About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Heaping Baskets

Three years ago John, my husband, asked me to produce "heaping baskets of vegetables!" I was declared the "administer of agriculture". However, it took me a while to give my husband what he desired.
I guess I don't really have a "green thumb". I garden with the same tone I forest, very hands off! But a garden, I have come to realize, is the opposite of a forest.
In a forest you want to insects, weeds, trees, and edible plants to all grow in harmony. Of course, much of the edible are eaten, shaded out, or never even sprout. And that is okay, because the forest will balance out if it is left alone. (Upon saying that I already can hear people saying, "what about invasive." But let me reiterate, "left alone," meaning from the beginning. There are very few wild places in the world that have not been tampered with and don't have invasive species, so leaving the forests alone is not possible in most cases. But back to gardening...)
In the past, when I have just drop some seeds in the ground and left it alone, I have been disappointed. Sure, the plants grew, just not very big. Those that did grow big were eaten alive and not by me. Some grew as a plant but never really made any fruits or roots. A garden needs structure, boundaries, and yes balance but a type of balances that yields food for my family. And this is hard for me because I don't want to kill anything, even the dandelions and beetles, but to put food in my basket I must.
This year I have being more aggressive, but still very organic. We tilled the soil, mulched around the plants, and watered them often. I even attacked the aphids with a natural method. I have also had a heavy hand on the hose, worrying less about "wasting water," especially in the hot weather! Because of all this my garden is growing and I have finally achieved a heaping bowel of vegetables!


  1. Oh boy, can I relate. I come from a place rich with topsoil where you can just simply plant and harvest. I've found the Ozarks to be much more labor-intensive. I think I finally have the garden thing figured out though, in the form of raised beds, lots of water, compost, and a fence to keep the critters out. I'm hopeful this year myself.

  2. I think that is the perfect mix Carol: raised beds, water, compost, and fencing. Also, mulch is HUGE help! It keeps moisture in, adds nutrients, and perverts weeds!