Living Off the Land

For the majority of us, there’s not a lot of time spent pondering where our food comes from. It could be right down the road, or flown in from South America. That is, unless you’re the type of person who grows it right in their own back yard.

Co-Op Specialist Laura Dobbs has tapped her agrarian side to cultivate a backyard collection of southern vegetables. In the article below, written by Dobbs, she shares the story of this newly-awakened hobby.


Cultivating a Fresh Start: By Laura Dobbs

My family has had a garden plot behind the house for long time. It’s been fallow in recent years. No time, no energy, no interest.

This year, we’re back with a vengeance. It’s taking some additional work to get everything prepared. We’ve had to bring in garden soil, compost, and fertilizer. By the time we do this again next year, it will be much easier. We’re starting our own compost pile and will keep the soil conditioned.

The pictures don’t look like much, but there are four rows of bush beans and four different types of heirloom tomatoes. We’re germinating okra and will transplant seedlings soon. We’re also prepping containers to plant squash.

Towards the end of summer, when the beans have finished producing, we plan to plant collards. We’re not sure what else we’ll plant (Possibly cabbage? Butternut squash? Maybe turnips so that Mom can have turnip greens?) but we plan to keep it going.

My mother has spearheaded this effort. She’s so passionate about it. Much of what she knows, she learned from my grandfather (her father-in-law), who was an avid gardener and could grow just about anything. He fed his family, and his neighbors, all from whatever minuscule plot of land was attached to his parsonage.

What Mom doesn’t know, she fills in with homesteading blogs and YouTube channels. My sister and I provide labor.

Mom has even inspired our next-door neighbor to do the same! His approach is a bit different, but he takes his cues from her and comes to her for advice.

Pretty soon, we’ll be shelling peas on the couch while we watch a movie. We’ll can tomatoes. We’ll cut, pack, and freeze okra. She hasn’t said how she wants to preserve the squash, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

It’s a lot of work, and it’s not easy. But, when the time comes, we’ll savor every bite.

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