The new veggie gardens
Animal fencing over a raised garden
Vegetable gardens are making a comeback with local gardeners. More and more people are renewing their interest in planting vegetables. The reasons for this popular trend are many, ranging from the down turn in the economy, to the longing for a simpler way of life.
Victory Gardens planted during World War II were a way everyone could help the country during troubled times by making a contribution. It also meant a supply of food. Today, the interest in gardening is not just about growing food. It is the intrinsic value of turning the soil, reaping the harvest and the feeling of accomplishment.
Vegetable gardens seldom look like the days of old. Our parents and grandparents Victory Gardens were large, with neat, row-after-row of plants. The gardens were large enough to supply not only fresh produce but enough bounty that was preserved for the long winter months.
People who are returning to vegetables today often have wonderful memories of their parent’s or grandparent’s garden. They want to recreate these fond, distant memories for themselves or their children.
The new breed of modern vegetable gardens is small. Rows are seldom used. And most of the harvest is consumed fresh. Vegetable gardens are often tucked into the existing landscape, and are seldom a separate garden. If a separate area is used, it more than likely in the form of raised beds, measuring a mere 8 feet by 4 feet.
It is simple to catch the vegetable gardening bug. All that is needed is a niche of soil in the landscape. Instead of planting a six pack of petunias this spring plant lettuce, radishes or a bed of onions. Green beans, squash and other summer crops also work well for this purpose. Consider a successful harvest a few meals of fresh vegetables. Containers can also be used on a patio. Tomatoes, peppers and other plants make a nice display in a large container.
Growing vegetables is no more difficult than tending a flower garden. The same basics apply; ample sun, good soil preparation, timely planting and minimal care will lead to a bountiful harvest.
There are many good resources to help teach basic vegetable gardening practices. Extension has many excellent fact sheets that discuss proper timing and cultural methods. The Johnson County Extension Master Gardener Hotline is ready to assist, call (913) 715-7050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org K-State Extension has a wonderful vegetable garden guide which can be downloaded at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/hort2/s51.pdf.