Feature Month: Ted & Pam

When Megan (of Megan & Ben) asked if I was interested in featuring her parents’/grandparents’ gardens or if the Feature was “full” my instant response was, “No such thing as full!” I am inherently a more the merrier person and I have heard so many wonderful things about these gardens throughout my friendship with Megan that I just had to see what this crew was up to. They did not disappoint — look at how beautiful their gardens are! Readers, you are in for a treat. The dialog below is sure to put a smile on your face; I’m only disappointed that I couldn’t be there to chat with them myself. Ted and Pam, take it away!

Name: Ted Jones and Pam Cross

State: NY

Grow Zone: 4

Gardening style (container, raised bed, tilled plot, etc.): raised beds and containers

How long have you been gardening:

T: Oh my gosh. Off and on for 50 years probably. I used to garden with my grandfather at 5 years old, if you count that. I pulled weeds and helped him harvest. Yeah, so 84 years. I was 5 when I moved in with my grandparents, and they always had a garden. When we lived on Stone St., I was limited with places to plant. I made a little plot behind the garage.

P: I had my own garden ever since we got married and had a house. That’s 39 years. I helped Papa [Ted] before that.

Why do you garden:

T: I enjoy watching things grow. It’s a good relaxing pastime. The reward is to get some good vegetables to eat.

P: It’s definitely the fun of watching things grow, and to see your shelves full of canning jars.

T: It’s a miracle, putting a tiny seed in the ground and seeing what it becomes.

Do you typically garden alone or with friends/family/pets:

T: I garden with family, my daughter. I don’t think anyone else does much. Papa [my dad] picked the big zucchini that I let go to see how big it would get!

P: That’s the only thing he ever picked!

T: I wonder how big it would have gotten, it was THIS big!

Biggest success of 2021 season:

T: ….

P: Cabbage!

T: Yeah, cabbage! I’ve cut 3 heads and there are six more out there. Funny thing is, I only planted six. I’ve never seen that before, I thought you only got one head for one stalk.

P: Yellow squash!

T: Yellow squash abundant, for sure. Radishes and onions, for sure.

P: Clematis is my big success for 2021. I’ve been trying since we moved in [to their current house at the river] and they are finally growing like they did at the other house. They kept getting eaten so I put a fence around them.

T: Cucumbers don’t amount to much, but I get enough to keep me going.

P: How do you reach around [the fence] to get them? I think we need to rethink our planting next year to make that easier. The peas and raspberries also did well.

T and P: [conversation about when to pick the big onions]

Megan: What about ever?

P: Carrots!

T: Everyone got carrots that year. We even brought some to Florida, I had so many.

Most unfortunate failure (lesson) of 2021 season:

T: Oh, this year? [lots of thinking from both] The cucumbers or peppers.

P: We can’t grow peppers.

T: We got some, they’re just small. They’re good, just small.

P: Hmmmm…biggest failure is we thought we bought zucchini plants and they were yellow squash. Right, Papa?

T: Right!

Megan: What about biggest lesson ever?

T: When we tried to grow brussels sprouts. That was the biggest failure I ever had. Don’t you remember how they grew? What a mess. They had big stalks and huge roots and were awful. I had a time getting them out of the ground.

What is your most used gardening tool:

T: Probably that little hand cultivator I use. You know, the one I smooth all the dirt out and get the lumps out with?

P: I like the straight trowel.

T: I don’t use that, I use the hand thing. In fact I use it all during the summer, to turn up dirt and everything.

Favorite plant that you’ve ever grown:

T: Probably would have to be radishes and onions. I grow almost 300 onions every year. You [Megan] have a bag, I grow two bags.

P: My favorite plants are my flowers. I love my hibiscus, bee balm, lilies, and clematis. For garden plants, I like peas.

What are you most looking forward to growing in the future:

T: I just got some seeds…[goes to get them]. Delicata squash, spaghetti squash, swiss chard. You know what I thought we’d do? As soon as we get back here in March or April, start some inside. We’ve had good luck with beets, we should do some beets.

P: More flowers! [Megan: where are you going to put them!?] My flowers? I don’t know, all over! We also have good lettuce; things that grow well.

T: I guess we do! That’s one of our big crops.

One last piece of advice for our readers:

P: Have fun and try new things!

T: You’ve got to experiment. Try new seeds…that’s why I’ve got these, what I’m doing here.

I need to plan a trip to NY just so I can chat gardens with Ted and Pam! Many thanks to the three of you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with us. We look forward to seeing where the cucumbers end up next season. (wink wink) Readers, if you have any questions for Ted and Pam feel free to leave them in the comments below. Cheers, friends!

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