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Your story HERE...

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Miss Mousie on 5/8/2011, 6:44 pm

I grew up in Southern California in a little town which pet named itself "Horsetown U.S.A". My dad was a contractor and built our house on about a 1/2 acre. Not a lot of land but enough. He did all of the landscaping himself (I think - I was 4 going on 5 years old when we moved in). In one part of the yard he created a fabulous row garden with swiss chard, corn, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes and I don't know what else. There was a huge raised bed for strawberries that was about 5"X12" (of course I'm remember it from my child hood it could have been 4"X 8" for all I know). I remember there were two huge artichoke plants at the back and he planted 6 or 8 fruit trees. I don't know where his need to garden came from, maybe it was growing up poor and moving around, never landing one place for too long, that made him feel the need to plant this huge garden to feed his family. Funny but I don't remember ever eating anything from that garden. I don't know if a lack of interest on my moms and my part discouraged him or what but I do remember making mud pies with bits of cherry tomatoes thrown in and the largest zucchini I've ever seen 5" around and 12" long......I don't think the garden was replanted the next year in fact it may have been left to die that very season, but for awhile a few things lingered like the tomatoes and strawberries and the artichokes. Pretty soon the fruit trees died too. We also had chickens and fresh eggs for a while. That lasted longer than I remember the garden lasting. We raised a heifer for meat but my dad said that I overfed it grain and that it was so fatty you couldn't hardly eat it. I don't remember I was just a kid, my main focus was playing Barbies........My parents divorced when I was 11 going on 12 and we moved to the next town over and didn't have the room or inclination to garden or even mow the little yard.

I didn't really get interested in growing things until my husband and I moved into our first "house" a single wide mobile home near where we live now (which is in the foothill of the Sierras). We mostly planted flowers and Iris and we had a pink dogwood tree which finally kicked the bucket when we moved to our current house. We bought an old ranch style house built in the 50's which sits on 6 acres.......we actually fell in love with the land not the house. It was beautiful in the spring, there were established things growing like lilacs and a few Iris and wisteria. We went crazy buying plants and flowers for the yard......until the deer figured out that we were a new source of food. Our house had stood empty for a couple of years and the deer roamed freely on our property eating whatever they wanted. After a couple of years of providing tasty treats for these lovely creatures and being forced to build chicken wire "pens" for the plants......we gave up trying to landscape or anything. We tried on several occasions to beatify our property and if it wasn't the deer it was gophers. We finally managed to plant daffodils and that was about it.

So now it's been 16 years since we moved in and I am finally planting a garden. I had found Mel's first book years ago and read it and dreamed of planting a garden but we just never did it. But a couple of years ago we started trying to eat better....organic produce, grass fed beef etc. and it seemed like the next step was to grow our own produce. I bought Mel's new book and found this forum and started thinking "I can do that". Last summer we built a 24" X 24" cage out of chicken wire and 2X4's. It's completely enclosed except the top. So nothing can get in from the bottom or sides. That and building 2 4X4 boxes took all summer so I missed the Spring planting season but managed to get some things planted last summer. I've learned a few things and some of my stuff wintered over like the Swiss Chard and some lettuce seeds I planted in the fall and all of my herbs except the basil. This year we are going to build a 4X8 box and plant zucchini and tomatoes and who knows what else. I'm so excited about this and I just keep thinking about my dad and his garden and how he probably wished we'd taken and interest in it and we didn't and he just let it die (he's passed away now). So this garden is as much for him as it is for my husband and me. I hope you see my Swiss Chard Dad, and I'm growing artichokes too.

Garden cage with both gates open

Tommy (our cat) inspecting the Swiss Chard and lettuce
Miss Mousie

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I heart dirt

Post  ModernDayBetty on 5/11/2011, 12:11 am

My story....

My mom had gardens almost every year when I was young. She got my dad to till it up, she would add new top soil, plant a bunch of stuff.... then get bored and I never say anything other than beans and pea's from it.... Fast forward many many years later.

I spent far too long in college trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I graduated with a pointless degree and was just as lost. I finally decided I wanted to be a teacher. I'm passionate about it and know this is what I have been looking for all my life. But I live in a state that is laying off teachers left and right. After getting my masters in teaching last year I have had trouble finding a job. Currently I sub.

Feeling like I need to have my life in order I've been depressed and looking for something to fill in the void in my life. I've gone through a few hobbies and nothing captured me. Last year I tried gardening and only had a small success, tomatoes! But throughout the winter I couldn't stop thinking about it, those tomatoes where amazing. It took me months into winter before I would even try to eat a grocery store tomato. I decided this year I would be successful and happy. So I researched and research, and read and read. I'm hooked. I think gardening just might be saving my life.

