The short answer is sometimes, but the rewards can be delicious, nutritious and inspiring. There are as many different flower, fruit and vegetable varieties as there are different kinds of gardeners . . . from the ones that till and fertilize soil, weed, plant, water and stake the plants to those that toss in a few seeds, pop in a few plants and hope for the best.
And both types of gardens can be successful.
Check in with the pros at Rohrer Seeds to see what kind of fruit and vegetable seeds are easiest to cultivate and harvest in your type of garden. My brother-in-law built raised garden beds throughout his back yard, full of nutritious compost, rich soil and natural weed and critter deterrents, that he cultivates for bumper crops of lettuces, cabbage, berries, tomatoes, celery, carrots and more. He plants them in stages, so as one group is ready to harvest, and the second group is growing. His garden lasts well into the late fall.
My daughter works full time and is a half-hearted gardener, at best. Strawberry plants replaced the tree stump in the front yard, the 4-foot holding walls near the carport host a variety of tomatoes, herbs, peppers, zucchini squash and a new fruit every year (cantaloupe and watermelon were two favorites). The local critters get some snacks and a stray seed or two sprouts in the retaining wall. But she, too, has a bountiful harvest.
And my husband and I are the fortunate recipients of some delicious, natural, homegrown food from both. As we head toward retirement, we plan to jump on the homegrown garden bandwagon. The best advice we have gotten includes:
- Start with quality seeds. Rohrer Seeds carries a wide variety of hearty fruit and vegetable seeds and plants that will fare well in Lancaster’s climate and soil.
- Use a basic fertilizer to feed the seeds and seedlings as they get started.
- Experiment and have some fun, like planting lettuces in hanging baskets (keeps the bunnies out!), or surrounding your veggies with fun (and edible) flowers.
- Plant a variety of fruits and veggies --- sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes (perfect for Lancaster County soil), strawberries, cucumbers, squash, lettuces, and herbs.
- Ask questions. The staff at Rohrer Seeds is happy to help.
- Keep trying. Some years will be better than others whether you strictly follow gardener’s growing guidelines or farm with benign neglect.
As the weather warms, there is certainly a road trip or two to Rohrer Seeds in my future. See you all there!