Starting A Vegetable Garden
Growing your own vegetables is an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only will they taste better than those from the grocery store, but you’ll also gain both physical and mental benefits.
To start a vegetable garden, first choose a site that gets plenty of sun. Then prepare the soil, adding plenty of compost or well-rotted manure.
Rick Ditaranto spends many peaceful mornings watching the birds and insects pollinating the colorful flowers at the Gibbsboro Community Garden in Camden County. Beyond the serenity, the garden has given Ditaranto and his partner, Liz Tiffany-Ellis, a meaningful sense of community.
“I’ve met a lot of nice people,” said Ditaranto, who moved to Gibbsboro about five years ago. “They have different events throughout the year, from a get-together with a harp player to a tutorial from a beekeeper.”
Since joining the garden three years ago, the couple has started their planting each April with vegetables that prefer cooler temperatures, including lettuce and peas. In mid-May, they plant tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and lots of herbs.
They tend the garden three or four days a week, watering, weeding, and pruning alongside the other 30 or so plot owners. By October, they’ve harvested their crops and cleaned out their 9-by-5-foot plot for a winter break.
Community gardens are more popular than ever, with more than 300 in and around Philadelphia, according to Justin Trezza, community gardens program director for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Community gardens beautify the landscape, make fresh produce accessible, and strengthen social connections between neighbors.