First off … everyone’s ok and getting better but about a week ago, I received a “can we talk?” text from one of our garden grant gardeners. We talked. She was embarrassed and sounded stressed and defeated and tired. She’s had not one but two major setbacks in the past weeks and has reached out for help. Anyone who’s been gardening for a while can attest that sometimes there’s more than just the elements working for or against you. Sometimes life outside the garden takes a turn and puts things on hold.

This gardener has been one of our most engaged, her garden is well organized and she has put a lot of work into it. When the other gardeners learned of the situation, they immediately started volunteering to help her save this season! I went out and looked over the situation and it’s not too late! There is a lot of food hidden in there. Some is even ready to harvest!

We’re bouncing around ideas of how to help safely for all involved. Consider this part one as we get organized and figure out a plan. Good or bad … I’ll post a follow up.

Here is her story in her own words …

Ok guys. I feel the need to share my story with you. Please let this stay between just us unless you keep it anonymous. With that said, I shall begin.

When I found out about the Grow Morristown program, I was super stoked! My grandmother had always wanted me to plant a vegetable garden and we had plenty of land to do it. We figured out I had a “green thumb” with all types of flowers and shrubs and she said having our own vegetable garden would be easy for me. My grandmother passed away June 21 last year. Then I made it my mission to accomplish what she said would be “easy” for me.

My 10-year-old has health issues as do I. Even though I try my best, her cholesterol levels are crazy high. I have modified her diet multiple times and ways and just can’t get it to come down. Her cardiologist says she’s not worried about it because cholesterol is what causes hormones to start changes around her age. Still, it worries me. When I told my daughter about the garden program, she was excited too. She promised to help and at least try anything we planted because we had grown it with our own sweat, love, and determination. That made me overjoyed and my heart filled.

When they came and tilled our garden, Jason told me we had the perfect spot and he was jealous of our soil HAHA! I have a couple amazing friends who helped us battle through getting everything planted.

You see, I have battled a host of medical issues for several years. At this time, I’ve had around 15 surgeries since May of 2018. I have a couple more ahead of me, but I do not know if I will go through with them. After finally finding a doctor who could treat me correctly, I was scheduled for surgery in April of this year.

I don’t want to say COVID was a blessing, but my surgery was postponed due to COVID. I had time to work in the garden, but I wasn’t always able due to my constant abdominal pain. My husband works two jobs to support our family, so he has little time to help. Two of the best friends I could ask for helped me weed and plant the best they could because they both have full time jobs. I gave them some of the seeds I had left and now they have their own garden!

So, my surgery finally happened June 17. It ended up being much more intensive than expected and resulted in a total hysterectomy with several complications. I was kept overnight for pain control and observation. I have a 10# lifting restriction for 6 weeks and can’t push/pull, squat, etc… for 6 weeks when I go for my follow up. Then we will see what I am released to do.

When we got home on the 18th, my husband started feeling bad. I talked him into going to the clinic and they gave him antibiotics for a possible tick bite. That was on Thursday. On Friday, he felt even worse, so he went to his regular doctor. They said to continue the antibiotics, did some labs, and told him they should have the results the first of the week. They called on Monday to tell him his white blood count was really low and that was caused most likely by a viral infection. Over the weekend, he continued to feel worse and on Sunday he developed a cough. That’s when they told him to go be tested for COVID-19 and he went right away. That was June 22. They called on Wednesday and told him he was positive and to quarantine for 14 days.

Over the next few days, everyone in my house was tested. Out of 7 people, 4 were positive-my uncle, my husband, and 2 children (not mine). I was told to rest and do as little as possible for the first couple weeks after my surgery. I was now responsible for taking care of everyone in my home. My recovery is going very slowly. My garden is a disaster to look at, but I have had a few things to harvest and several things are growing well and should be ready to harvest soon…if the weeds don’t smother them out.

I know this is a lot of personal information…but I feel like you guys should know… things happen that are beyond our control and you just have to make the best of the situation. My garden may be full of weeds, my tomatoes may not be staked, I may lose part of my harvest because I just can’t make it to the garden to get it because of everything going on. But I still have a roof over my head, a family that loves me and is slowly recovering!

I love you guys even though I don’t really know you and wish you all the best of luck with your gardens! Your garden pictures and harvests look amazing so far!