Garden Work to the Rescue

Description

Building a post work life took years, but this March that life disappeared seemingly overnight. My upheaval paled in comparison to health threats and loss of life, but the prospect of losing purpose was the scariest part those early Covid days.

No more classroom time reading and playing with small ones at the elementary school; no more Sundays at the Smithsonian, helping visitors find Dorothy's slippers, the Hope Diamond or the Lunar Lander. No more diversions on Netflix. And no plan B.

Fortunately, I have a sister- one who leads by nature and delegates with aplomb. She definitely has a plan, one she's been chipping away at for years. It's simple: grow vegetables, feed people. On raised beds and ground plots; on bamboo trellises and in screened-in cages; in her yard, in mine, in a neighbor's and at a friend's. Tomatoes and kale, peppers and beets, eggplant and squash. The list is long. She likens these green patches to wartime Victory Gardens. They provide for family, friends, and those in need.

Her plan is detailed but flexible: it would easily accommodate my free time. From late winter to late fall, my marching orders arrived daily: weed, mulch, water; harvest, clean, deliver. Rest, repeat.

In August, donations to local food banks topped 1,000 pounds. By December, the total exceeded 2,500, with a few late crops still trickling in. My sister would have done much of this without me. I could have done none of it without her.

As 2020 draws to a close, I'm especially thankful for her and her fertile plots of earth; they provided food for many and gave me purpose when I feared I'd have none. 

Story contributed by Leslie M. 

Photos Show

Garden trellis for vegetable garden.

Garden trellis for vegetable garden.

Fresh vegetables ready for distribution

Fresh vegetables ready for distribution

Carrot ready to be picked from garden.

Carrot ready to be picked from garden.

Peppers in a box.

Peppers in a box.

Tomato plants in containers ready for planting.

Tomato plants in containers ready for planting.

Eggplant from the vegetable garden.

Eggplant from the vegetable garden.

Colorful peppers from vegetable garden.

Colorful peppers from vegetable garden.

Boxes of vegetables ready for distribution.

Boxes of vegetables ready for distribution.

Cite this Page

“Garden Work to the Rescue,” Community of Gardens, accessed January 25, 2021, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12417.​
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