Growing viral: Retiree tweets gardening secrets

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After retiring, Gerald Stratford took to the garden and then Twitter, where he found an audience hungry for his gardening tips. Photo courtesy of Headline Publishing Group.

“If you didn’t grow it, you didn’t eat,” says Gerald Stratford, describing his childhood in the garden, prior to the advent of supermarkets. Some years later, after retirement, Stratford became bored with fishing and was encouraged by a friend to tweet about his joyous return to gardening. Using the same tactics he applied when fishing, he began to grow large vegetables.

“To catch a big fish, you’ve got to understand how it works, how it lives, what it feeds on,” he explains.

He visited the library to research how vegetable varieties grow and what nutrients, light, and heat they needed. 

“To grow something big, you have to off start with the correct seed,” Stratford says.

His biggest success has been a 100-pound zucchini, which he used to make pickles, chutneys, and drinks. Stratford recommends new gardeners start with radish seeds that will take 21 days to grow, and potatoes which only require a gallon jug. 

Stratford’s book of gardening how to’s is “Big Veg.”

Gerald Stratford has gardened his entire life, but growing a Twitter audience resulted in his book, “Big Veg.” Photo courtesy of Headline Publishing Group.