Sarah Stultz: It’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labors

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

For those of you who are vegetable gardeners, you know that we’re in the middle of the busy season in the gardens when it comes to harvesting. 

After weeks of faithfully weeding, watering and monitoring the gardens, the vegetables are coming in — and it’s exciting. So exciting, in fact, that I am temporarily setting aside the woes I have had earlier in the season to enjoy the fruits of my labors. 

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This past weekend during my first couple rounds of canning green beans, I thought about the benefits my garden has brought to my life and that of my family. 

I believe a little hard work is good for everyone, and vegetable gardening teaches just that, along with the value of consistency, responsibility and follow-through. If you don’t follow through, your plants die and you walk away with no — or minimal — produce. 

Beyond the obvious of providing food, gardening also gives people the opportunity to do something they can be proud of. 

For those of you who are new gardeners, wasn’t it thrilling to see your first vegetables? Not only did your plants survive, but they produced something beneficial to you. 

For a long time I’ve wished Albert Lea could have a program that teaches people unfamiliar with gardening the ins and outs of the process, provides them with a place to plant and encourages them along the way with their efforts. 

A goal in particular would be to help those who are food insecure or who simply need to eat more fruits and vegetables. You know, the whole “feed a man to fish” proverb. It is empowering.

While not all of my gardening has been successful this year, I’m grateful for what has pulled through and as always I’m thankful for the influence of my dad on my gardening. 

For those of you who may be wondering, the wooden tomato cages we made are working beautifully and are providing more stability that the previous cages I had. 

Though I haven’t had a red tomato yet, there are dozens on the plants, and it will only be a matter of time. 

Now if I could just figure out  how to beat the squash bugs that took over most everything in the squash family — squash, zucchini and pumpkins. 

Many other gardeners have also been impacted by these bugs — and also the deer. 

Thanks to another gardener further down the way, I have a homemade deer spray that has worked well at keeping those hungry four-legged animals at bay instead of chomping on everything in the middle. 

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune.