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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I have learned as a beginning gardener

President Kimball said:

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities."  ("Family Preparedness", Ensign, May 1976)

Knowing we have been asked by our prophets to have a garden, I planted my first one in 2009.  I am amazed by all the failures I have had in my 3 summers of gardening here in North Carolina.  Everything that could happen wrong, happened.

I planted the peas too late.  I planted the sweet potatoes too close to everything else.  The cucumbers and squash shriveled up and died.  I let the cantaloupe plants grow so much that they never produced fruit, just vines.  I stopped planting, when I should have kept gardening clear into September and October.

I let "volunteers" grow, and discovered that they were not worth eating.  They were probably grown from hybrid seeds.

I let one tall plant grow, trying to figure out which vegetable it was.  Finally my home teacher told me it was just a weed.

Yet, even in my gardening infancy, my four little square foot gardens still produced plenty of food to eat fresh.  I didn't ever have enough to can, but we ate carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, cantaloupe, green peppers, and radishes.  And now I know what the vegetables look like, and I know what is a weed and what isn't, and I have it written on the calendar in February to get the garden ready and to plant the seeds indoors.

Everything takes effort to learn, and I am so thankful I have learned even this small amount.

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