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Homegrown Goodness

My family always had a huge garden while I was growing up. We grew almost every vegetable imaginable except for beets. Mom left those to my aunt who always had a bumper beet crop. No one pickles beets like my aunt. Anyway, my parents, sister, and I all worked in the garden because we all ate. Mom used to motivate us with the story of The Little Red Hen. It all goes back to reaping what we sow.

My family was a working class family, and we didn’t have much money to spend at the grocery store. Our garden was as much about survival as it was about the desire for freshness. My dad hunted for our meat, and my mom planted our vegetables. That left us only needing to purchase things like bread, milk, and cleaning products.

I grow a small garden in my back yard. It’s not nearly the size of the one my family had when I was a kid, but I’m a busy woman and can only take care of so much. I usually grow a combination of tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeños, peppermint, stevia, asparagus, and basil. Not all of those plants will fit in my garden space at once, so I purchase the plants that look the healthiest if I don’t grow them from seed.

I also have two cherry trees, which usually produce enough fruit to make at least a couple batches of jam each year. My cherry trees are both doing well despite our multiple late freezes. I anticipate them being ready for jam making by mid-June. The tree in the front yard doesn’t have a whole lot of fruit this year, but the one in the back yard is loaded with soon-to-be deep red goodness.

I worked up my garden with a manual tiller on Sunday. I’ve only planted tomatoes so far. I started the tomato seeds inside a couple months ago. I hope they survive the transition from my study to the garden. Asparagus is a perennial, so I don’t need to plant it again as it returns every year. I plan to round out my garden space by purchasing cucumber, basil, and sweet pepper plants within the next few days. I have a jalapeño connection, so I won’t be planting those this year.

I have a deep sense of satisfaction when I grow something, harvest it, and then preserve it. There is nothing as sweet as eating something that I plucked from the plant myself. It brings joy to my heart to present a jar of something I made from food that I grew myself as a gift to someone. I love nothing more than to put a meal on the table made from my homegrown fruit and veggies paired with fresh venison from my husband’s hunt.

My husband and I plan to move to a larger piece of property in a few years where we can grow more of our own food and perhaps have some livestock for eggs, milk, and meat. I like knowing where my food originates, and things always tastes better when they’re harvested at the peak of ripeness and eaten fresh.

If you are unable to grow your own vegetables or fruits, I encourage you to visit your local farmers’ market. I think you’ll see a real difference in the flavor and quality between what you find there and what you find on your grocery store shelves. Freshness is the key to deliciousness. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you have enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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