Arnold Semchenko's garden provides a year-round feast for himself and for his neighbors.
Semchenko, 78, from rural Minot, said he probably gives away about 80 percent of what he grows in that 2,400-square-foot garden. He sold his old house and moved to a property southwest of Minot about four years ago that offers a lot more room for both him and his vegetables to spread out.
The peas in the garden have a wire climbing frame that will let them climb high.
Arnold Semchenko walks through his 2,400 square foot garden, much larger than he was able to grow at his old home. “This is my biggest garden,” he said.
Semchenko said his favorites in the garden are probably those peas, which are so delicious that he sometimes eats them right out of the shell in the garden. His favorite variety to grow are Lincoln peas.
Semchenko grows different varieties of vegetables too. There are about four different types of tomatoes in one row, he said.
The butternut squash are spaced out far enough apart that their vines will soon spread across the rows and will grow heavy with fruit. He also has other types of vegetables, including peppers, some very hot and some not; rhubarb, cucumbers, onions, radishes and more.
One popular garden vegetable is missing from the big garden, though.
"I prefer not to go with corn because I think they bring in the raccoons," said Semchenko.
Semchenko scares away crows with a big scarecrow dressed in modern clothing. The scarecrow's name is "Big Joe" and he seems to do the job pretty well, said Semchenko.
Semchenko said his garden is so beautiful because he has put a lot of time into it. He spends several hours a day weeding or harvesting his crops. Two years ago he improved the soil in the garden with fresh manure and he thinks that made a difference. The garden is so free of weeds now that Semchenko need only go out and inspect the garden for one or two weeds, which he can quickly pull up.
Some of his friends have suggested he try selling his garden vegetables at the farmer's market but Semchenko said he'd rather just enjoy them at home and share them with his neighbors. The family also cans some vegetables so they can enjoy them year round.
Semchenko said the garden keeps him in good shape, too. He is physically and mentally fit thanks to all of the garden work he does.