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  middlemamma on 5/11/2011, 1:28 am

krazikandiland wrote:I spent far too long in college trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I want desperately to go back to school, but I keep getting hung up on this part...How am I 33 and still don't know what I wanna be when I grow up? Nice to know I am not the only one. Happy for you that you figured it out! I live 5 miles from the Washington state line, and I have a few friends that are teachers that have recieved their lay off paperwork. Hang in there!

krazikandiland wrote: I think gardening just might be saving my life.

You are not alone here...I know it saved mine. Smile

Thanks for sharing everyone!

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  middlemamma on 5/11/2011, 1:35 am

@pwjan wrote:
His dad was a darn tender in VT and this boy's backyard was a vast piece of land overlooking the darn.

Oh, boy, I must have been tired when I wrote this. It should say that his dad was a dam tender and the vast piece of land overlooked the dam. I spelled it wrong and it got changed to "darn". LOL. My apologies. Embarassed

I was wondering what a darn was....google didn't turn much up but I was afraid to ask! LOL

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  boffer on 5/11/2011, 1:43 am


midmam had to much fun with the auto-censor! I couldn't figure out what a darn was either!

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  middlemamma on 5/11/2011, 1:51 am


Jeeze Louise!

Oh boy... yes the forum is censored so if a person types in D-A-M-N (no hyphens) it will replace it with darn!

Boffer I didn't even realize that was the problem...good grief. Oye Vay.... Rolling Eyes

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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Barkie on 5/11/2011, 4:05 am

ROFLOL at myself. I'm getting used to seeing words that describe familiar garden objects which have a different name in the Uk so I assumed a "darn" was just another of those things that you guys knew all about Laughing Laughing Laughing


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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  Kelejan on 5/11/2011, 10:50 am

My story started in southern England when I was four years old and my foster-dad used to take me on the crossbar of his bike (it had a little saddle fitted) down to his allotment about a mile from where we lived. On the way we would call in to his father's home, and I was fascinated by rows of Scarlet Runner Beans supported by a permanent fixture of piping. It was like having my own little house surrounded by all this greenery, and I remember the hundreds of beans hanging down waiting to be picked. This was during wartime and it really was Dig for Victory.

At the allotment, I had a great time playing in the dirt and "gardening". By that time WWII was in full swing, and so I was shifted to our live-in school to be with five hundred other of my kind. Stayed there nine years then was lucky enough to go back to the same family who had moved down the road to a home that had been bombed flat and there was a huge garden. So I helped my dad for a year or so until I got interested in boys.

Fast foward many years, and my husband and I bought this little house so I started flower gardening which brought us both a lot of pleasure. It was what kept me sane while he was ill. Everyone went to pot when he left, overgrown with weeds and grass etc. Then after eight years I decided to take it back and picked up this book which turned out to be SFG 1981 which Bill had bought for me at a garage sale for 50 cents. As I said on another thread, the best half-dollar he has ever spent on me. (No, he was never mean, lol).

So now I have two SFG 4x4 beds full up and another on its way. Plus several more boxes I have made but cannot yet afford the MM to fill. But the empty squares are being utilized for compost so are not wasted.

In addition I have found this lovely group of people. In spite of what people say about the Internet being used for porn etc., this is one of the delights of being able to get in touch with like-minded people who care about humanity and other creatures.


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Re: Your story HERE...

Post  madnicmom on 5/11/2011, 6:16 pm

I, like many others, grew up with row gardening. My grandparents garden was huge. My dad's garden was just a little smaller than grandpa's. I remember mom and grandma canning everything from tomatoes/beets/peppers ( funny story, after many years of canning peppers, mom got burnt from all the capsacin in the peppers, I never knew fingers could swell that big! we all laugh about it now but not back then) , hearing mom scream when she went to get tomatoes and seen a snake, she then went to the other end of the row and seen another snake, getting dad's radishes/green onions for dinner, harvesting pototoes and planting onion sets.

I really never thought about gardening until 3 yrs ago. We borrowed dad's rearend rototiller and did tomotoes/peppers/green beans. We had great luck with all of it. I purchased a water bath canner and canned 7 quarts of green beans, ( i know, I shouldn't of used the water bather but that is a whole other discussion)

I wanted to expand but with the soil being mostly clay and rocks I wasn't too happy. I had heard of raised bed gardens and started my search. I purchased Mels book and glanced over it and did one 4x4 last year. We was successful with tomatoes but not the green beans.

I have re-read the book, found out I used too much peat and no vermiculite and not enough compost varieties.

I have since added 6 more beds, gotten the correct ingredients and even planted a spring garden for the first time ever. The peas are not going to make it but the cabbage/broccoli are a huge success.

Other gardening things I'm learning/doing: composting, vermicomposting, started from seeds.

My biggest regret is NOT paying closer attention to gardening when I was a kid, My dad is about to turn his phone off if I call with one more question! rofl not really but he has said " why didn't you do all this when I had my garden? "

Last thing: he is still a row gardener but he did make a 4x4 and I made some MM for him, just to compare. lol!

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