In his childhood memories, Clyde Myers sees 5-gallon buckets full of green beans.
“We’d snap beans for hours and hours and hours under the sun. I hated it, you know?” he said.
Now a father himself, Myers has a different perspective on growing food.
He came to the March 19 Seed Brown County swap with his daughter, Maggie, looking to give and receive seeds.
Their family gardens extensively.
They don’t just compost, but manage their compost, burning some items to extract minerals that enrich the soil. They save chicken bones for phosphorus, eggshells for calcium and banana peels for potassium.
“We kind of maintain the entire life cycle of that food,” Myers said.
Maggie does not seem to mind gardening as much as he did. Only in grade school, she is already learning the details of soil management, her father said. She has a book on minerals that she reads with avid fascination.
“She could probably teach a class,” he said.
It makes a big difference to Myers that he can feed his family not just during the summer, but some of the winter as well, he said.
Getting outdoors and working with the earth is enjoyable, but being self-sufficient is the greatest motivator for gardening, Myers said.
“I just kind of like knowing where food comes from. I like having a hand in it.”
The only thing his family needs to wash off their vegetables is dirt.
“I think that putting your hands in the earth and making it happen and knowing that you only have to rely on yourself and the forces that are already at work — it’s a much more satisfying experience than going and picking up something,” he said.