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Farm Life, Growing a Garden in Town, Health & Wellness, Photo Essay

Growing a Garden In Town: Ralph Gildehaus on Jefferson Street

Growing up in Bulgaria, I had zero interest in gardening. When my grandparents planted onions, I played with the cats; when they picked tomatoes, I read a book perched on the peach tree; when my whole family was busy canning veggies for winter, I reluctantly helped while thinking of an excuse to do something else. If then somebody told me that somewhere down the line I will end up growing a garden in the USA I would have laughed at them. However, my very first encounter with store-bought cucumbers and tomatoes left me no other option but to go dig in the dirt and plant some veggies. The taste of homegrown produce simply cannot compare to anything you can find in the store, and I love me a good salad in summer. 😉

It’s been wonderful to discover that I am not the only one growing a garden in Washington, MO, so I decided to break my blogging silence for a bit to show you my neighbor Ralph’s garden (and hopefully other gardens in town in the future). Growing food is amazingly rewarding and much easier than you think!

I snuck up on my neighbor Ralph Gildehaus this morning, while he was tending to his gorgeous daisies you have probably admired on Jefferson Street.

I snuck up on my neighbor Ralph Gildehaus this morning, while he was tending to his gorgeous daisies you have probably admired on 110 Jefferson Street.

The path leading to Ralph's amazing garden. Guess what is in the pots? Sweet potatoes!

The path leading to Ralph’s amazing garden. Guess what is in the pots? Sweet potatoes!

He does have an oasis amidst the heart of town.

He does have an oasis amidst the heart of town.

Their mulberry tree produced a lot this year, and the fruit is in bags in the freezer, perfect for smoothies and desserts.

The mulberry tree produced a lot this year, and the fruit is in bags in the freezer, perfect for smoothies and desserts.

Ralph has a passion for gardening, and in the last couple of years apart from flowers he has also been growing food and veggies.

Ralph has a passion for gardening, and in the last couple of years apart from flowers he has also been growing fruit and veggies. Due to limited space, he has been exploring different options of planting and growing food.

He saw a video on square-foot gardening which inspired him to give it a try. (photo by Ralph taken this spring).

Ralph saw a video on square-foot gardening which inspired him to give it a try. (photo by Ralph taken this spring).

This is how his magnificent garden looked like this morning. SQ Foot gardening saves space and is easy to maintain. You can plant 80% more in the same space.

This is how his magnificent garden looked like this morning. SQ Foot gardening saves space and is easy to maintain. You can plant 80% more in the same space.

Ralph is growing a lot of different kinds of veggies and has already harvested a bunch this year.

Ralph is growing a lot of different kinds of veggies and has already harvested a bunch this year.

Everything grows in close proximity and thrives.

Everything grows in close proximity and thrives.

Did you know that zinnias will keep the bugs away from your tomatoes plants?

Did you know that zinnias will keep the bugs away from your tomatoes plants?

Ralph utilizes natural gardening methods, and he even feeds the squirrels so they don't steal his tomatoes.

Ralph prefers to use natural gardening methods, and he even feeds the squirrels so they don’t steal his tomatoes.

He is all about utilizing any available space he has, so he's creatively growing grapes on his fence.

He is all about utilizing any available space he has, so he’s creatively growing grapes on his fence.

And strawberries right next to them.

And strawberries right next to them.

He even has plum and peach trees!

He even has plum and peach trees!

Blackberries, too!

Blackberries, too!

And, chickens!

And, chickens!

They get the garden scraps and live a happy life in the sunshine.

They get the garden scraps and live a happy life in the sunshine.

Nothing gets wasted.

Nothing gets wasted.

After the chickens are done with the garden greens, Ralph composts the leftover and uses them as fertilizer for the garden.

After the chickens are done with the garden greens, Ralph composts the leftover and uses them as fertilizer for the garden.

That's what the barrel is for :-)

That’s what the barrel is for 🙂 Doesn’t the garden look gorgeous in the sunshine?

The best part about having a garden in your back yard (or front) is that you can just step outside and pick veggies for dinner. No trip to the store needed.

The best part about having a garden in your back yard (or front) is that you can just step outside and pick veggies for dinner. No trip to the store needed.

Nothing really compares to fresh-picked.

Nothing really compares to fresh-picked.

It's amazing all the fruit and veggies you can grow in a small space!

It’s amazing how much fruit and veggies you can grow in a small space!

A cucumber from my garden (I grow them beneath my front porch) and carrots and a tomato from Ralph. Growing your own food not only promotes healthier eating habits and more time spend in nature, but also helps to connect people and build a community.

A cucumber from my garden (I grow them beneath my front porch) and carrots and a tomato from Ralph. Growing your own food not only promotes healthier eating habits and more time spend in nature, but also helps to connect people and build a community.

Ralph is happy to share his gardening experience with anyone interested! Feel free to reach out to him if you'd like to tour his garden.

Ralph is happy to share his gardening experience with anyone interested! He believes in planting seeds carefully, and that what you put out is what will come back to you. Feel free to reach out to him if you’d like to tour his garden and learn more about how to grow fruit and veggies in town! 

 

To stay updated on Ralph’s garden and to learn more about growing food, feel free to join his Facebook group For The Love of Gardening. I had a wonderful time talking to him and touring his garden this morning, and I will try to bring more similar posts to you!

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.

Discussion

5 Responses to “Growing a Garden In Town: Ralph Gildehaus on Jefferson Street”

  1. What a wonderful garden!! An oasis in the middle of downtown–love it! Great job Ralph and darling pics Slava!!

    Posted by Wendy Becker | July 30, 2015, 6:50 am
  2. What a beautiful garden! Some day I will have the same thing! My parents grew up in Washington & Dutzow, Neiers & Poepsels. There is some good ground there, unlike here in Texas. But I hope to have some raised beds someday.

    Posted by Marcia Poepsel Hartgrove | July 30, 2015, 10:43 am
  3. Nice job…inspiring garden

    Posted by Jan moore | July 30, 2015, 5:45 pm

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