Gardening was something I have been doing since a very young girl, I remember stooping over picking row after row of green beans (I plant pole beans now), picking until my back ached even when I was only 4 feet tall. The family garden was another way to feed our family all through the year as the abundant produce would not only be eaten fresh but canned for winter use. Many of the techniques I learned as a child I still use today whenever possible, except I am organic and don't use chemical fertilizers. I learned to apply chicken manure to the rhubarb and cow manure to garden in the fall, in the spring we tilled in the well rotted black gold into long rows, watching the soil tilth quickly go from hard clay to an earth wormed filled light fluffy mix, if only I still lived on a micro farm with access to all that black gold like I did growing up.
Simple to make hoop house with the soil prepped and planted.
In 1983 when I started my own family and was living on my own the organic gardening bug continued to work its magic in my life. We didn't have internet or cable but did have PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) to learn a lot of new techniques, one of which was from Mel Bartholomew and his Square Foot Gardening techniques. I fell in love with gardening in a smaller space planting in 4 foot squares instead of long tedious rows. It made perfect sense to me as having a 6" row of plants with 12" of dirt path on either side seemed like such a waste of garden space. The gardens was now aesthetically pleasing and you could really get artistic with the layout and function. Over 20 years later you will still see my garden planted in blocks of various sizes as I haven't gone back to row planting.
The guy above needs a good stylist.. Below, his and hers garden clogs
My other source of information was and still is Organic Gardening Magazine, if you were to look in my attic you would see boxes of back issues that I still use for reference. It was here that I found many of the sources of organic gardening supplies and techniques that I will use today. The biggest and best find I discovered was practically right in my own back yard, Gardeners Supply Company.
Gardeners Supply Company started in 1983 by Will Reep who started an employee stock option program that helped keep the company in Vermont, in December of 2009 the company became 100% employee owned. For years the company headquarters and store could be found down in the Burlington Intervale area. Stopping here was always a joy and finding goodies to take home was easy to do, actually it was leaving behind things that was difficult as I could easily find so many things to use in the garden. In fact when I prepare to work outdoors I put on a pair of gardening clogs, grab gardening tools that are stored in a gardening tool belt that all came from the gardening supply store.
Our composter is filled 2 or 3 times a year, the inside when it is just about ready to use.
I don't find my was down to the Intervale store often as Gardeners Supply had an outlet store that happens to be on the route I take to work. One of my favorite things to do would be to stop into the outlet shop to see what type of deals and finds had been brought into the store. That outlet store has been moved to their newest location in Williston Vermont and is called Four Seasons Garden Center. A stop in this store is like heaven as you can grab lunch at their Garden of Eatin' restaurant, you can eat right there or you can bring it into the greenhouse surrounded by tropical plants and beautiful water feature. When you finish your lunch you can wander through the store to view their standard stock items and also the outlet store with has many things at a deep discount. During the planting season you will find everything you need for your vegetable and flower gardens along with shrubs and trees for your landscaping needs. In fact I just looked at our weather for today, sunny and 25 degrees, if you need to find me today it might be in the greenhouse on Harvest Lane looking for herbs to place out in the sunporch.
Look we have a guest taking a jacuzzi in a plant pot.. I think he just moved into the neighborhood.