One thing I've learned doing this garden is that those women whose mothers or grandmothers liked to garden are the ones most interested in doing this. Perhaps it calls up some gentle childhood memory or the feel of the sun on one's back is somehow remembered in one's sinews, but whatever it is, it seems to run in generations.
I, too, recall the garden of my childhood. Though we lived in the heart of the city both my mother and my grandmother had gardens. Granma was much more serious about hers. She grew everything: flowers, vegetables, even wheat. What hard ground she had to till! We visited every Sunday and never went home empty-handed. She grew the wheat, she said, because she never wanted us to forget where bread comes from. She immigrated here from Ukraine, sometimes known as the breadbasket of Europe.
My mother's garden was more modest. She planted flowers and some tomatoes and salad greens. We lived in an apartment house and the backyard was just a lot. She fenced off a portion of it and worked the ground until it yielded to her design. She could be stubborn. She would have been 100 this year had she not died on this day exactly three years ago.
Today I chopped the okra down. It had grown so tall it was tipping over and the production was slowing anyway. Life grows on.