Gardening: Feeding Your Soul
The other day I was asked, "Why do you garden? You are so busy."
It’s true, my schedule is crammed with plenty of commitments, and volunteering with the National Grange Youth Department means I spend several weekends away from home. Fitting the garden into my schedule is hard, but it’s the reward of having my own peppers, tomatoes and zucchinis. They are great motivators.
Also, it is a chance to “unplug” from technology, except for running a music app on my smartphone. It gives me time, like when I milk, to ponder issues trying to search out solutions as I work, or it becomes a time to chat with my boys.
I will concede my garden is nowhere as large as my mother’s or my grandmother Cook’s gardens. Those were designed to feed the family as we froze and canned much of the vegetables we planted.
I look to my meager garden as a way to continue the tradition.
Also, for many years, my mom ran a farm stand, and the garden was the secondary source of retail items after sweet corn.
As for my garden, it’s rather old-school: no raised beds, mulched walkways or organic seeds. Many of the vegetable varieties are the same hybrids each year or descendants of those hybrids.
The only thing up for play right now is tomatoes, a long-standing choice that has not performed as my mom and I would like.
I admit that my garden will not be the prettiest in the neighborhood, but I hope it will provide some great produce and salads for the family.
-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor
Photo: Matt turns the garden as the boys look on.