Getting the most out of vegetable gardens

By Tom Patton - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Many homeowners want to have herb and vegetable gardens, but most of us don't have enough space or enough sun.

If you have too much shade, too little sun or poor soil, Shaun Mercer of the Lavender Fields Herb Farm says raised garden beds are the answer.

"So the raised beds allow you to do a garden to any size that you  have, but also allows you to do it very condensed as well, in a small space it works perfectly there's a lot going on in each bed here too," he said.

A spinach bed can thrive with only a little sun.  You buy rich soil to get started, then you can top it off by adding leaves and compost every year.

A simple 4x6 space can be assembled in about one hour and provide homegrown food for months.

"The beauty of a raised bed is you can do it very intensely and you can turn it over, this is just spring crops in here, then you'll move to summer, your tomatoes, you pepper then you'll move to fall back towards your spinach, lettuce, collards and different things," Mercer said.

That's one small bed with three rotations.

Variations such as companion gardening can use even smaller spaces by growing herbs and vegetables that complement each other. Those French marigolds keep many pests away and look at that mammoth basil leaf. The possibilities are endless.

In addition to veggies and flowers, there are more than 250 fresh verbs, including the sugary tasting stevia, chocolate peppermint, pineapple sage and orange mint.

So there's no excuse to not make "thyme" to plant.

Shaun Mercer also teaches classes on site for more information go to or call 262-7167. 

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