different from me, my dad or grandfather as to the reasons why you have a vegetable garden in the first place. My grandfather and grandmother lived through the great depression and therefore their garden started as a means for food necessity and apparently their very survival. My grandfather would do all the physical gardening labor and my grandmother perfected the art of canning the food so as to preserve it for later consumption throughout the year. Those skills were passed down to my dad, and by the time he had perfected his skills the great depression was long behind the country and vegetable gardening became more of a hobby and a means to save money on food.
Today, taking those same skills passed along to me by father and grandfather, I grow a vegetable garden because it allows me to save some money on my food bill, but more important to me is the fact I can control what goes into my soil ensuring that the vegetables and fruit that I grow are healthy, taste great and are safe to eat.
I recently polled my vegetable gardening Facebook page to get the reasons why other vegetable gardeners grow theirs and what made them a success in their own right. I received a tremendous number of responses, and here is what they had to say.
Although there were many like it, a great answer came from Darlene who said “Don't keep waiting hoping to know everything first because you'll never start”. This is so true. How many times have you said to yourself, that you will start a garden or expand your garden or grow something different but were afraid to do it wrong? The consensus of this unscientific poll found that many vegetable gardeners like you just jump right in and go (or grow in this case).
To increase success many suggested that you start seedlings indoors on a window sill or any area of the house that receives plenty of light in portable greenhouses or a humidity dome. Both are available from your local home or garden center for just a couple of bucks.
A very popular answer from a lot of the responses was the advice to start with those vegetables or fruits that are “easy” to grow. For example, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are considered easy to grow and maintain. They require basic maintenance and will produce high yields.
While others suggested starting with herbs or spinach or varieties of lettuce for their ease of growth, my favorite answer came from Beth who wrote, “Have you ever wondered why 80 year old women know so much about gardening?” Her answer was just as true to life as the question, “Because they spent decades figuring out what works in their space”.
Relating this back and coming full circle to my own experience with my grandfather, he worked his land (what little he had), and knew what he could and could not grow, and what gave him the best yields. He learned this from trial and error over the many decades he maintained a vegetable garden. My grandfather passed on over a decade ago, but rest assure his skills live on in my vegetable garden, as I am sure yours do with your own family.
About the Author
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