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Gardening - past and present

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1 Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:34 am

bethk

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When Dane and I moved back to Ohio from Florida in 1973 we rented an old farm house way out in the country.  Even though Dane had been raised in the suburbs, he worked at a truck farm tending the fields of vegetables from the time he was 14 until probably graduation from high school.  He's always loved to work the soil.  We asked our farmer landlord if we could grow a garden plot in the edge of the field adjacent to the back yard.  The first year the landlord was apprehensive because he had had previous renters who wanted a garden but then did not care for it and it ended up as a weed patch.  But he allowed us a tiny strip of his farm field.  By the end of the growing season he was so impressed with how well tended our little garden was he stopped to tell Dane to just stake out as big a plot as he wanted for the next year and it would be plowed and disked to prep it for planting.

I think Dane must have planted 10 long rows of green beans, red beets, Swiss chard, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  It was a lot of produce.  When the beans started producing he picked them by the bushel.  My mom, grandma and I spent an entire day snipping beans, blanching and freezing.  By the time Dane did the second picking he started pulling the plants out of the ground every other row because they were huge and we couldn't find enough friends to give the produce to.  

Our landlord had an entire field of pickle cucumbers planted next to us.  He said to go ahead and pick what I wanted to can pickles....OMG, the best bread and butter pickles and baby dill pickles EVER.  That was the year my grandma sent grandpa up to the attic to find all her canning jars, etc. and passed everything down to me.  I got her equipment AND her recipes.  I have to ask my DD (who now has the canning supplies) if she can find the recipe for grandma's relish...good stuff.

But my days of freezing and canning vegetables are over.  We just don't use enough and I won't have a freezer for storage.  So now we have plans to experiment with tiny space gardening.  I don't think it's a good idea to try to grow in soil in our villa because I don't want to attract bugs, so we are hoping to play around with hydroponic water gardening and maybe a few patio pots.  This is one of those things we enjoy doing together.  And the best part is, Dane likes to take care of the heavy and labor intensive stuff and I get to harvest and cook...what could be better?

2 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:58 am

jetfan27

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Wow Beth!! I would have stayed in that farm forever. We had two huge gardens at the college I worked at, plus a two twn acre orchards with apples, pears, peaches and plums. I was in seventh Heaven. We grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables for education and we sold the harvest at the campus store, which was for faculty and staff. We also sold the milk we produced and eggs and meats that we butchered. It was a wonderful time in my life. Now, I have a 25X8 garden that I let go to crap because the squirrels don't share well. Now, it takes me two seasons to get enough raspberries to make preserves and I missed the strawberry season here again.

Look for an older book called SQUARE FOOT GARDENING by Mel Bartholomew. It's from the late 70's or early 80's, but designed for gardeners that don't have a lot of land. He shows how to plant, what to plant and gives you spacings and compatability ideas. I think it would be right up your alley.

3 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:00 am

Barbara101

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I miss you JetF.. 

4 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:14 am

jetfan27

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I miss you guys, too. I'm off today and had a few minutes. I haven't really been on the computer too much since my Dad passed. Just don't do much socializing any more. Sorry about that.

5 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:24 am

bethk

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Jetfan! So good to see you. Please take a few minutes to get us caught up on your family. I've thought of you so often in the last couple months.

I'm concerned about doing soil type gardening at the villa, more hiding places for insects and I don't want to be the one person in the neighbourhood who is the cause of problems. That's why we're playing with the idea of hydroponic/water gardening. The set up is interesting, just plastic piping and a circulating pump. There are kits that can be purchased but Dane is interested enough to design his own. In a close town there is a supply house that sells the water conditioning/fertilizing liquids as well as the planting pods.

Pea has moved to a new home and has some really beautiful raised planting beds. It's fun at this age to play around with different growing systems.

As for your garden, it might be fun to accept the rotten squirrel problem with a chicken wire enclosure, four sides and a top to foil those nasty rodents! The first year we tried to grow strawberries the squirrels harvested about 2 days prior to when we intended. The next year Dane wrapped and covered the strawberry bed with chicken wire. The squirrels were foiled!!! Alas, the chipmunks tunnelled under the wire and ate every one of the berries and ate half the plants.

That's when I decided to just buy any strawberries I wanted.

