I recently had the opportunity to visit with John and Dotty Ford and see their wonderful vegetable garden and chat about the enjoyment they have in growing and having fresh vegetables available for cooking. John is a retired schoolteacher who taught Physical Science in the State College School District and is also heavily involved in activities centered on fly-fishing. Both John and Dotty fully appreciate the health benefits derived from eating fresh vegetables and enjoy cooking and also putting up some vegetables for later consumption during the winter months. I thought that it would be nice to tour the garden and see what John has growing in the garden.
The garden is approximately 25 feet wide and 100 feet in length, which is 2,500 square feet for those interested in comparing it to an acre, which is 43,560 square feet. I suspect that many of you have gardens comparable in size to John and Dotty’s. The variety of vegetables they have growing in the garden is pretty extensive. They have planted vegetables and herbs that they can use in their cooking and enjoy both cooked and fresh. They like to eat fresh salads and the garden reflects this fact.
The vegetables I observed were cabbage, romaine lettuce, spinach, potatoes (Yukon Gold), turnips, radishes, green and yellow snap beans, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, pickling cucumbers, garlic, chives, dill, parsley, basil, Cilantro, nasturtium (edible flowers), pumpkins and sunflowers. The crop that John is most proud of is his tomato, which I suspect is a favorite of many gardeners across the region.
A little background on tomatoes is in order. Tomatoes originated in the South American Andes in a region that now makes up parts of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. This is similar to the potato. Eventually tomatoes were planted throughout Central America and into Mexico where Spanish explorers found them growing in Montezuma’s garden in the sixteenth century. The Spanish introduced tomatoes to the world. Recently scientists learned the lycopene content of tomatoes was especially good for maintaining a healthy heart. This extremely nutritious vegetable is now considered America’s favorite vegetable.
The tomatoes found in the Fords’ garden are the following varieties: Stupice, Brandywine, Sweet 100, Better Boy, Better Bush and Homestead.
As you can see, the Fords have planted some excellent tomato varieties, and in a recent phone conversation, he even asked me when I was going to come over and help pick tomatoes.
I hope that your gardens are doing well and that you are enjoying having fresh veggies to eat.