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Guide to Virginia Vegetable Gardening


From the Authors:

Truly, we two authors are gardeners with real Southern roots. Felder is a 10th generation Southern gardener. His ancestors settled along the Savannah River in South Carolina in the 1700s, before moving to what is now south Mississippi. He was raised by a horticulturist great-grandmother, who taught him about weeding strawberries and picking up pecans for a nickel a punt; a blue-ribbon-winning garden club grand-mother; and hardworking parents, who thought a childhood should be spend mowing the lawn and weeding the okra.

Walter claims he is a direct result of good gardening practices.

"My father had farmed in Fayette County, GA, for most of his life. My mother moved there in the late 1940s to raise trace-mineralized vegetables, A gutsy woman, she had little knowledge about farming and less about chickens, but she bought a small farms, purchases some hens, and enrolled in the local vocational agriculture class. At a housewarming party someone remarked that she might have lots in common with ‘the nice young man with all the chickens in the south part of the county.’ They were introduced, and he offered to teacher her the finer points of farming and poultry husbandry. Twelve months later they were husband and wife; I came along one year afterward, four siblings arrived as time passed, and the rest ins history!"

Whether you have gardening ancestors that stretch back for generations or you have never grown an edible thing, this book is for you.

Expert or novice, the basics of gardening are the same: know your soil, know your plants, and know what they need. If you follow just those three rules, you'll be a successful Southern gardener.

Just to make sure we all start on the same foot, let's review the basic first.

Gardening for food has long been a tradition in the Old Dominion. Early Jamestown settlers, who quickly learned to use native fruits and wild herbs from Native Americans, also brought favorite vegetable seeds, fruit plants, and herbs from "back home." They planted small sustenance plots from the craggy outcroppings just below Skyline Drive around Roanoke to the sandy backyards of Norfolk, finding in the process that the state has highly variable microclimates of rain and frost. They learned that the marshy soils near Williamsburg are far different from the Piedmont loam in Manassas and the fertile Shenandoah Valley, and the silt soils throughout the Chesapeake Bay area. In many cases, soils on on one side of town  and even in the yard – are different from the other side. But Virginia gardeners keep trying and adapting and changing their practices to fit the unique conditions, regardless of where they garden.

Virginia gardeners keep planting, in between the all-night summer humid and daytime temperatures about 10 degrees F to sudden frosts, ice storms and deep freezes. They can have heavy rains during a planting time followed by a long, dry summer spell. Through the ongoing battle with fire ants, deer, stink bus as big as a thumb, and every fruit blight and rot and leaf spot imaginable, they keep gardening.

Working with the "green industry" of garden centers, who sale growers, and horticulturists from the university experiment stations, and with advice from the Extension Service, garden writers, family, and neighbors, they keep looking for newer varieties of fruits and vegetables that tolerate the soils and weather, those that are resistant to diseases, and some that produce so heavily ad quickly the insects can't keep up with them.

Virginia soils and weather are fickle, and both are unlike those of even the closest neighboring states. But Old Dominion gardeners rise to the challenge.

Add to Cart:

  • ISBN-13: 9781591863984
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1lbs
  • Author: Felder Rushing

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 22 January, 2010.