I had an interesting conversation today with a very experienced vegetable gardener. She grew up in a rural community in NC where seeds were saved and shared, vegetable gardening was a regular activity, and putting up vegetables was part of summer life. Her journeys have taken her to European cities (where she saw lots of vegetable gardening first-hand), to Detroit, where she helped organize a community garden, and now to Clemson as part of the Sustainable Ag Initiative and the Student Organic Farm. We share a love of vegetable gardening, clearly.
She was surprised to hear that SC Master Gardeners are now becoming enthusiastic about the idea of growing vegetables (when I started at the Garden 15 years ago, there were maybe 5 MG's in our local group of 60+ that I knew who grew vegetables). She thought that that was the point of the MG program (I wish!)
I've done several programs over the last year to different MG organizations in SC with a 'Creative Vegetable Gardening' theme. It's been definitely a 'new' interest. But I'm thinking this is only the beginning. I sent off a revised piece about vegetable gardening today for the SC Nursery and Landscape Association's publication -- the editor replied it was a 'hot topic'-- hooray!
I'm planning to be more focused on producing and storing vegetables for later use (I'm totally inspired by fellow gardening bloggers like Rob and Kathy), rather than just current consumption. It's sounding like fun at the moment, as well as tasty and nutritious.
Organizing the programmatic part of our Garden Fest in April this year, for the first time, I'm feeling a strong sense of community and interest in vegetable gardening, which is most welcome.
I didn't grow up in a family of gardeners, by any means, being a city kid, but my maternal grandmother was an excellent and keen gardener (by early necessity), and I was entranced by her berry patches, stores of home-canned beans and tomatoes, and preserves. And one set of my paternal grandparents were farmers, too, and a visit to their farm was a wonderful experience when I was maybe 8 years old.