Sunday, September 2, 2007

Who did the weedin' in the Garden of Eden?!

I grew up in Chicago and Milwaukee and Bing grew up in a Milwaukee 3rd floor apartment and then a city duplex. We were city kids through and through. We knew trolleys and buses, sidewalks and alleys. Grocery stores were the source of most of the food that filled our stomachs. But somehow there must have been farmer genes lurking in each of us. For the thirty five years that we've lived at this place that we call Lakeside Gardens, we've learned to garden and grow things. We bought this land because it had seventy five feet of frontage on a good fishing lake and Bing was and is a fine, fanatical fisherman. The people who sold us the place had a garden so we thought that was the thing to do. We subscribed to a magazine called Organic Gardening and proceeded to read and learn how to get food from the ground. The first few years it was pretty comical. The weeds were incredibly prolific and we spaced the tomatoes just a few inches apart. But we loved the miracle of seed turning to produce and we marvelled at the taste of the fresh veggies. I learned canning and freezing from a volleyball teammate who grew up on a farm. We nourished the soil with compost and manure and leaves and now are proud to grow sugar snap peas, bush beans, carrots, red and green cabbage, broccoli, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, acorn squash, cauliflower, dill, onions and pumpkins. We tried to grow sweet corn a few of the years but the raccoons always beat us to it when it would ripen. We also added raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plum, cherry and apple trees. I believe that within the human soul there is a basic need to create as our Creator did when he made the first garden and fashioned us from soil. Every Ash Wednesday at church, the priest would say, "thou art dust and unto dust, you shall return." But I wish he would have said, thou art soil and unto soil, you shall return. The word dust seems inconsequential and a nuisance. But the word soil, rings with strength and tremendous potential. Gardening is a lot of work and unless you're quite a bit obsessive compulsive, you'll never be weedless, but it's worth the work when you can share your harvest with those you love.

1 comment:

Carmen Ronyak said...

Have to say, I miss those veggies and apples!! We pay a lot for organic produce here. We plan to have a small garden by next summer.....things seem to grow quite easy here.