Meet our March Gardener of the Month: @geegees_garden!
Describe your garden.
My husband and I own 2 acres of which about an acre and a half is yard. So, we have a large 100’ x 50’ vegetable garden and a smaller 30’ x 20’ herb garden that my grandkids call the “smelly garden”. They love to pull leaves off the herb plants, smell them and try to guess what they smell like (spaghetti sauce, candy canes etc.) One unique thing that we do comes from our love of tomatoes. We always grow about 40 plants and over the years have tried many methods of staking and caging. But, what we’ve come up with is putting up long rows of heavy gauge large animal fencing with steel fence posts and then planting the tomatoes along the fence, tying them as they grow.
If you could have one gardening superpower, what would it be?
The ability to eliminate weeds and pests. The garden is my happy place. I love planting, tending and harvesting, but if weeds or pests ruin my plants, I get upset.
There’s nothing better than growing your own food, and we admire you for teaching your grandchildren how to do this while they’re still young! What’s your favorite moment you’ve had with them in the garden?
Oh, there have been so many! Thomas (5yo) has always been a good vegetable eater and is always picking lettuce, spinach or green beans to eat while he’s outside. He especially loves when we pick the corn. He pulls an ear, shucks it, and eats it right in the garden.
Mary Anna (4yo) does not like vegetables at all. When I took them to the local greenhouse and said they could choose any plant they wanted to plant in my garden, she chose petunias.
Georgia (1 ½ yo) just loves to sit and play in the dirt while we plant or pick and is usually willing to take a bite of whatever we offer her.
And – planting our pumpkin patch then picking the pumpkins to carve is always fun!
Have your grandchildren taught YOU anything about gardening?
Absolutely! They have taught me that everything does not have to be perfect. Plants will still grow in crooked rows and sometimes it’s ok if they get stepped on. But the biggest thing they have taught me is to always leave some dirt for them to play in. The garden has to be a fun place for them.
If you could only grow one vegetable, what would it be and why?
Tomatoes because I’ve never been able to buy any that taste as good as what I grow. We also eat them canned in the wintertime.
How far in advance do you plan your garden for the next year?
Planning is an ongoing process for me. Living on the eastern side of Virginia we have fairly mild winters, so we can plant a garden for every season. And I think I’m always thinking about how I can do things differently for the next year. Maybe trying new plants or getting something to grow in a different way.
What are you most excited about this year?
My strawberry patch! I love strawberries and my grandson loves strawberries. He only eats my strawberry jam on his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The last few years I’ve bought plants from other companies and they haven’t done well. Last year I bought plants from Burpee and replanted the entire patch. They all look great and I think I’m going to have a good crop of strawberries.
As a 2020 Gardener of the Year, you’ll receive 2 sample boxes of Burpee Home Gardens’ 2021 new varieties… one for you and one for a friend! Who will you give your second sample box to and why?
Because teaching kids how to grow their own food is important to me, I will be giving my second box to my grandkids’ school, Fredericksburg Christian School.