Raised bed garden. Photo by Jonathan Hanna on Unsplash

“Any day I have something to do out in the garden, I’m pretty happy,” Jeremy Gulley, Waitsfield, said. “And that’s any day, because there’s always something to do in the garden.”





Gulley, a baker at Red Hen in Middlesex, tends to a plot that’s 140 feet long and 50 feet wide, taking up about one-quarter of his yard. This year, he’s growing “all the usual garden suspects” – carrots, parsnips, peas, beans, sweet corn and a plethora of other fruits and veggies. His favorite thing to grow is hot peppers, while his two kids love strawberries, he said – a “very ephemeral” plant to tend.

“Over the years, it’s been a process of whittling down to the things we really want to grow and eat. We don’t over-produce just because we know how to grow stuff,” he said.


Gulley started his home garden along with his wife Sally Kendall – a local massage therapist, when they bought their Waitsfield home in 2008. They had the ground tilled and planted a cover crop in preparation for the following growing season. “We were really excited to finally have a garden space of our own,” he said, “there’s just something I love about cultivating plants, watching them grow, helping them grow, and just the act of being out there – doing whatever there is to be done.”

Gulley had previously worked on farms in Colorado and Kendall was exposed to farming and gardening while working at summer camps through the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth, Vermont. When they first moved to The Valley in 2003, they helped to revive the Rootswork community garden in Warren. They tended a plot there for about two years and considered transitioning to commercial growing. “But we decided we both liked our day jobs,” Gulley said.




While Gulley does most of the gardening work, Kendall does most of the processing. “Once I get to the harvest and process stage, I kind of lose interest,” he said. “I would really be in trouble without Sally. She spends a lot of time putting all this stuff to use.”

Kendall blanches and freezes bags of kale, cans salsa from peppers and tomatoes, and makes what Gulley called “kim-kraut” – a fermented kimchee where the cabbage is finely shredded, like with sauerkraut. Gulley’s favorite recipe prepared by Kendall with food from the garden is a beet salad with an onion vinaigrette. “It’s the main reason I grow beets,” he said.


Johnno Landsman, who spoke to The Valley Reporter from the parking lot of Vee’s Flowers and Garden Shop where he was about to pick up some starter plants, described some of the things he loves to cook with veggies from his home garden.

A take on the Indian dish Saag Paneer, using ramps instead of the typical spinach, is one of those dishes. Landsman has been transplanting ramps onto the hillside of his property in Waitsfield for a few years now. For the Saag, he simmers ramps with tomatoes, butter and spices like coriander and cumin, then adds cubes of paneer (fresh cheese).

The rest of his garden, which spans his side yard, includes four long rows of veggies surrounded by seven raised beds containing fruit bushes and flowers.

Landsman loves flowers. He adds about 150 daffodil bulbs to his yard each year, and experiments by cross-breeding Amaryllis varieties – a bulb that takes up to 12 years to flower – indoors. He uses a Q-tip to move pollen between plants, then collects the new seeds, germinating them. “I basically act like a little bee,” he said, “but indoors.”





Outdoors, Landsman said his garden has a feeling of “ordered chaos, with sections where I’m in control, and sections where I’m not in control.” He said he loves following the growth of plants over time because “there’s something beautiful about incremental change – watching things grow, and die, and live, and work out how to be.”

As a kid growing up in Illinois, he was interested in plants, but his current garden, which he started after buying his Waitsfield home in 2016, was the start of more intentional gardening. “It had the feeling of a place that had once been a beautiful garden, but that no one had touched for 15 years. It was a tangled mess,” Landsman said. He later realized that, in trying to clean up the mess, he had pulled up some great perennials. “I have some deep regrets about getting rid of some peonies,” he lamented.

Gardening is not all beauty and enjoyment. Challenges do arise. For Gulley, the biggest issues have been dealing with woodchucks and adapting to sections of his garden that have become more shaded as trees and shrubs grow. He’s had to turn some parts back into lawn, or create pollinator beds that don’t require a lot of light.

Landsman described the loss of some of his favorite plants – a section of Columbine flowers whose roots were decimated by worms last year. “There’s all these moments where you can get attached to plants, but they’re not all going to make it,” he said. “That part can be tough. But it’s a good lesson in impermanence, and in being part of the world.”