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   

Good Websites

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

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

For my 2023 garden, I planted the following for my traditional garden:
Better Boy tomatoes - 24 plants have provided 31 pints of tomatoes so far plus those I have consumed. I estimate these 24 plants have produced over 360 tomatoes.
Gardener's Delight cherry tomatoes - 4 plants have provided plenty to snack on.
Emerald Giant bell peppers - Make great stuffed peppers. 8-12 plants provide plenty for stuffing.
Great Stuff Hybrid bell peppers - Make great stuffed peppers. 8-12 plants provide plenty for stuffing.
Slovana banana peppers - Not as prolific as sweet banana peppers but producing a respectable amount.
Greek Pepperoncini peppers - Four plants are providing bags of peppers. Enough for 5 people to eat and freeze. Very prolific. Make great Potatoes O'Brian.
Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers (cucamelon) - Two planting and so far nothing has come up. Will not plant again.
Blue Lake pole beans - Pole beans are not growing as well as bush beans this year. Unknown why, maybe the weather or smoke from Canada. Still providing beans 2nd week of September.
Blue Lake bush beans - Froze several bags. I planted Hart Seeds Pencil Yellow Wax bush beans the first week of August as my 2nd crop. All of my HART bush beans came up lanky but okay. Mid September, baby beans are growing.
Burpee Hasta la Pasta Spaghetti Squash - Planted two plants. Each plant has provided 2 squash for a total of 4 so far. XYL likes their easy size and taste.

I planted the following in containers:
Burpee's Best Hybrid Zucchini - Planted 3rd week of July, harvested first zuke Aug 27, after 6 weeks.
Purple Top turnips - Planted last week of July. Still growing.
Midnight Moon Eggplant - I did not plant.
Bush Champion Cucumbers - I did not plant.
Burpee Millionaire Hybrid Eggplant - Planted two, one each in 5 gallon containers. Producing well. I have harvested at least 14 or 15 eggplant. Size and shape of a medium banana.
Burpee Veranda Red Hybrid grape tomato - in a 3 gal pot. Full of tomatoes. Harvested handfuls of delicious grape tomatoes from 1 plant, small round and sweet. I will plant again.
Waltham 29 Broccoli - I planted 7, one gallon milk jugs and placed outside in February. Did not do well this year for some reason.

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.

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