Gardener Story: Em Purcell

I always had plenty of fresh produce from the backyard available to me as a child; however, the garden was my dad’s personal sanctuary, rather than a family space.   I appreciated the veggies on the table, but as a child I had little understanding of all the hard work that went into putting them there.   My husband on the other hand, grew up on a farm where his help in the garden was crucial, in order to keep up with the enormous amount of work.    When we bought our house, we knew we were going to start a garden and continue it for many years to come.   We also knew that it would be a place that we worked and enjoyed as a family, alongside of our children.   

The knowledge that I have gained from Build It Up, paired with my husband’s prior experience, has allowed us more success in the last two years than I had imagined possible.   We have been able to maintain our +4000 square foot garden, preserve vegetables to last the year, as well as, expose our children to healthier food options than provided in the grocery store produce aisle.   Our two-year old son had a serious hatred of green food beginning at infancy; however, he will now taste peas, beans, and other green veggies if he knows they came from our garden.     He works alongside of us, doing plenty of planting and “weeding” and harvesting.   So just like everyone else, he gains a bit of pride knowing his work went into the food that sits in front of him, making him a little more adventurous to try new foods.   

We are so thankful to have been a part of Build It Up we have learned so much about planning a garden, pest control, disease management and the no-till concept (which we are going to attempt this year).    We have also been able to experiment with some plants that we would not have tried on our own, such as: fennel, mustard greens, and arugula.    In the years to come we hope to increase our overall yield , improve on succession planting, preserve as much as possible and convert into a till-free garden.    Here’s to hoping our family’s garden is better than last year, but not as good as next!

More images from Em’s garden!