JEFF TIEDEMAN: Grow your ownGarden veggies add value to pocketbook, taste buds, health.
Some things we learn as kids stick with us for the rest of our lives.
For example, I’ve always been a good speller. I give all the credit to Sister Eulalia Brophy, a Benedictine nun who stressed the importance of spelling in my third-grade class at the Cathedral Grade School in Crookston. I think the spelldowns we had once a week were the reason for my mastery of orthography.
Those lessons paid off when I started out in the newspaper business, which depends on spelling accuracy — among other things. Not only did my stories pass spelling muster, a couple of years after starting to work at the Herald, I won a newsroom spelling contest, beating the man who hired me, managing editor Bob Gilmour. And several years later, I was a member of a Herald team that claimed first place in the corporate Big Red Bee spelling competition that was a fundraiser for the Grand Forks Foundation for Education.
The same is true about bicycling. I recall riding my first bike just after it had been stripped of training wheels, my dad running alongside trying to keep me upright. You know the old saying about riding a bike: You never forget.
But perhaps the thing I most appreciate learning while growing up is how to raise a garden and preserving a bit of the bounty to eat over the winter — something that’s been a big part of my life ever since I moved away from home. And that’s what I recently shared with students from Manvel (N.D.) Public School.
Along with Steve Sagaser, a Grand Forks County extension agent who specializes in horticulture, I was asked to speak to about 30 to 40 kids by Phoenix resident Diane Hoverson, who is spearheading “Manvel Matters,” a two-year revitalization plan for the town of about 350. One of the aspects of the plan formulated by the Manvel native is a farmers market, which will debut June 18. Diane is hoping that after listening to talks about gardening, students would be enticed to take part in the market.
While Steve talked about gardening basics from picking a spot to fertilizing to reaping what you sow, I shared some things my dad, grandfather and others passed on to me about growing vegetables while emphasizing that the farmers market offers an opportunity to earn money and eat healthy while having fun.
For example, for about $5, you can grow about 20 pepper plants from a pack of seeds that will produce about 15 peppers per plant. That’s about $600 worth of red peppers, which cost about $2 apiece in the supermarket. (The same is true for tomatoes, cukes and lettuce.)
And more important, vegetable gardening can help offset soaring gas prices. You know they won’t being going away anytime soon.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.