Parsnips in the Snow: Talks with Midwestern Gardeners (Bur by Jane Anne Staw, Mary Swander

By Jane Anne Staw, Mary Swander

Interviews with twelve gardeners demonstrate their methods to turning out to be greens and plants within the harsh weather of the Midwest.

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Everything around the place is tidy. There are no stacks of scrap metal, junk cars or machinery piled under trees. No discarded feed bags or pesticide containers litter the grounds. Even the barnyard is spare. And Edith's garden rows are perfectly straight, the soil so clean and Page 10 loose that her knees made deep imprints when she lowered herself near a row of Austrian pine seedlings and began digging with her knife. "A weed! A weed! " she shouted, and continued along the row on her hands and knees, stabbing and gouging, stabbing and gouging, puffs of dirt flying up around her face, then drifting back down into the garden as she worked.

And carrots. I also had meat from my own beef. And I brought in some comfrey. I just received a letter today in which Dr. Jungst told me he'd harvested the last of his peas, and complimented me on the meal. He even liked the comfrey. "I've told you about comfrey, haven't I? Comfrey's a natural antibiotic. And all my animals are silly about it. Once we started feeding it to the calves, we didn't buy any more medication for newborn cattle ever again. And those calves grew better than any we ever had.

They used to be two, three cents apiece before the war. Yip. " A white toy poodle suddenly yapped its way into the kitchen, its nails clicking on the linoleum. "That's Muffin," Joe laughed. "She won't hurt you. . Well, this year, I guess, my cucumbers ain't too bad, either. My daughter-in-law canned sixty or sixty-five quarts already. I sold 150, 200 pounds of picklings. Yip. When I was delivering mail, I picked up a few customers. Half the price of what they sell for in the stores. Trouble is, I don't think there's hardly anybody canning no more.

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