Monday, July 9, 2012

Yesterday's Harvest

Growing a vegetable garden is something I have always enjoyed, and I am sure that the influence of both of my grandfathers is the reason why. As a little boy, I remember "helping" in the garden during the summer, although looking back I'm not too sure how much help a 6 or 7 year old boy following along and asking all kinds of questions really was.

Both of my grandfathers had large gardens every year, and I can remember my grandmothers canning and freezing all summer long. As a child, I had no idea just how much time and effort went in to growing and preserving all those fruits and vegetables, I just knew even at that age that it was so much better tasting than the food that came from the grocery store! As time went on, I lost both of my grandfathers and their garden spots were no longer plowed and planted. I stayed interested in agriculture, going on to major in agricultural education at Clemson University, and started a career as an agriculture teacher.

Then, two years ago, after we got married my wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to live in my maternal grandparents' house, which we now own. One of the first things that I did was to plow up Pop's (my grandfather) old garden spot and plant a garden of my own. The first year we had a garden didn't turn out too well, mainly because we went on our honeymoon right around harvest time and the garden was neglected due to the excitement of wedding preparations and honeymooning.

The following summer we decided to give the garden another try. This time I planned ahead and ordered a drip irrigation system to help combat one of the major problems we had with our first garden - not enough water and no way to provide water. Last year's garden turned out much better than the first attempt, and I got an entirely new education in canning and freezing produce. I had watched my grandparents do this as a young boy, but I had never experienced this myself. One advantage to being a school teacher is having the summer off, but I never imagined I would be working all summer canning beans and freezing corn!

This year we again planted a garden, and we have just finished canning green beans. Yesterday we picked and shucked the first batch of corn, and I probably should be working on freezing it right now instead of writing a blog post about it. We also got tomatoes, squash, zucchini, a few lima beans, jalapeno, banana, bell, and cayenne peppers, and cucumbers yesterday.

Yesterday's harvest

I often think about Pop and the influence he had on me as a child. Many times when I'm working in the garden and look up I expect Pop to be standing there just down the row, in his straw hat and coveralls that he always wore in the garden. I know that he's looking down on us now, working the same garden plot that he had, and smiling. I think gardening, like hunting and fishing, is something that gets into your blood. I just hope that yesterday's harvest is only the beginning of many more to come.

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph

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