A master at gardening

SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times

Frank Williams, 78, has been cultivating crops for more than 30 years in raised-bed gardens on his 65-acre property along Ohio 7 just north of Marietta. “I’ve had these beds in since 1980, and they’ve held up all of these years,” he said Tuesday. “I used two stacked railroad ties and salt-treated 2×12-foot boards on the sides, and the soil in the beds are about a foot deep.” Williams, a master gardener for the past 10 years, said he originally tried to start a garden directly in the soil on his property along the Ohio River, but what he calls the “Huntingon soil” was too hard. “It’s like concrete pavement under there,” he said. So he decided to plant his crops in raised beds, initially filling the beds with horse manure, then blending in topsoil. The 1,450-square feet of raised beds are already filled with thriving plants, including six varieties of tomatoes, two kinds of cabbage, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, peas, green beans and mint. The fence surrounding the raised-bed garden bears vines of grapes. Retired from Industrial Instruments Inc., a company he owned and operated in Williamstown, Williams said he’s always enjoyed getting his hands into the soil.