MY FARMER DAUGHTER: ANOTHER VIDEO

October 23, 2014 at 5:07 am Leave a comment

Bear with me as I play the role of ‘proud dad’, for I am.

Attached is another video about Lynn’s work on the farm.  I find it so interesting that this kid from Newark, New Jersey has raised a farmer.

http://nationswell.com/st-lukes-rodale-institute-farm-grows-produce-hospital/

I’ve also reposted a memoir piece of my childhood gardening experience.

You might say agriculture is in our roots. (Ha, Ha)

MEMOIR

 

 

GARDENING

I have always been amazed at the resilience of plants. There are those you can abuse and they come back stronger than ever. My small garden in Newark, New Jersey did not endure the harsh treatment I unknowingly subjected it to. But I enjoyed that patch of green and my small connection to nature.

Have you ever stopped for a red light while driving and gazed over at the concrete median and there, against all odds, growing through a tiny flaw in the concrete is a plant? I am amazed to see how life persists even under the most adverse conditions. As a child in Newark I simulated those exact conditions, although I called it gardening.

The yard we had on Christie Street was actually quite large. Large enough to have kickball and baseball games, but then again, we were quite small. Once I was older, we would have barbecues on our charcoal grill, summer nights spent sitting on beach chairs on the hard-packed soil, enjoying burgers and hot dogs as we listening to the sound of the city as night closed the day.

Next to our house was the landlord’s house, which was a small two story one family dwelling with and alley running between the two houses. Behind the landlord’s house was a garden, fenced in. On the opposite side of this small house was a driveway, which was actually quite long, and when I was old enough to shovel snow, it seemed to become longer still.

Our yard was large enough to hold a couple of cars, with some scraggly patches of grass growing defiantly, despite the conditions. To the rear of the yard was a three-car garage, one of which my father rented, and this was the reason I was given the opportunity to shovel the driveway. Next to the garages, and beyond the area of the yard where we were permitted to play, was another fenced area where the residents were not allowed. An old glider swing back there, but nothing much more. At the edge of this restricted area was another small fenced space, about six feet by six feet, sheltering a small garden belonging to the old woman across the hall. She had mostly zinnias and marigolds and it was a great place to catch whatever butterflies found their way into our yard. I admired her garden. She was always out there tending her flowers, pulling weeds, tying up plants with wooden stake and old stockings, the traditional way of supporting tall plants back then.

One day the fence bordering the back of the yard came down and that area of the yard was no longer restricted. I’m not sure why the fence came down. The glider swing came down about the same time. Now a whole new area of the yard was available, an area perfect for a garden. With our landlady’s permission, my sisters and I started construction

The ground was as hard as concrete; there was a total lack of anything that resembled topsoil. So off we went in the old Chevy for some rich loam. We traveled a short distance to where my grandparents lived in Hillside. There was a little-used park along a stream not far from their house, and that is where we headed for our soil. We parked as close as we could and, armed with a shovel and several large containers, started digging up the bank of the stream.

Once our topsoil was obtained, my sisters and I framed out small areas. We each had an area about twenty to twenty-five square feet backing up to the fence separating our yard from the neighbor’s yard. We made a feeble attempt to turn the soil before adding the topsoil, but the product of our digging was only reddish soil and rock, so we dumped our topsoil on top of our little garden areas and started planting.

I was rather ambitious when I planted my garden. I bought tomato and pepper plants, planted carrot, beet and parsley seeds all in neat little rows. These poor plants and seeds did less than thrive. I grew everything in miniature. My beefsteak tomatoes were more like their cherry cousins, the plants barely needing any support at all. My peppers were the size of plums. And my carrots – I grew those tiny carrots that they feature in seed catalogs, ones as big as your pinky, but I in fact was going for the full-sized edition. Why I attempted to grow root crops in concrete-like soil is a mystery to me now. But I was proud of my little garden. When my sisters lost interest, the size of my garden grew. I watered and weeded the few limp weeds that dare take up residence amongst my crops and generally enjoyed the little area of green I had created out back.

Then one summer it happened, a true sign that I had truly established a growing zone in Newark, I was infested with insects. The leaves on my plants were full of holes. This phenomenon amazes me to this day. How you can grow a plant that is unknown to the area, yet an insect that specifically attacks that plant will find and destroy it. And so it went for my little plot in Newark. I purchased a powder that I thought might remedy the situation, and after a heavy dusting that left my plants white under the strong mid afternoon sun I read the directions. This pesticide was to be applied lightly and only during the cool of the evening, always avoiding exposing the plants to this killer during the heat of the afternoon. By nightfall, my whole garden was withered and dead. I eliminated my insect infestation and in the process eliminated my garden.

The next year I planted again with a new knowledge of pesticide use. I branched out to flowers, planting some morning glories in a corner of the yard near my garden, another small square of the yard taken over for horticulture.

I have my own yard now, much larger than the yard of my youth. I enjoy my vegetable garden and the flowers planted around the property, but there are days when I think back to my little plot in Newark where I teased life from the concrete soil.

Entry filed under: memoir, OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS. Tags: , , , .

WHITE NOISE IN PUBLISHING ISAAC’S STORM BY ERIK LARSON

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