There’s nothing quite like a fresh, homegrown harvest. If you’re considering starting a vegetable garden, there are several things to consider.
Choose varieties that you love to eat. Look at seed catalogs and retailers’ websites to see what vegetables are available for your zone.
photo by: Joselyn King
WHEELING — Wheeling University alumnus Paul Renowisz cares for his alma mater — but he really loves gardening and tomato sandwiches.
Renowisz lives just across Washington Avenue from the entrance to WU, and last year he noticed WU President Ginny Favede and her husband Dr. Lee Favede caring for the flowers at the entrance to the university. Renowisz next picked some vegetables from his home garden — or the “neighborhood garden,” as he calls it — and took them to the Favedes.
He struck up a conversation with the Favedes, telling them he was a 1981 graduate of WU and was a member of the basketball team. Renowisz also spoke of his love for growing vegetables.
“Basketball was my hobby, but gardening is my calling,” he explained.
Ginny Favede suggested he might want to become involved with the school’s vegetable garden located near Philip and Evelyn Kirby Hall.
“This is a community garden, where anybody on campus can come down and get something if they need it.” Renowisz said.
He estimated vegetables will be ripe for the picking in about a month, and available to the community.
Renowisz noted he has been gardening since childhood.
“I have been doing this since I was real little with my grandma (Theresa Ciardullo),” he continued. “We always had a garden…the whole family had a garden.
“It’s just in my blood, I guess.”
Renowisz explained his grandmother was of a generation “who canned everything.”
“She made her own ketchup,” he said. “You name it, she did it. That’s what they did back in those days.
“I would help my grandmother, so I learned from her.”
In the WU garden Renowisz has planted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, banana peppers, mint, and basil.
“This is my first year, so next year it will be a lot better,” he said.
Carpal tunnel issues in his hands this year prohibited him from putting forth a full effort. There is crab grass in some of the beds that need to be pulled and removed, he said. He spends about an hour each day tending WU’s community garden. This includes watering, weeding and tying up tomatoes.
Renowisz hasn’t planted any flowers in the garden, though at least one sunflower has popped up from past years.
“You can’t eat flowers,” he explained.
One of his favorite dishes is fried zucchini with potatoes.
“But there is nothing better than a tomato sandwich with a homegrown tomato,” Renzler added.