I'm grateful because...
Well, it started with my mother: when I was 8, she taught me how to turn over the soil with a shovel, how to sow seeds, how to break a little branch off a shrub and stake it over newly transplanted starts to lessen the brunt of the sun, how to thin carrots, stake tomatoes, dig potatoes, and crop collard greens. By and large, the basics, I learned from her. Without the fertile soil of those fundamentals nurturing my journey as a gardener and these days as an itinerant urban farmer I wouldn't have had those early seasons of (relative) success. I wouldn't have hung up my sign as they say, and I surely wouldn't have made these how-to videos with the FL Department of Agriculture in order to freely share those basic gardening skills with the state's children.
I am Man in Overalls in no small part due to the many agricultural teachers I've had through the years. I am able to support folks like yourself in growing food for self and neighbor only because I was, am, and will be supported by countless folks who know things about growing food that I don't. I have a lot of educators to be thankful for:
Overalls Farm. Because of him, I just don't buy the "gardens are always messy" line. It's entirely possible to have a beautiful and bountiful garden! It is also, arguably, due to my father's patience with my daily garden tours throughout much of my elementary school career that I was able to cultivate a keen observation sense that allows me to assess plant health in passing without much thought.
When I was 10, I visited my aunt in San Antonio. Having found a (mostly) red tomato in her garden, I picked it. "Ummm..." she said when I handed it to her. She explained she was waiting for them to ripen completely before picking. That afternoon, she plucked another, fully ripe, warm in the afternoon sun, sliced and salted it for us to eat immediately, and so I learned the real & utmost flavor of a homegrown tomato.
kept our people fed during "Hoover's Time" (otherwise known as the Great Depression) and about blanching greens and deep freezers and the almanac and planting by the moon - though I can't say I've really ever done it.
|Johnny Jump Ups (edible)|
|Warren Wilson College Garden Cabin|
Peter taught me about boiling ghost peppers and spraying the water around the garden as a deterrent against squirrels - and cats.
Brandy and Ted, former owners of Just Fruits and Exotics taught me about all manner of edible fruit, nut, and berries that grow here in north Florida- also: about how to install a micro irrigation systems.
Last fall, I had the opportunity to team up here in Jacksonville with Tim Armstrong of Eat Your Yard Jax for a consultation, and I picked up tidbits about the anti-cancer properties of loquat leaves and a ginger plant that makes a natural shampoo.
|Learning in the shadow of Growing Power's Will Allen|
It's endless. I've got so many folks to thank, so many incredible teachers who know what they know and have willingly shared, piece by piece, lesson by lesson, season by season - growing me into the itinerant urban farmer I've become. Frequently, I learn some of the most helpful tips from folks who would consider themselves unlikely experts.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So, let's just say I'm grateful because... I've "not-never" had to grow it alone.
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If you want to start growing your groceries, but you're not sure how; the first step is selecting a good spot for your garden. Sign up just below to receive my updates and I'll give you a copy of my "How to Pick a Great Garden Spot" resource.
Growing forward, if you think I might offer the support you're looking for to help you grow your groceries - especially if you're dreaming in the direction of a raised bed kitchen garden - don't hesitate to email, text, or call me by any means available (listed below in my signature).
Nathan Ballentine (Man in Overalls)
Itinerant Urban Farmer, Entrepreneur, Educator, Community Organizer
Growing in Jacksonville, FL. Connecting Globally.
Email Man In Overalls at Gmail dot com
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