Gardening Nostalgia from Rural Iowa

The following article is brief memoir written via my father, Roger Duncan. These are some of his youth memories of rural Iowa and circle of relatives gardening:

I grew up in the 1950’s in an economically depressed region in rural Iowa. We lived on a farm, and my dad and mom grew plenty of our food themselves. Though I did not comprehend it or appreciate it on the time, I know now that we had our own form of wealth, and this is the wealth that comes from residing independently while not having to depend upon others to make your way of life possible.

Each 12 months in February, my father could build what he and my mom referred to as a “hot field” simply outdoor our kitchen. Mom’s hot container was a square lean-to constructed at the south aspect of the summer kitchen. My father constructed it the usage of barn planks for the 3 sides and a few antique hurricane windows for the roof. These windows had been set on at an angle, forming an approximate forty degree slope downward that faced south. Dad had decided that this became the best angle to create a greenhouse effect and protect seedling plant life from the factors, permitting us to start our seeds in February. Hot boxes like this are once in a while also known as bloodless frames.

In past due January, Mom might get a seed catalog in the mail. She could spend hours making plans out her lawn and figuring out precisely what seeds she had to order. Ordering seeds with the aid of mail was extra cost-effective than going to the neighborhood nursery, and plenty more cost-efficient than shopping for seedling plants.

In mid February, a package could arrive within the mail provider’s jeep with all the seeds for the yr’s garden, which became definitely in Mom’s price. As a infant, I in no way notion plenty approximately my Mother’s making plans skills, but looking returned, I am inspired that she turned into in a position to devise and lift a lawn that fed 4 humans: me, my sister, and each dad and mom. Not most effective did this garden serve all our vegetable wishes throughout the summer, however it also produced sufficient food for us to can and save so that we might have greens to final us at some stage in the winter months and till the subsequent spring.

Some of the vegetables Mom grew blanketed corn, inexperienced beans, butter beans, beets, tomatoes, and potatoes. We stored our potatoes in a big potato bin, and this served all our wishes till the following yr. By March of the upcoming year, among the vintage potatoes had been withered and starting to sprout from the eyes. Dad and Mom might carefully reduce some of those potatoes to plant within the lawn for next season’s potato crop, but some other manner that they stored cash with the aid of the use of what we had.

As a toddler, I might spend hours watching Mom plant and nurture lettuce, every other one of the many vegetation she grew. Lettuce changed into always geared up to start harvesting and ingesting as early as March. After all the lettuce turned into out of the recent field, Mom could start the sweet potato vegetation, which could get transplanted to the main lawn in June along with the cabbage and other vegetation

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