Monday, September 26, 2022
Sept. 26, 2022

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Gardening with Allen: Garden’s bounty calls for sharing


My vegetable garden is producing more than usual. I’m sharing with neighbors and family but I still have more I don’t want to go to waste. Where else can I take extra vegetables?

My garden is producing more also. I think the plants like this hot weather as long as they get plenty of water. This practice of sharing what I grow is something I have done my whole life.

I remember a healthy, hard working retired couple who lived in our neighborhood when I was a child. Mr. and Mrs. Zadena had a huge garden with all kinds of vegetables and small fruits. They planted right up to the sidewalk. The Zadenas treated all the children in the neighborhood like they were their own grandchildren. They invited us to taste all kinds of raw vegetables and fruits. They told us we could help ourselves to anything we wanted without asking.

There was a long row of currants, which I became fond of. I also acquired a taste for currant jam because of the jam the Zadenas shared with my family. That is where I also learned to like raw rhubarb. To this day I still like all kinds of tart things.

Even though the Zadenas canned large quantities of food from their garden, they always had plenty to share with neighbors. Their attitude of love and sharing seemed to affect the whole neighborhood and make it a nicer place to live.

No matter where I live, I have an irresistible urge to carry vegetables from my garden to my neighbors.

I learned later that most of the Zadenas’ extra fruits and vegetables went to two churches, which supplied food and meals for the indigent. We have churches and other organizations in our own area that do similar work.

The Garden Writers of America sponsors a program called “Plant a Row for the Hungry.” The basic idea of this program is to plant an extra row of some vegetable in your garden that you donate to an organization that operates a food program for the needy.

My wife has another way of sharing. She picks small bouquets of flowers from our garden and takes them to women who are sick, lonely or otherwise needing some attention.

The flowers are only a small part of her visits. She is a wonderful listener and is able to share life experiences that seem to inevitably make someone feel better.

Allen Wilson is a Vancouver gardening specialist.

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