Through The Garden Gate of Lindsay and Jason – Dexter, Kentucky
“Don’t be afraid to: see it die, replant it or get unexpected results (good and bad). Just get in there and try your best and learn from each plant and each season. Listen to the “old timers” in your circle of friends and family, they have tried and true methods and have seen the seasons and the wrath Mother Nature can bring.” Lindsay Blankenship
Featured Gardeners: Lindsay Blankenship and Jason McGehee
How much time do you spend gardening? For instance, would you consider yourself a daily daisy, weekend wildflower, spring and summer succulent, or occasional orchid?
We are both spring and summer succulents! I plant flower pots and ornamental flowers in the spring. We both plant our vegetable garden together. This will be our 2nd garden together. Jason has worked in tobacco fields and gardens since he was a teenager.
Describe your garden(s) or gardening activities:
We have a large vegetable garden and a small strawberry box. Our vegetable garden contains: red and gold potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli (we’ve already put up 15 freezer bags), cabbage (crock of cabbage fermenting for sauerkraut now), tomatoes, green bell peppers, cayenne peppers, green beans and corn. Jason has planted free growing potatoes and buck oats in our back field that leads down a big hill into the bottoms for wild game. We have a big deer population and love watching them.
In addition, I have planted two large flower pots for the front of the house and two ground arrangements on each side of the driveway. I would like to plant more decorative flowers but am waiting until we decide on a new house. As far as maintenance, we travel a lot for Jason’s work but tend to the garden as often as we can. Basically, if we are home, we are outside. Jason does all of the tilling and weeding work and I help pick and hoe the potato mound and I take care of all of the washing, cooking, and canning that happens.
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has given you the most pride?
Honestly, our vegetable garden this year has probably saved our relationship! We went through a hard time in the summer of 2013 and it had been difficult to work back to where we were. Picking out what we wanted to plant, getting our hands dirty together, tending to the garden and now seeing the harvest of our labor together has given us a pure and wholesome activity to do together and create something beneficial together!
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has been the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
Last year, the animals took ALOT of our vegetables. This year we put up a better perimeter fence and looked into organic deterrents. Jason purchased dried pellets of coyote urine to sprinkle on the dirt around the perimeter and it has seemed to help, although his nearly 4 year old is convinced you’re suppose to pee in the garden now to keep the animals away! Bless little boys and thank God for the better fence, haha!
What advice would you give to a novice gardener who is just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to: see it die, replant it or get unexpected results (good and bad). Just get in there and try your best and learn from each plant and each season. Listen to the “old timers” in your circle of friends and family, they have tried and true methods and have seen the seasons and the wrath Mother Nature can bring.
My gardening gloves (I love dirt therapy but hate the super scrub time afterwards to get the dirt out of my nails) AND an old piece of junk tiller that’s been passed down through the years in Jason’s family. We can afford a new one but for some reason it’s a part of the family. I’ve watched Jason beat and bang on it, spend countless hours fixing it but it represents the “if it’s broke fix it” mentality that is largely long gone and it restores my faith in the longevity of things if they are just fixed when they are broken instead of thrown away (much like our relationship).
What’s your next project?
Canning all of the veggies from our harvest this year! Jason’s mom and stepdad have a large garden and we share veggies at harvest time. We have a ton of tomatoes this year and they have a ton of cucumbers so we ladies will have days at each house pressure canning and hot canning vegetables for the fall/winter. I will be giving baskets of veggies, pickles, and preserves as Christmas gifts this year and I’m really excited about it!
We are working to get a house together, it’s next door to the property Jason owns now and it would bring us up to 20 acres. Regardless of where we end up though, we are definitely planning a bigger garden for next year, adding melons and maybe some fruits.
Lastly, I make cakes and candies for a living and am just starting to do “Bake and Learns” where kids of all ages can have hands-on kitchen time to learn how to cook and bake. A lot of our schools are phasing out these home economics-type teachings and our kids are becoming increasingly microwave and convenience dependent. By next season I hope to be able to book classes and have the participants walk out to the garden and pick supplies for their cooking projects!
How does your garden and/or gardening enrich your life?
Pretty much everything I’ve shared that this garden had done for us but in addition, the benefits it brings to Jason’s 4 year old. We are able to show him a better, honest and pure way of life. He isn’t with us all of the time and his other environment is a striking difference from the environment he has with us. He helps us harvest the garden, and it gets him outside doing something productive. Plus, we cook and eat a lot of what we pick right away and he helps me fix up the veggies to can for winter.
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