• Ellen Harris

#9 Table & Plate Bites of Wisdom

To gain wisdom and knowledge about the world of food it’s important to understand the interconnectedness of eating to history, culture, politics, recipes (or not), new and well-loved cookbooks, community action, thought leaders, and a multitude of stories in this case focusing on the African Diaspora.


The garden/hoop house project is done for now. Of course, this is just the beginning to grow it, no pun intended, because the objective is to learn how to grow food year-round. Setting up a small hoop house with raised beds inside and out was a start thanks to Calvin and Fred. They did most of the work and I supervised; pitching in here and there.

As I stated last month there’s no neat fenced in backyard; instead awaits a wooded area with a cornucopia of critters. To fend them off the new landscape called for fencing and peat gravel to cover the plastic laid down a month ago.

Yesterday, I added a few garnishes to the plot; two potted plants from my current abode and one patio chair. Inside the hoop house, I planted cilantro, red leaf lettuce, and a variety lettuce mix. Also, started my first try at seeds with carrot and beets. Cabbage, cabbage collard, collards, and curly kale were planted in the two outside raised beds. Since my mama didn’t raise no fool and I’ve learned from past years, screening was placed over both beds. I, especially, thought this was a wise move after sitting and resting my feet to admire my work and looking up to see birds flying back and forth among the treetops.

I simply breathed in the cool air, smiled, got up to leave, took one last picture of an afternoon’s work, and thought about some of my own Table & Plate Bites of Wisdom lessons learned.


Lesson 1 – Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from your mistakes. Laying screening over baby plants keeps the critters away for them to grow and mature a bit.

Lesson 2 – Connect with your own Garden Whisperer. Calvin told me, “You’re in the Delta. You’re going to have fire ants.” (…and rabbits, squirrels, birds, possums, snakes, deer, and maybe even coyotes, I’ve come to learn!)

Lesson 3 – Don’t be too proud or independent to ask for help. I’ve got the vision, but to implement it requires help.

Lesson 4 – Be prepared to get dirty growing your food, but at the end of the day you take a shower and see that the outcome is glorious, nutritious, and healthy.



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