6 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:14 am

jetfan27

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Not too much to tell, Beth. Mom is hanging in there. She really misses Dad. 63 years is a long time with someone and then to watch them deteriorate into nothing is very hard to see. We're trying to get her to visit us. We are also in the process of selling the house. We will probably move to California to be closer to my wife's family. We would love to move back to LI but just can't afford it. Looking at some senior trailer parks. They look real nice and this place is just getting too much for us to maintain. Very steep back yard, huge oak trees and a **itload of raking in the fall. Just getting too old. That's about it from Tennessee. So happy to see you are settling in in Fla.
Well, off I go to change out a bathroom sink. Even our days off, we're not off.

7 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:20 am

Barbara101

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boy I sure did not like CA at all.Even tho I loved being by DS.I was so happy to move back to western NC.

I REALLY want to move from SC so bad.I just can not decide on a place to move too.I do not like cold or snow. not Az, to hot. al tho the price to live there is  nice.Not Fla. sorry been there done that.

so I keep looking.....Crying or Very sad

8 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:36 am

bethk

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When you have the opportunity to retire, Jetfan, jump at it. It's the best thing since sliced bread....

I went through a period of depression when the business I worked at went bankrupt and I was out of a job. There was nothing available except very low income and doing menial work no one wants to do. But then I was of an age I could go from "unemployed" to "RETIRED". And, surprisingly, we can live on a lot less $$ than originally thought. At least we're doing just fine for the foreseeable future. I just made up my mind to stop worrying about the "what ifs".

Your mom had a very long life with your dad, and much longer than most. She may have times of missing him but we cannot change what is. Hopefully she can adjust easily. You can write down some memories about times with your dad and it might help with missing him when he was younger. My dad was in his early 50's when he passed and I grieved for the times my girls would miss having him as their Grandpa. My mom was a healthy and active 79 yr. old when she subcomed to the idea of having cancer....long story, but it took her only two months to go from working (babysitting) to being buried.

But take some time for you and your wife...and the pupper! There is the best yet to come!

9 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:44 am

bethk

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Barbara101 wrote:boy I sure did not like CA at all.Even tho I loved being by DS.I was so happy to move back to western NC.

I REALLY want to move from SC so bad.I just can not decide on a place to move too.I do not like cold or snow. not Az, to hot. al tho the price to live there is  nice.Not Fla. sorry been there done that.

so I keep looking.....Crying or Very sad
You always talk about NC as being your favorite of all time.

Why not explore that area again?

10 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:07 am

bethk

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I just did a BING search and saw an article where Asheville, NC is the #1 retirement area now in the country. It sure is pretty there, that's for sure. You could probably sneak into a room at the Biltmore mansion and live in a couple rooms and not even be noticed.....

11 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:16 am

jetfan27

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Yeah Barb, I'm 50/50 with the West Coast, but my wife has her heart set on being with two out of her 6 grand kids and I'm a lump of clay and can adapt to anyplace I go. And we miss our families so much. We don't want to spend another Holiday away from them. And I can't get off because it is our biggest time of the year and I will be doing all the overnight baking, because no one else can. I know I should tell them all to shit in a hat, but I'm not like that. I wish we could move back to LI, but it is too expensive and we don't have quite enough money to retire. I think I'll be working until I drop dead. Believe it or not, California is within our budget. And these trailers are quite nice inside and the parks seem to be kept up nicely. But we have to sell our house first and it isn't easy. These people want us to almost give the house to them and probably help them move in! We put a lot of money into here and we aren't going to give it away. Someone will come along and love it as much as we did.

12 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:33 pm

bethk

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I will say, Jetfan, downsizing to an 1,100 sq. ft. home with new to us furniture was liberating.  Instead of looking at it as all the things we won't have, as Dane complained about for a while, it was more my own little "happy dance" to be rid of so much stuff.  Our possessions will be sold at auction in a couple weeks and I can't wait.  At first Dane didn't want to deal with how little we will receive for a lifetime of possessions.  I'm looking at it as we got our money's worth out of everything in the last 45 years so whatever $$ our stuff sells for is like an investment that is finally paying off.  And slowly but surely, Dane is seeing my point.  

We have a grand adventure ahead of us and its time that we get to do what we like to do instead of what we have to do.

  (Dane)   (Me)

13 Re: Gardening - past and present on Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:51 pm

Crybaby

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jetfan27 wrote:I miss you guys, too. I'm off today and had a few minutes. I haven't really been on the computer too much since my Dad passed. Just don't do much socializing any more. Sorry about that.
So sorry to hear about your Dad, Jetfan, as I didn't know he passed away. Just know that you were a good son, especially at the end when you were needed so much.

Again, so sorry!
--Michelle

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