by Connie Oswald Stofko
In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants.
One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do.
Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard.
Bednarczyk and her family shared their yard on the Lancaster Garden Walk in July 2017. This year’s event will be held from 8:45 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 20 for the nighttime walk and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.
Their backyard is a place many gardeners would envy because it’s large and sunny. That’s perfect because vegetables like sun, and because the yard is so big, Bednarczyk was able to create a vegetable garden that some of us might call huge.
As you walk along the side of the house, the first thing you see in the backyard is the flower-covered trellis over the vegetable garden’s front gate. It welcomes you in.
The path continues on and leads directly to the front gate of the vegetable garden, as you can see in the photo at the beginning of this article. Garden beds with flowers and garden ornaments line the path.
The fence around the vegetable garden is functional– its purpose is to keep the deer and rabbits out. Tip: To prevent animals from burrowing under the fence, Bednarczyk put pieces of Plexiglas at the bottom of the fence.
Bednarczyk also has fruit trees and shrubs outside the vegetable garden. One is a thornless bush she got from a friend that produces what she calls “the world’s best blackberries.” Unfortunately, she’s not sure what variety the plant is. Some people have said it might be a thimbleberry. Whatever the plant is, it produces great berries.
“They get as big as a chestnut.” Bednarczyk said. “They make the best jelly.”
The deer will eat the bush in a pinch and voles chew the bottom, but the critters don’t bother it enough to destroy the entire bush. And as soon as a vine touches the ground, it starts a new plant.
This past winter was mild, and that may have helped the summer’s yield, she said.
“I’ve never had a crop like this, ever,” Bednarczyk said. “I can’t wait!”
She also has a sour cherry bush called ‘Carmine Jewel.’ She covered that bush with netting to keep the birds from eating all the cherries. The previous year she made juice from the cherries, froze the juice, then made jelly.