Gardening Tips | By Joe Scrizzi

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As we enter into Spring 2021 and things are starting to pop up and bloom, thoughts of planting a garden come to mind.

Whether you are planting an Herb, Veggie, Floral Garden or a mix of all 3, here in the Lehigh Valley we are in Hardiness Zone 6b.

On average our frost-free growing season starts April 20th thru October 18th (181 days).

Although I have a tendency to plant veggies around mid-May, as the weather can be crazy (as it has thus far), haha.

As I write this article, my mind drifts back to my early days of gardening with my dad, mom and brother. Growing up in the 10th Ward in an Allentown row home (10 homes in a block). Everyone had a back yard, with some type of veggies and herbs planted. My dad was a 3 Season Grower (Spring/Summer/Fall) and every year, he always let me try something new. We would start growing seeds in the attic facing South. One of our chores was to water and rotate the seedlings every other day. We always had the basics: Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Green Beans, Lettuces. Over the years we tried Asparagus, Chard, Bok Choy, Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Radicchio, Various Herbs and even a Fig Tree (that was fun!). If a neighbor had too much of an item, everyone in the row would trade. Although I do not have the size yard my parents had, I still plant veggies/herbs where I can. Living off the land, best I can!

When starting your garden, follow the sun. Misjudging the sunlight is a common pitfall when you are first learning to garden. Keep a water source nearby. If your soil is dry and lumpy, dig it up, turn the ground over, break up the clumps and fertilize with mushroom soil (if available) or other nutrients. Rake and smooth out. One of my previous articles, I stated about composting, which I continue to do every week (putting hot beverage grounds, eggshells, veggie ends, etc. back into the earth and pots).

I have a small planting area, however I use small buckets which can be easily moved around for sun and rain.

I’m in no way an expert, just things I picked up throughout my life and practice every year to put good stuff on my table. There’s nothing like pulling a carrot from the ground, plucking a tomato, chewing on some fresh mint after a quick rinse. Tastes are unbelievable!

Biggest tip I can offer is hit the nurseries before Mother’s Day! As it’s a big deal with families to shop on weekends and they have a tendency to get wiped out!

Best of luck to All!

~ Joe