Many years before the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, my father set gardening examples using biblical principles and the Farmer’s Almanac. The earth—a lot surrounding our modest two-bedroom home—was our responsibility, he said. He toiled the ground somewhat like Adam may have done in the story of that downfall in Genesis in the Christian Bible. Only my father had more modern tools like a shovel, a hoe, and a rake. Spring and Fall, he worked the ground behind the house and planted vegetables around the existing fruit trees. He grew a variety of berries to top our cereal when fresh or for Mama to can for fruit pies and cobblers in the winter. He also cared for the nectarine and apricot trees in the front yard that gave us fresh fruit in summer and canned fruit for winter. The black walnut tree responded well, but cracking those nutshells took muscles more toned than mine.
He revered the Farmer’s Almanac second to holy scripture and searched the worn pages for planting times to yield the best crops. He followed the guide and planted aboveground vegetables in the light of the moon and root vegetables in the dark of the moon. His garden flourished while others failed.
I stopped gardening when I downsized from a home on an acre of ground and moved into an apartment. Now I buy my vegetables from a farmer’s market or grocer and depend on NASA to tell me when to enjoy a full moon.