Sunday, 21 January 2007

By example.

I can remember the year in my childhood, when my Dad laid a path of bricks, in a herring-bone pattern, with strips of wood along the edges to make it secure. We had a lawn with flower beds close to the house and then an area four times as large for my Dad’s vegetable plot. The new path divided the vegetable plot in two.

Some of my earliest memories are of following my Dad around as he worked in his vegetable plot. I must have spent hours with him, prattling away as a child does, as he dug and prepared the soil and got the tilth just right for planting his crops of vegetables in carefully measured rows.

No matter how many questions I asked about why he was doing this or that, he always showed infinite patience and took time to explain the hows and whys of all the steps and stages he went through each year to achieve a successful harvest.

In the Autumn a load of manure would be delivered and taken by wheelbarrow to one corner of the garden where it would rest till the Spring, at which time my Dad would use it to layer the trenches before planting his seed potatoes.

I can visualise still the neat drills of potatoes, and row upon row of cabbages, sprouts, cauliflowers, beetroot, carrots, onions, leeks, rhubarb and peas. Each Summer I enjoyed skipping up and down the herring-bone path admiring the pretty red colour of the bricks and the neat, serried rows of plants on either side. They were enough to keep our family self-sufficient in vegetables the whole year round.

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