We take these winter months to plan our gardens, drool over our catalogs, plot and plan to create our garden visions. We still have time to take a few moments and remember family gardening stories. My grandfather had a green thumb. I remember fat cabbages and hot juicy red tomatoes we picked off the vine. I loved the ripe red raspberries though negotiating the prickered vines and dodging bees was a challenge.  I took it on anyway.  The reward was worth it.

Stories can carry lessons for gardening too. For example, one of my favorite is the “The Bean Woman” a story from the Tutelo tradition. The Bean Woman was looking for a husband. Several animals stepped up to the plate for her voice was very beautiful. But it was the quiet corn man who won her heart for the support he offered her. When gardens are planted in the traditional way green beans are found entwined around corn stalks.  Beans are legumes which have  a certain type of bacteria that live on nodules on their roots.  When these bacteria absorb nitrogen , nitrates are formed and needed for the plants to grow. Beans, legumes fertilize the soil and corn provides support.  A perfect relationship? Romance in the garden? You bet.


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