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I enjoy planting and growing a vegetable garden. My parents always did, and provided fresh, delicious food and saved a bunch of money.
As children, my brother and I were put to work on the garden to learn a little about what work was all about. It involved weeding and hoeing around the plants in the hot sun, but I realize now that it was good for us.
Some of the “good old days” were back when it was the usual thing for people to have enough fertile ground around or near their homes for space to grow a nice-sized garden. I feel sorry for all the people who have little or no space to grow some of their own food. Children growing up in the country and on farms gained skills and an understanding of life which city kids do not have.
I also feel sorry for all the children who have little or no exposure to farm life, to wide open spaces, or adults who are able to teach them about the world around them. How many children have any understanding of where milk comes from? For that matter, how many people in general, including myself, know or appreciate the origin of most of our food?
Raising a garden starts with planning what you want to grow. The seed catalogs show so many delightful possibilities. They always display the best, thus creating hope and desire to have plants and fruit that look equally great. Planting the seeds is the easy and fun part. The little plants breaking through the soil nourish your hope.
As the plants begin to flourish, the darn weeds also appear. It seems that they grow faster than what you planted.
As the weeds flourish, the temperature climbs and the mosquitos arrive. That is when enthusiasm starts to wane. The day you are able to pick your first lettuce and radishes, your enthusiasm has a sudden burst of energy, but more weeds are soon to follow. From then on, until you are able to harvest the delicious tomatoes, the greens, the onions, the pole beans, the squash and all the other good vegetables, it is a battle.
If the rain does not come on time, one has to keep up the watering. But the whole experience is rewarding. Life was not intended to be without challenges and hard work. We have not been promised roses without thorns nor life without risks.
Ruth Justice Moorer is a resident of Las Cruces since 1996. She is a former public-school science teacher and United Methodist pastor.