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Digging the Earth

2011 September 22

By Kathy Sykes

When I think about my Grandpa Lars, I always remember him digging in his garden, harvesting new red potatoes, and dill, as a good Swede, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, raspberries, and many other fruits and vegetables. His green thumb was inherited by my mother, Marguerite, who mastered the art of gardening vegetables, herbs and flowers. She not only inspired our family to love gardening, but also neighbors, who soon were planting their gardens too.

People on foot, bike or in cars often stopped, smiled and thanked us for our garden. Occasionally we received anonymous notes addressed to the “Residents of 2100 Rowley” thanking us for the beautifully cared for plants. We took pride in our mom’s treasure and in our small family contributions of weeding and watering the garden. Getting my hands dirty from digging in the ground was almost as much fun as using the hose to water seedlings and my siblings.

I also remember stepping outside to cut fresh flowers for the dinner table or sprigs of parsley, or basil that added the final touch and fragrance to her delicious dishes. I especially recall the crabapple tree that mom’s co-workers bought for her when my Grandfather died. Now the tree stands tall and provides much appreciated shade on hot and humid summer days.

The demands and distractions of modern society deter too many of us from digging in the ground. Time constraints and other dangers keep us indoors. Nowadays, children spend less time outside in unstructured play, while adults spend more time commuting in our sprawling cities.

This weekend we have the opportunity to share our knowledge of gardening and love of trees with youth and reminisce about the changes that have occurred during our lifetime. Getting off the couch, away from our blackberries and TVs and outside to appreciate our parks, local woods and green space is a worthy endeavor. Saturday, September 24th is National Public Lands Day. This event is celebrated annually and was conceived of by the National Environmental Education Foundation. EPA is one many sponsoring agencies. Volunteer to plant a tree and bring along your camera to capture the fun of digging in the dirt.

You can enter the Volunteers in Action Photo Contest.

Plant a tree. Dig the Earth! She will thank you.

About the author: Kathy Sykes began working for the U.S. EPA in 1998. Since 2002, she has served as the Senior Advisor for the Aging Initiative.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    September 22, 2011

    Don’t Tell Digging The Earth, Because…..

    Dear Kathy,

    I’m shock to read your invite the readers digging the earth, but then I understand you just plant a tree. It’s well done…. And I’m agree. But I’m not agree if you invite local investor who digging the earth an sich, here, that damaged our river only just illegally taking the sands, or stones, or iron ore, or golden ore, or tin ore without feasibility study. It’s sadden… It’s joint operations with my officials. It’s tragic…..

  2. permalink
    September 22, 2011

    This is a wonderful blog where we are getting more information. Thanks

  3. david northup permalink
    September 23, 2011

    I am with you on all that you wrote. I have over the years grown many a garden and planted many a tree! !!!. It is good to reach out to the young and pass on what has been done before them .Trees scrub the air and give us back what most people take for granted.

    So grow food and plant fruit trees this === a better lifestyle, stress reducer, and healthier living. Is this not what we were put here for? caretakers of the earth.

    Aloha !

  4. Βότανα permalink
    October 3, 2011

    This is my first visit here. I have a small herb shop in Greece. Herbs are very usefull,for its healing properties also. Keep up the good work.

  5. Jenna permalink
    November 3, 2012

    It’s always good to read a post written by someone who is as passionate about gardening as you seem to be. I too have a small little space of my own where I try to experiment (which is about raspberry leaf tea these days)

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