Park 75 at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta’s Robert Gerstenecker is here to give you his best advice about how to have your own garden.
Q: How should a first-time gardener begin?
A: Building raised garden beds and getting organic soil can be expensive, so start small and add a little every year. Observe the location of the garden plan for one year and see if it gets enough sun, if it has good drainage or if it floods when it rains.
Q: How can someone garden in a small space?
A: You do not need to have acreage to have a garden. At Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, we have eight 12-by-12 planters on the roof that were used for ornamental shrubs, but we have re-purposed them to grow vegetables and herbs. Last year we harvested 300 pounds of sweet potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, mint, thyme, bay, tomatoes, and the list goes on.
Q: How can seasoned gardeners revamp their garden this year?
A: The best way to enrich a garden is to compost vegetable matter and reintroduce this compost into the garden on a yearly basis.
Q: What plants are the easiest to use in home cooking?
A: Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and scallions are easy to use, and all the soft herbs like chives, tarragon, cilantro, basil and oregano are great for introducing flavor. Sometimes people do not cook with greens like chard and mustard greens as they need a bit more preparation and technique to cook, but they are well worth the effort.