Hanover tomatoes. Do we need to say more? There isn’t anything as beautiful as a slice of tomato on toasted bread with a slather of mayo. If you need to go a little further add the bacon and lettuce but a fresh tomato slice is enough. We are surrounded by vegetable farms here at the office and it reminds me of my roots. Both of my grandparents had tremendous gardens and they weren’t limited to vegetables. Fruit trees, berry patches, chickens, hogs and cattle were also a part of my summer vacation in the Shenandoah Valley and maybe that is why I feel at home here at Kirby’s.
You can have the vegetable stand in your back yard also. I am experimenting with raised vegetable gardening right now and the results are interesting. I started late, we’ll blame it on my occupation and it took a long time to fill the beds. Especially when I found out that my wheelbarrow was broken. Now that the planters are filled and growing I can reflect on a few things mid-season.
First, I am glad that the garden is near the house and the water faucet. This location makes it easy to water and harvest the garden. This is the worst mistake you can make in locating a vegetable garden. This is not low maintenance and it can become a maintenance nightmare if it is too far from a water source. Let’s face it, if you don’t look at it every day then you won’t take care of it every day. Because of the location I can also keep an eye on the pesky deer that are making their way closer and closer to my food. Last year two very cute fawns came near the garden in the early afternoon and I chased them out. Two hours later they were back….with their Mom! “Here’s the mean lady that chased us!” She stood her ground for a minute as I approached but they all bolted after I made it clear that this was my territory.
I have also developed an appreciation for staking. Of course I staked the tomatoes and it’s a good thing because they have taken over the world and probably need to be tied again but I am especially happy that I staked the cucumber plant. When I was a kid I hated picking cucumbers that were covered with the red clay in Powhatan. It took forever to wash and clean them. Now I can pick the cucumbers and wipe them down with my shirt and eat them right away. And these cucumbers are beautiful. I also have peppers, onions, squash, zucchini and watermelon.
Although these things are delegated to the “vegetable garden” they certainly do not need to be restricted to one location. I have been known to plant strawberries as ground cover and cherry tomatoes near swing sets. Onions in “s” curves in a perennial bed and combined with a sweep of oregano. Staked cucumbers and tomatoes can also provide a screen from other activities that are part of an area that you are only in during the hot summer months. We have one customer that has a very nice stand of blueberries in their front yard, the epitome of edible landscaping.
Finally, if you have too much you can give it away or start canning. Pickles and relish make the best presents. If you have ever grown your own vegetables and canned your own food, it brings tears to your eyes to be given such a wonderful gift.
Give us a call at 804-559-5417 so we can help you locate that veggie garden or incorporate edible landscaping in your yard.