It’s Harvest Season!

Garden Harvest

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?

Farmer Jerry

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?

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10 thoughts on “It’s Harvest Season!

  1. Over the years we have had a garden and not had one. These days I would love to have a vegetable garden again, and if we are able to sell our house, we plan to get a yard big enough to have a small garden. Right now I’m a patio gardener – just tomatoes and pepper plants. Ron and I both enjoy our flowers and flowering shrubs/trees. Also, out at the hunting property we have food plots for the deer and this year we planted turnips. I think we have eaten as many of them as the deer have (just kidding!) but we had no clue how good they are! Looking forward to hearing what others in the Amos clan are doing….Uncle Jerry that is one BIG parsnip!

    Vicki

  2. What did you do with the parsnip Uncle Jerry?

    We try to grow as much of our own food as possible here in N CA’s 9-month growing season. It’s all about feeding the soil and mulching for moisture. I can build a hoop-house in half an hour.

    There’s a buzz in the air right now as harvest is near for grapes and ganja. What a great place to live!

  3. Glen and I enjoy gardening and try to grow all our own food as well. Food in grocery stores isn’t the same as it was 40 years ago and it tastes terrible (not to mention having few health benefits). Gardening remedies all that. Good food! And a great activity to do together!

    Nine month growing season – how lucky, Cheryl! Do you grow multiple plantings of the same crop? I.E. does a single tomato plant last nine months or do you plant one after the other?

  4. We had to rent a backhoe to dig the parsnips. Then we used them to fill the large hole because they were too large to eat. Right now our little greenhouse (10 x 12 feet) has spinach and lime green romaine lettuce, and beet greens ready to pick, and sweet success cucumbers setting on, and blossoms on a tomato plant. Jerri Lynn has planted some greens there that are just coming up. Cheryl……we are trying to duplicte California’s longer season. I love to experiment with different planrts, and it is fun to watch them pop out of the soil, grow and produce great stuff to eat. My step-grandfather was a wild man on weekends when I lived with him and Maggie, but he always had a big garden which was very productive. We had a lot of chickens which not only gave us meat and eggs, but high nitrogen fertilizer. It was fun running barefoot in freshly plowed ground and helping out in the garden. Every summer when the ground gets dry and hard to keep watered and weeded I decide to forget gardening next year. Then in the winter the seed catalogs come and later on everything perks up including me. The summers when Grampa Jim didn’t hire the farmer with the horse and plow he would spade up the whole garden area with his shovel. I started doing the same thing and gave away the rototiller. It’s better for the soil structure and worms, and it is good exercise. It is harvest time so as the French say: Bone up on your appetite!

  5. I’m the family rebel. Never been big into gardening, although our new house came with a garden plot. We have 2 zucchini trying to beat the first killer frost. :-)

      • Sounds like a lot of work for 2 zucchini! I’ll put it on my ‘future’ idea list. :-) Fortunately for us, we have a son-in-law who plants more than they can use.

    • I’m a rebel too Terri. I’ve tried growing a few things in containers over the years, but it just doesn’t seem worth it. My saving grace is that I work in a department at MSU that does research on a lot of fruit and vegetable crops, so we get lots of free produce: strawberries, blueberries, grapes, apples, peaches, asparagus, carrots, onions, potatoes…I could go on and on. So there’s really no reason to grow a garden, at least until I retire!

  6. Pingback: Adios 2012! | Those (Expletive) Amos Boys

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