Here we are, already into September and the summer’s winding down. While we’ve been reaping the benefits of gardens for months, now’s the time we really pull out those baskets and bring in the produce.
How many of you are gardeners? What do you grow and what are your favorites?
Back in the day, when the Amos boys were young, many families gardened out of necessity. During the Great Depression they participated in Relief Gardens and during World War II they had Victory gardens. I asked the boys if they remember gardening and here’s what they had to say.
“When I was little and lived on Beaver Street (with grandmother Maggie and her husband Jim Adams), it was during the war and everyone was supposed to have a Victory Garden,” says Jerry. “A lot of people on our street had little gardens out back. Jim Adams, he always had a big garden. Every time friends would stop he’d load them up with sweet corn, tomatoes…whatever he had. He always grew more than we could use. He’d also load me up with a basket and let me go around to the neighbors and sell some.”
“We never had a garden as kids that I could remember,” says Duane.
“Well, the only place we could’ve had one was the front,” says Bruce, referring to their mother Gladys’ yard.
“Which was, what, like 6×8-feet?” asks Jerry. “And all trampled down from the kids that were always there. The dirt was like concrete.”
Isn’t it interesting how things go? In the years following World War II, gardening was no longer a means of subsistence. Food was plentiful and the idea of raising fruits and vegetables was relegated to just a charming hobby. And even though the Amos boys or their wives were amongst these quaint hobbiests (remember Jeanie’s 52 jars of pickles—one for each week of the year), much of the American population simply drove to the store and picked up a box of well-processed, packaged food.
Nowadays the pendulum has begun to swing. Gardening and knowing where your food originates has become quite the fad (one we should rightfully credit to the millennium generation). We now regularly use terms such as ‘foodie,’ community gardens and CSAs. And everyone wants their ingredients to be grown locally and in a sustainable fashion.
Food has definitely taken a turnabout. Kind of like how it was back in the 1930s and 40s, yes?
No it’s not a tree root, it’s a parsnip! “One of Farmer Jerry’s pride and joys of gardening,” says Elaine.
Hey folks, share some of your gardening stories. How did the weather affect your success this year? How are you getting your food these days?