The Revival of the Family Garden


Tobias WhitakerOur family owns a modest home in a small rural community. We possess 1/16th of an acre and every inch of soil is precious to us. Day-to-day life can be tough in our community. It is a dinosaur in some sense of the word, a blue-collar factory town. Opportunity is rare in the form of corporate commodity, but in Sidney, New York, families are creating their own opportunities simply by digging in the rich soil found in their own backyards.


sunflower and bee
Bee hard at work in our sunflower patch. Pollinators are an integral part of our garden plan.

Our family, in many ways, is similar to most people in that we live paycheck to paycheck, and we have to get downright creative to put healthy meals on the table. We are also a bit different from the general populace in that our family of five, soon to be six, homeschools and, by doing so, we basically survive in a two-income world on one income. 

My three oldest children
My three oldest children hard at work in the squash patch.

This brings me to our family gardens. People garden for any number of reasons. Some people tend a plot of land for health and recreation. Others pick up a shovel and spade to develop or strengthen their connection to the Earth. Self-sufficiency and economics are two more of the countless reasons families create gardens. One of the motivations for our gardening efforts is that we are simply trying to put food on the table.

1/24/2015 5:38:42 PM

Tobias, welcome to the GRIT blogging community. You have a really good looking family and lots of great ideas to take care of them. That's really great looking garlic. I haven't really tried to grow garlic but I probably should. My efforts go into things that I can give away. The best give away vegetables are, of course, tomatoes, green peppers, green beans, and cucumbers. My goal is not really to live on what I grow but to give most of it away. I do keep some for me but the bulk goes to others. I just like to grow things and experiment with different growing techniques. This year the new technique will be growing sweet corn in 18 inch mounds with five seeds in a mound. The mounds will be 36 inches apart with 36 inches between rows. When the corn get up a few inches pumpkins will be planted between the rows. So we will see how it all turns out. I have three different garden spots with one being four raised beds in my back yard. The other two are on vacant lots bought from the city's foreclosure website. I'm a self proclaimed Urban Farmer. If you want to read about it go to "Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave".

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters