It’s no secret that we’re bursting-at-the-seams proud of our rooftop garden. It’s just a short stroll from the kitchen—now that’s real garden-to-table!
We have our executive chef, Dave Wenerd, and building and grounds maintenance supervisor, Gregory L. Twerdok, to thank for nurturing those fresh ingredients. Greg also gets an extra nod for tending to our beautiful landscaping.
Dave and Greg are both skilled at working the soil and are happy to share their top tips for home gardeners. We trust you’ll find them helpful, whether you’re looking for late summer ideas or planning for spring.
Greg’s Top Three Gardening and Landscaping Tips
1. Plan and research your project
All you need is a seed of an idea! Sketch out your thoughts, including a rough map of your property and where you intend to garden or landscape. Take that—with a budget in mind—to a local garden center and talk to the staff. They are generally knowledgeable about when to plant and what will work best for your comfort level. Remember, you don’t have to revamp your yard or plant everything in one season. Talk to a garden center expert about staging over a few seasons based on your available time and budget.
2. Choose hardy, disease-resistant, drought-tolerant and heirloom varieties
There’s nothing wrong with a wish list; just keep in mind that everything you desire may not be appropriate for this part of Pennsylvania. A garden center expert will guide you based on your interest and experience. Greg suggests tomatoes, peppers and zucchini for the home gardener, and wave petunias, potato vine, annual grasses and sedges for the home landscaper.
3. Have a solid watering plan
Local summers are typically hot, and droughts are common. Make sure you’re prepared to either hand-water or install irrigation—or both. A garden center expert can help you select irrigation systems and also can advise on cost-effective ways to use soaker hoses or a good, old-fashioned hose with an adjustable nozzle. Greg says irrigation is especially great for hard-to-reach plants, like high window boxes. However, he prefers to hand-water so that he has eyes on the plants daily to check for any problems, like insects or browning (which can signal disease).
Dave’s Top Three Vegetable Gardening Tips
1. Beginners should start small
Dave concurs with Greg’s recommendation: Start with tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, which are typically easy to cultivate. Basil, mint and chives are also beginner-friendly and offer a nice mix of flavors to go with those veggies. Starting small is manageable and gives beginners confidence. If you achieve success early in the season, consider moving on to late-summer varieties.
2. Choose a sunny location
Most vegetables require roughly six hours of full sun each day. Check your property and gauge which spot gets the most sun throughout the growing season. Not everyone has a rooftop location! Make sure to space plants appropriately to soak up the sun. You don’t want them to crowd and overshadow one another.
3. Buy high-quality seeds
Don’t skimp on the start! Using last year’s seeds may work, but often won’t yield the same results. Decide on your crops, take a look at your budget and invest in your future harvest, choosing organic, if possible. A garden center expert can guide you to popular seed brands or do your own research on the web.
Intrigued? We hope you’ll stop by The Gables at Chadds Ford and try our fresh menu as you enjoy our beautiful venue. You might just spot Dave coming down from the garden or Greg taking care of our plants. In the meantime, we recommend The Old Farmer’s Almanac for additional tips and tricks.
The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.
Photos: The Gables at Chadds Ford