He who plants a garden works hand-in-hand with God.
~Douglas Malloch, American author and poet
I got hooked on gardening more than 20 years ago. Entrepreneur’s parents have always had a vegetable garden and that’s where I was formally introduced to the wonders of eating veggies from garden to plate. I didn’t grow up in an area where home-grown veggies were the norm. Rose gardens? Yes. A tomato plant in a pot here and there? Yes. Large plots of land with rows and rows of vegetables? No. Living in suburbia, we “picked” at the grocery store.
Enter the country boy. When my teeth bit into home-grown corn on the cob…picked, shucked and on the plate 30 minutes later, I was in melt-in-your-mouth heaven. In fact, I’m not sure I had anything else on my plate that meal at his parent’s house except 10 ears of corn. Heaven.
Then came fresh green beans. OMG, I found I could eat my weight in them with nooooo problem. Soon, I was discovering the difference between store-canned green beans, peas and carrots versus the kind you get walking out the back door and into the dirt. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and, of course, corn followed. Lots and lots of corn. For a city girl, it was overwhelming.
When our daughters were born, much of their baby food was Grandpa’s garden veggies, cooked and pureed in a blender. Drop a few spoonfuls into ice cube trays, freeze, pop them out and into a baggie….and voila!…organic baby food whenever you need it.
So, about 20 years ago we decided to try our own hand at this veggie garden thing. With a 1.75 acre yard, we carved out a significant chunk for our garden. I quickly learned how to run a tiller and the art of canning. Our first year yielded 20+ quarts of green beans. Beets, cucumbers (pickles), corn, okra and peas stacked up in our pantry/freezer for the winter. We had fresh lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes and new potatoes every spring/summer.
When we moved to a different city, we fell out of the gardening routine….until last year when we partnered with some farming friends for a “family garden” at their place in the country. And it whetted our appetite to try it again…closer to the back door.
There are many tired gardeners but I’ve seldom met old gardeners. I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart. Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized. The one absolute of gardeners is faith. Regardless of how bad past gardens have been, every gardener believes that next year’s will be better. It is easy to age when there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for; gardeners, however, simply refuse to grow up.
~Allan Armitage, writer, speaker, and researcher