Behind The Scenes at Lehman’s: Get Growing!

Editor’s Note: This winter, our Facebook readers got a look behind the scenes at Lehman’s catalog and web department checking out new products for the holiday and spring seasons. That was well received, and so we’ve decided to feature a peek behind the curtain several times a year here in the blog too. This article features Glenda Lehman Ervin, our vice president of marketing. She loves to garden, and works it into her busy life in creative ways.

Every gardener knows that no matter how long you’ve been growing your garden, there’s always something new to learn. And whether you’re faced with an unfamiliar garden pest or are curious what variety of green bean thrives best in your climate, the best people to learn from are other gardeners.

“Every gardener I’ve ever met has been happy to share their secrets,” says Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice president of marketing at Lehman’s, and daughter of founder Jay Lehman.

Lehman's logo
The new logo for Lehman’s Non-Electric Hardware, introduced in 2011.

She herself is an avid gardener, which isn’t surprising considering she grew up in the family business. Her dad founded Lehman’s general store nearly 50 years ago to serve the Amish population in Kidron, Ohio.

“Lots of people are intimidated by gardening,” says Lehman Ervin. “They think there’s some great mystery to it. But the only trick to gardening is to grow the right plants for your area and to keep it manageable. The rest is just a matter of learning by doing.”

Here are some tips for enjoying your garden this year, whether you’ve been digging in the dirt for years, or you’re just starting out.

Rule number one: Be realistic when planning your garden. If you work full time and have family obligations when you’e home, chances are good you won’t have time to tend a two-acre garden. That doesn’t mean you need to give up gardening, though. Just find a way to fit gardening into your lifestyle.

German Pink Tomato Seeds
Heirloom variety–German Pink Tomatoes

For example, Lehman Ervin and her neighbors are discussing the possibility of a subdivision co-op. “None of us has the time to tend a huge garden, but we all value fresh vegetables in the summer,” she explains. So, each family agrees to grow enough of one crop to share with all the others. One family will grow tomatoes, one will grow zucchini, etc., and then we swap so every family enjoys the harvest.

Lehman Ervin will also be growing a “junk store garden” with her daughter this summer. This is nothing more than a planter (in this case a drawer from an old desk) that they will use for a container garden. Those without a yard to garden in can take a cue from this technique. “Container gardening is gaining popularity as people downsize,” says Lehman Ervin. Seed companies are even producing plants especially designed to grow in smaller spaces like containers. Make watering easy and conserve resources by leaving a galvanized watering can or larger container so it can fill up with rain water to use on your plants.

Another option for those who can’t tend a large garden is to focus on a theme. Concentrate on growing herbs, or plant a salad garden with various types of lettuce and edible flowers. Or take a cue from one of Glenda’s friends, who grows a salsa garden every year; her homemade salsa is a coveted gift.

As with any project, the right tools make all the difference, whether that means a good watering system, the right soil or natural pest control. Check out the complete line of Wilcox garden tools that feature contoured plastic grips and are made of nearly indestructible stainless steel that won’t rust or bend. “Our cypress potting table is the perfect workspace for transplanting, dividing and potting plants. It can also double as a serving table for outdoor gatherings,” she says.

Ervin also has some ideas for planting this year. “When to plant can also be a big question, especially with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had this spring! I think it’s best to start now, especially for tender plants like tomatoes. Those can be started inside now, and transplanted to the garden when frost danger is past.”

5 Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard Seeds
Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard

Depending on the climate you live in, planting season is either under way or right around the corner. Here’s a list of some crops you can plant directly into the ground now and some that should wait for warmer temperatures.

These cool season vegetables can be planted several weeks before the end of frost season:

  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • radishes
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • swiss chard
  • beets

Don’t try planting these warm season vegetables until after the danger of frost has passed:

  • corn
  • beans
  • tomatoes
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • peppers
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