Urban Gardener Lindbergh Guyse
At 86 years old, Lindbergh Guyse, my grandmother’s brother, still gardens today and could not imagine a summer without growing his own food. His love of gardening developed as a child in Forest, Mississippi where he was born and raised. This is his gardening story.
My parents used the moon as their guide for when to plant. It just wasn’t them. That’s how everyone planted. When the moon was full we planted crops that grew upwards like beans and corn. In the dark of the moon or when there was no moon, we planted things that grew under the ground like beets, potatoes, and radishes. I don’t plant by the moon now, but momma and daddy swore by it. We were never hungry, so I didn’t question it.
We grew most things, but we picked pecans and peaches from our neighbors. Went fishing just about every day. My brothers and I hunted with daddy for squirrels and rabbits and momma cooked them. It was the best life ever and I didn’t even know it.
Once I moved here, two gentlemen took me under their wing, Mr. Smith and Mr. Carter. I helped them with their crops and they paid me. They even made sure I was saving my money. I had to bring them a deposit slip as proof. I had a little plot on Mr. Smith’s land where I could grow my own crops. They taught me and I respected them.
When I was raising my family, I gardened, but not as much as I would have liked. Now that I’m retired, I have more time. Right now, I am growing: onions, collards, tomatoes, cukes, squash, and peppers. If I were to give any tips, it would be don’t waste your eggshells and coffee grounds. Put them around your plants. It’s good for them. Also, use natural water. I keep barrels to catch rain and I use it to water my garden. I love gardening. As long as I am able, I am going to have a garden.
Back in Mississippi, we lived on a 40 acre farm. My granddaddy’s land was next to ours and he had 80 acres. Since I was a little kid, I was on the farm helping. We had cows, chickens, and hogs. The hogs slept under the house and there were so many chickens everywhere. We grew just about everything, greens, melons, tomatoes, potatoes -- you name it; we grew it.
"It was the best life ever and I didn't even know it."