When I was a kid growing up in India, I was interested in plants and I had a little garden of my own in our family garden. My mom was interested in gardening, too. In those days in the 1940s and early ’50s, we had a local gardener who did a lot of work in the garden, and I worked with him and spent a lot of time with him. When I got home from boarding school, there was a garden plot that was for me to plant and take care of and water and harvest and everything.
My parents were missionaries. I was born and grew up in India. I was there until I was 14. Then we came to Goshen. I did four years of high school at Goshen High School and did four years of college at Goshen College.
Then I went off to grad school and got my degrees there and had a career in agriculture research, most of which was overseas in Africa and India. I came back to Goshen in 1997 and got into coaching tennis. I did that until the 2015 season. That was my second retirement.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a farmer, but as I went through high school and into college I realized I didn’t have the background for it – or the farm. That’s why I went into a career in research plant pathology, which suited me well. I just like plants. I like to watch them grow and see them develop.
Bud Wulliman invited me to share his garden for a few years. Then I decided I didn’t want to spend that much time gardening, but I couldn’t quite give it up. Some kind souls along 15th Street said, ‘Why don’t you take a little bit of our garden and plant there?’
This year I’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, beets, butternut squash, red amaranth, kohlrabi, spinach, arugula. We also have flowers around our condo and herbs in our backyard.
I think gardening develops an appreciation for food and what it takes to grow food. My interest in gardening has also led me to being more interested in soils and their importance, how soils develop, how they can be degraded, and how we can get them back into good levels of production and that sort of thing.
Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King
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