OK, this gives you a clear picture of my garden and, as an added bonus, you get to meet my pup, Pearl. Yes, she’s a Pitbull, no, she isn’t dangerous. In fact, she’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen unless you’re a male dog (she’s a rescue from a puppy mill and was a breeder, but that’s a tale for another time). I’m gardening while gray, but I have to say, I didn’t wait to go gray.
As you can probably see, I crammed in as many vegetable plants as would physically fit into my small raised bed–I just moved into the house in May, so give me a little time and the garden plot will grow. I’m not sure my planting style meets with gardening standards, but I’m greedy enough to try anything for a vast bounty of fresh veggies. I figure if I give the garden some extra water and fertilizer, I’ll be OK. It’s worked in the past, so heck, give it a whirl.
Gardening while gray
I have a confession, I’m a 3rd generation gardener, at least that’s as far back as I can attest to. I grew up with stories of my great-grandparents who owned a vineyard back in the old country, Greece, and my mother’s family were farmers who trace their lineage back to Danial Boone. So, my obsession with gardening is something I’ve had since I could walk. In fact, there are pictures of me on a horse with my cousins on their farm. From the picture, it looks like I wasn’t even old enough to walk and, if I find the pic, I’ll share it with you.
My cousin and I used to go outside in the summer when I visited the farm for a week, and pick tomatoes off the vines. We’d stand their pouring salt and pepper on the warm fruit, and there’s still a strong debate over whether a tomato is a fruit or veggie, and eat them with the juice running down our chins until we had our fill.
My dad always had a large garden where he fed mostly the neighborhood deer and other wild animals, but we usually got a few tomatoes and maybe some beans for the table. And, my grandfather raised veggies in the backyard of his home outside Pittsburgh, where the food sustained the family through the depths of the depression (along with some baby chicks raised in the basement. Until he died, my dad refused to eat chicken).
Being a girl, I never did much with the garden but started one of my own as soon as I had my own place.
Women and gardening
My daughter is a history teacher and she knows women always did the gardening. While the men took care of planting a cash crop, women grew kitchen gardens to feed the family. The also handed down recipes for how to turn excess produce into great soups, pies, and other good things to eat now or preserved them for times when you couldn’t get fresh veggies from the garden.
But, in my lifetime, women didn’t really do anything in the garden. They tended the roses and such.
My landscaping looks great, mostly because the previous owners did a great job. I mainly tend veggies and roses. I guess I’ll have to deal with the other landscaping in the spring.
The rise of women gardeners
Victory gardens were popular during WWII, at least that’s what I learned in school — I’m not that old! The pandemic seems to bring out the gardener in lots of folks. Maybe they just don’t have anything else to do or maybe they’re gardening while gray to avoid the grocery store and the virus.
Even before the pandemic, women left their corporate jobs to start farms. And, unlike Victory Gardens or my little kitchen garden, they’re doing it big-time — commercial farms. Who knows why the trend started. Maybe women just got tired of being bossed around and passed over for promotion. Maybe they figured they knew the secret to make a small plot of land payoff, like growing high-value produce, like berries, rather than corn that sells for less than a buck in season.
OK, enough for today.
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See you back here soon.