Project Garden Grow

>Gardening for Gastronomic Delights – Project Garden Grow, Phase I


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With a break in the heat, my husband and I set out to begin Phase I of a major overhaul of our yard. We have the perfect urban yard for gardening but not always the perfect soil, so we’ve decided to start fresh in a few areas. The first phase began yesterday and involved a deconstruction of an area we refer to as the ‘Tea Garden’. It’s a great portion of our yard that is off to the side of our house and, thankfully, fenced off from our dogs constant trampling. You step down into a level yard that is walled-in with ivy, hostas and spring flowers. There is a sidewalk that runs the length of our house which sits atop a stone wall that I am sure was built decades (if not almost a century!) ago. The wall is in great shape, the perennials, however, were not. So, we ripped, we tore, we dug, we raked and we kept a close eye out for snakes. Surprisingly, there were none to be seen. After 5 hours of digging and sifting, we stood back and admired what will soon be our new herb garden. Of course, all of this work is a little late in the season, but we are looking forward to having everything prepped and ready for the spring. Phase II is slated for next weekend and involves a second area of the yard, a rented cultivator and some serious tools. Or it may involve hiring a professional, we’ll see where the week takes us….

The purpose of all of this labor intensive and back-breaking work is twofold. One, our yard needs a little love and two, I want to be able to cook with foods that I’ve grown. While my family didn’t farm when I was growing up, we were in the country and surrounded by wild blackberries, apple orchards and area farmers. We had some tomato plants in the yard, cucumbers hanging from the back fence and a neighbor that plotted out a healthy sized garden of corn, tomatoes, peppers, etc. and usually delivered a basketful each summer. This is the great reward I am seeking… to work diligently on something that I (and my neighbors) can benefit from directly!

So, that’s our goal. I am looking for advice on what to plant in a central Virginia climate and advice on how to keep the garden healthy and environmentally (and economically) friendly…all comments will be greatly appreciated and taken into full consideration!

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