Klaas Vogel’s gardening roots stretch back to World War II in the Netherlands; his grandfather, who started gardening to be self-sufficient during war-recovery efforts, passed down his skill and passion to Klaas.
The retired electrical engineer blends those traditional methods with his own expertise in his Monroe, N.Y., garden. He uses spreadsheets to plan and calculate the most efficient way to plot his produce each year, and installed custom-designed fencing that keeps critters out, but can easily be rolled back by human hands.
And despite this summer’s heat, rain and smoke, Vogel’s backyard plots are flourishing with lettuce, beans, celery, eggplant, peppers, spinach, herbs, onions, tomatoes and more.
Vogel’s veggie patch is one of more than a dozen unique food gardens to see during the annual Kitchen Garden Tour, happening Sunday, Aug. 13. The one-day event invites locals to step into their neighbors’ backyards to explore fruit and vegetable plots while learning tips and tricks from the gardeners.
Afterwards, event attendees meet up with the gardeners at Meadow Blues in Chester, N.Y. for an after party, where they nosh on farm-to-table food and drinks, and vote for their favorite local veggie patches.
A taste for gardening
Vogel’s garden took home the Editor’s Choice Award from last year’s tour.
The Andersen family’s Warwick, N.Y. garden, which took home the award for Most Hospitable Garden in 2017, is also participating this year. Mike and Erin Andersen are currently growing tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, cucumbers and a variety of berries and grape vines. In past seasons, a single grape vine produced two dozen jars of jelly for the family.
They’re most proud of their fruit trees this year, which are producing peaches, plums, pears and apples. But Erin’s favorite crops are the berry bushes.
“It’s the best thing to go out in the yard and grab a handful of fresh berries,” said Erin.
Vogel agrees that the effort is worth the produce. “The main reason to grow is the taste - that is so much better than the stuff from the supermarkets,” he said.
Learn gardening tips and secrets from the Andersens, Klaas Vogel, and a dozen more local backyard food growers at this year’s Kitchen Garden Tour.
Tickets are available now at kitchengardentours.com or by calling 845-469-9000.