I’m not sure where I originally heard the theory of gardening in thirds, but I’d guess it was from my Grandma Maxine. She grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression and was forever transformed. She is exceptionally thrifty, I’d guess in part because she was no stranger to hunger as one of five kids. She is also exceptionally generous. She has led a life of giving. Thrift and gift are forever entwined in her view; the more clever you are with money and supplies, the more you can help — and in this case feed — others.
Gardening in thirds goes a bit like this: when planning your garden boxes, you plant three times as much as you anticipate needing. One third comes home to your kitchen. The next third is sacrificial — you anticipate losing this to the critters in the yard. This is, after all, organic gardening. And the final third is to be giving to others. Could be your neighbors, or in this case — the local food bank.
Metro CareRing is a unique food bank to Denver for several reasons. The director, Lynne, noted her favorite room at their small facility is the produce space. In this area, clients can select the fruits and vegetables they want to take home. This reduces waste and provides a bit of humanity to those in need. They have a choice; they are not simply given a box and expected to make the best of it for the next month.
And so, when the radishes were begging to be picked, their purple bodies bulging from the earth, to the food bank they went.
Thank you, Grandma Max. You’ve taught me more than I can say.