My parents, grandparents, and all who came before them were farmers. They grew gardens to put food on the table and raised cows, pigs, acres of corn, soybeans, milo, and wheat to put money in their pockets.
I have a lot of gardening memories from my childhood. Some of them are better than others, but all of them involved a lot of hard work, blood, and sweat. And, I’m sure that in my younger years, there were even tears involved. At five years old, my dad had just returned after several years of serving in the Air Force and we lived in a mobile home situated in the middle of a cow pasture. There were cows. Eventually there were pigs. And, yes…there was a garden.
After it was plowed under the first time, my mom and I hauled what must have been 100’s of toy wagons full of pasture grass and weeds out of the future garden patch. My mom planted several rows of potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, peas, okra, squash, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and an area of strawberries. There were many hours of hoeing, raking, pulling weeds, each summer that culminated with more hours of “snapping” beans, “shucking” corn, “shelling” peas, “digging” potatoes, and “picking” strawberries.
These days, I’m a wannabe hobbyist gardener who hasn’t picked up a rake or a hoe in more than 20 years. Then it was backbreaking work – child labor at its best – to be avoided like the plague. Now it’s more of an opportunity to reminisce about the “good ole days”.
Gardening and farming are drastically different, but do share some similarities. Farmers have to maximize their time, money, and energy to produce a profit to live on. Gardeners are mostly hobbyists that grow things for enjoyment and their only payment is a sense of accomplishment. In this blog, I plan to marry the two to maximize space, time, energy, and money to put a little homegrown food on my dinner table.
I don't have any high tech tools or knowledge, or lots and lots of money, but I'm looking forward to learning a few new tricks to improve my backyard gardening skills. I will attempt to implement organic gardening techniques, composting, vermiculture, above ground grow beds, fabric containers, square foot gardening, soil pH, growing seasons, growing zones, weed control, hydroponics, and much, much more to improve my results. I may even try to grow some garbage can potatoes, if everything goes as planned.
Let's go grow something!