Housatonic Amateur Radio Club

Gardening Page
Gardening is cheaper than therapy - and you get tomatoes!

Vegetable gardening is really a fun hobby. Veggies from your own garden will spoil you, as their taste is far superior to store purchased vegetables. Their vitamin content is superior also. Vegetable gardening is a learned hobby. Learn by reading, learn by doing, learn by last year's mistakes and learn by last year's successes. Everyone's garden is different. Different amounts of sun, different soil, different trees, climate, plants, etc. That's why learning from reading and learning by doing (experience) are the best. Nothing ever needs to be perfect. It is okay not to be perfect. Make mistakes and learn from them. That's part of the fun of it! Before you know it, you will think you're okay at gardening and then someone will accuse you of having a green thumb. What a compliment!
If you combine gardening with food preserving, you can have garden fresh tomatoes, peppers, beans and other veggies all winter long. How great is that?

Vegetable Garden

Seed Companies

Burpee Seed Co     Gurney Seed Co
The Rusted Garden Seed Shop     Gardeners Supply Co
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds     Johnny's Selected Seeds
Jung Seeds     Seed Savers Exchange
Victory Seeds     Hart Seed Co.
Seeds N Such     Bentley Seeds
Shumway Seeds    Ed Hume Seeds
Park Seeds    MI Gardener Seeds
Botanical Interests    Territorial Seed Co.
Strictly Medicinal Seed Co   
A seed company specializing in Heirloom Seeds
St Clare Seed Co.

Good Websites

The Rusted Garden
Susan's in the Garden
Gardener Scott
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Tractor Supply Co
National Gardening Association

All American Selections is a non-profit organization that tests new, never before sold varieties of flowers and vegetables for the home gardener.
All American Selections

2021 Garden

May Planting
September How did it go?    

2022 Garden

For my 2022 garden, I had planted the following vegetables. All these were grown from seed and transplated either outside to my garden or to a container on my deck. The Broccoli was planted into milk cartons and placed on my deck in February.
Happy Gardening.
My 2022 Garden

2023 Garden

Below are pictures of my 2023 Garden.
Top Row: Better Boy Tomatoes, Bush Beans and Pole beans.
Bottom Row: Japanese Eggplant, Zucchini & Turnips, Grape Tomato & Peppers

tomatoes beans
eggplant zuke turnips grape tom peppers

2024 Garden

July 5, 2024: For my 2024 garden, I planted Better Boy tomatoes, Better Boy Plus tomatoes, Gardener's Delight cherry tomatoes, Baby Boomer cherry tomatoes & Burpee's Viranda Grape Hybrid tomatoes. I also planted CA Wonder, Great Stuffed Hybrid, Emerald Giant and Banana peppers. I harvested 4 bell peppers and 20 Banana peppers today. Blanched and froze my first bag of banana pepper strips.
I planted only 1 variety of Eggplant this year, Burpee's Midnight Moon Eggplant, also from seed. For Squash, I planted Burpee's Sure Thing & Gurney's Pride zucchini in containers on my deck.
For beans, I planted KY Blue pole for the first time and Blue Lake Bush beans, which are my standard bush bean. My KY Blue beans were a disaster. Not one germinated in about 15 feet of seeds. I replanted a second time. Three came up. I switched to 2 year old Blue Lake seeds I had left over. 8 came up in about 15 feet. I dug another fresh strip of soil and planted again. So far 1 has come up. I am thinking of testing the soil.
My Blue Lake bush beans came up better than last year and are about 3 feet from my pole beans. When they were 4 inches tall, I fed them with Miracle Gro for Tomatoes fertilizer and they quickly grew in height and dark green in color. They look very healthy. Today, they are ready for me to pick my first bean harvest.

Gardening Advice

Rule of thumb: For our Zone 7A, plant your seeds indoors after St Patrick's Day, plant your seedlings outdoors in the garden Memorial Day.
Remember to plant your seedlings outside after the last expected frost date.
Don't forget to harden off your indoor grown seedlings before planting outside.
Potatoes Rule of thumb: All good Christians plant their potatoes on Good Friday.
Turnips Rule of thumb: Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies says to plant your turnips outside on July 25.
Keep a journal for next year to help remember what went good and what didn't work out so well.
At HARC, we are in USDA hardiness zone 7A.

For the New Gardener

Never planted a vegetable garden before? Veggies from your own garden will spoil you, as their taste is far superior to store purchased vegetables.
For your first garden, start small. Choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun a day. Then make a 3 foot by 6 foot garden and plant a few of your favorite veggies in it. Plant tomatoes if you like tomatoes. Plant banana peppers if you like peppers, as banana peppers are easiest to grow and you should get a lot. Bell peppers can be finicky. Bush varieties of green beans are easy to grow and make a great first garden veggie.

For your first garden, buy a few seedling plants at your local gardening store and plant them in your outside garden. Bush bean seeds can be planted right in the ground and will be ready to harvest in 8 weeks, so no need for bean seedlings. Plant your garden outside after the last expected frost date. Don't plant too many plants for your first garden. See how much time your schedule allows you to allocate to your garden.
Gardens do not just grow. You must take care of them. Water your veggies every day or every other day, and at ground level. Do not water by spraying the leaves as a sprinkler would. That encourages disease. Pull out the weeds as they complete with your veggies for water and nutrients.
Evaluate your garden as you go along and evaluate it again the end of the year. Was it worth it? What worked out and what would you do differently? Did you have enough time to allocate to your garden? Did you like the fresh vegetables? Do you want to forget about gardening, make it smaller or perhaps expand it for a few more tomatoes, peppers or beans for next year?
Do you want to try other veggies like cucumbers or zucchini? Maybe containers are better for you? Zucchini grow well in 5 gallon buckets.

Here is a nice Youtube channel named, My First Vegetable Garden. I recommend watching these videos.
My First Vegetable Garden

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