Most of our fall 2009 sweet potato harvest.
That's what a neighbor lady told my husband after getting her share of the 20-30 pounds of the most succulent home grown sweet potatoes that I completely neglected last summer. There were enough to go around to 4 different families twice. When we scrubbed and baked the first few to eat 'au naturel,' the entire house smelled like sweet potato pie! Everyone that gets to know me for a few minutes assumes that the pride I take in being completely covered in dirt that comes from a rural upbringing. Not even close.
I grew up near the shores of beautiful Lake Erie on the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio. My only childhood garden experience was on a daycare field trip with my brothers. After harvesting and preparing our own salad we all became instant veggie-vores. In my early 30s an awesome parent at the private preschool where I worked schooled me enough to lead my first gardening class for kids. Now I've got Master Gardener training under my belt, I'm a gardening fanatic! What inspired my enthusiasm, you ask? Ten years ago I didn't always have the money to properly feed my 4 year old daughter and my 18 month old son. Anyway, I swore to them way back then that when we moved out of public housing we were moving into a home and that home would have a garden.
What I've come to learn over the years is that the elusive $64 tomato isn't even a budget consideration for the average low-income city dweller. Now that I'm not working full time, I've had to give up online garden orders and $100 shopping sprees at Hyam's Garden Center cold turkey. I'm making do mainly with what's on hand. And if you want to join the urban garden bandwagon and grow your own food, you can do the same, green thumb or not.