Master Gardener Jim Kvach part 2
For Part 2 of this story, I wanted to share Master Gardener, Jim Kvach’s experience with vegetable gardening and some of his tips and advice for growing vegetables in your garden. He also shared what kind of vegetables are most abundant and thriving.
Gardening since he was 4 years old, Master Gardener, Jim Kvach produces two tons of food a year to the Food Pantry and Community Table in his local area. He lives in Rockbridge County where 3/4ths of an acre is his garden. Mr. Kvach spoke at the Bath County Library on Tuesday, June 18th giving advice for other gardeners and shared some of his backround.
“There’s been a lot of trial and error when it comes to what varieties of vegetables I grow. Juliets are pear shaped tomatoes about 1 ounce- they’re hugely prolific. So off of 32 plants last year was 805 pounds of Juliet tomatoes. Once they start you will have tomatoes until frost…One of the things I’ve learned with Brandywines (tomatoes) is as soon as you see them getting a little bit pink- pick ’em!”
If you love asparagus and have found it hard to grow, you’re not alone! Here is some of his advice-
“If you read about how to plant asparagus, it’s a very complicated thing where you dig trenches, and need manure and you need this and you need that- I did that for many years when I lived in Maryland and I never got one sprig of asparagus. So, when I got here what I did was I bought the asparagus plants, I brought the trowel, made a little trench, and stretched out the roots, covered it up and I have more asparagus than I know what to do with.”
Some recommendations he has are the Bloomsdale long standing spinach, Parris Island and Jericho for romaine lettuce and he mentioned that for the romaine he doesn’t pull the plants when he harvests but cuts 3 to 4 inches above the ground.
“It starts re-leafing and it comes back really fast so these two, I’ll tell you, are really, really good..if you like sweet potatoes, they’re very forgiving- they’ll grow in almost anything. I think they’ll grow in concrete if you water them, and then the yellow squash is very common, the white lady turnip is tender and sweet as you could ask for out of a turnip.”
His next topic was environmental factors- mentioning how difficult it can be with our soil- saying there’s an abundance of clay and a lack of top soil.
“The soil is alkaline- you will not change the PH of the soil. Too much, too little water- where we lived last year the average rainfall in Lexington was about 40 inches a year. (Last year) We had 85 inches of rain on the property..Of course you need the sunlight for temperature and germination for growth. Spinach isn’t going to want to germinate if the soil is too warm and squash isn’t going to germinate if the soil it too cold, so you’ve got to be aware of these things.”
Last but not least, he also strongly advises not to jump the gun and rush into planting.
“When do I plant my tomatoes and peppers? After Memorial Day. This is a quote from David Frasier- It’s not who picks the first tomato, it’s who picks the last tomato.”
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour