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The Neff Sisters’ Garden Update

garden harvest

A few months ago, I shared with you the story of beginning gardeners Adrienne and Cordelia Neff’s Victory Garden. At the time, they had planned out the garden and got their seeds. They put up a fence in their parents’ yard and got to work.

I have to admit I was wondering how they would handle the weeding, but it looks like they have kept up with it marvelously. I asked Cordelia to share some of her thoughts on their garden, and below is what she sent to me.

“I’m still in love with my Victory Garden 2020. It’s really ramping up on production, and today was our biggest daily harvest yet! I got a few beans (first harvest) a variety of peppers, cherry and grape tomatoes and our first normal sized tomato (from an Early Girl plant). I also got 9 cucumbers today, and pickled them.

I’m sharing the harvest with my sister who helped me set it all up and get everything planted, but since it’s at my house, the maintenance has fallen on me. As a first time vegetable gardener, I’m still surprised by almost everything.

I’m amazed at how many green tomatoes I have, and how long they take to ripen! I’m struggling with some of my pepper plants inexplicably wilting one day, then looking better the next day (water doesn’t seem to affect this). We definitely planted things too close together in our ambition to get lots of veggies, and the garden looks like a jungle!! I think the closeness of the planting is affecting the individual plants’ yield, but it is visually rewarding. I don’t think I’ll use stick tents again to plant climbers for this reason though.

I love checking on my garden daily, even before it started producing. The daily changes excite me every time, and there’s always something to look forward to. Our corn looks about ready, and a sunflower is peeking out today. I can’t wait to be able to get into the garden tomorrow and see what else is ready!”

neff garden

As many of you might know, both of the Neff sisters worked for Behnke’s in our graphics department. They both have so much talent and seem to love to tackle life’s many experiences. Cordelia started working for us first, then went on to other adventures but made sure we had a replacement for her in her sister Adrienne.

Adrienne could be found all over the place helping where needed, but most of the time, building some of the beautiful displays you would see around the nursery. I had no doubt these two women would have a gardening success. I hope if you decided to have a Victory Garden this year, you found as much pleasure in it as they have.

This week I saw Cordelia posted on Facebook that they had a garden party at her parents’ with her sister Adrienne and Matt. It shows you can still be with family while keeping your social distancing. They sat at a table by themselves. Cordelia said that the garden helped out for the menu, which included the following:

Flowers for each table (Adrienne and Matt sit separately above); Tomatoes for the hamburgers; Corn on the cob; Peppers for the bean salad; Pickles and cherry tomatoes; Cucumbers for grapefruit-cucumber sparklers (I think we need this recipe).

corn on the cob
cherry tomatoes
grapefruit cucumber sparklers

The last two pictures that Cordelia sent to me were of their hops that are looking great and how much the bees love their garden.

neff garden

Stephanie Fleming & Cordelia Neff

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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