Ida D. Bennett: The Vegetable Garden - Scared or Seduced

I'm still thinking about books by Ida D. Bennett.

In addition to The Flower Garden (1903, 1910), she also wrote a book called The Vegetable Garden (1909).

Even though I don't own this particular book, yet, I can browse through it online thanks to Google Books.

The first few sentences of Chapter One bring to mind the old saying, "What's old is new again". Bennett wrote in the very first sentence,

"Recent legislation has focused public attention in no small degree upon the subject of pure food. Just what goes into the composition of the food we eat is becoming more and more a matter of inquiry by the consumer."

And over 100 years later, people are still starting vegetable gardens because of concern about what goes into or on the food sold in the grocery stores.

Further more...

"Much of the garden stuff offered in the open market or peddled from door to door was gathered the day before or even earlier and hauled long distances in an uncovered wagon over a dusty road and we all know of what the dust of the road is composed, afterward to lie exhibited on open stalls in markets or in front of stores exposed to the flies or the attentions of every passing dog - and the benches are seldom above high water mark - and the unspeakable dust and filth of the streets."

Well, if that didn't convince people to grow their own vegetables, Bennett went on to write...

"There are no vegetables like those which come wet with the morning dew from one's own garden to grace the breakfast table with the toothsome crispness of the scarlet radish or the fresh coolness of lettuce."

Which brings to mind the question... would you rather be scared into growing your own vegetables or seduced into growing your vegetables?


  1. definitely seduced....not so much scared as wanting to eat healthy, feel healthy and be heathy...but first it is the seduction and that gardening really hasn't changed in 100 years...

  2. Carol, Those concerns from long ago sound familiar today - I'd much rather be seduced by the veggies than scared, and really I find all the alarmists unconvincing. A gorgeous potager off the kitchen, now that would get me going!

  3. What a great sounding book. Don't know if it's good news or bad that we are still dealing with the same issues 100 years later. (And seduction, definitely!)

  4. Wonderful! "Everything changes, everything stays the same". We might not have to worry about the dust from the road when so much produce is flown across the globe, but the principle really does still apply. Am hoping the rain stops soon so that I can get to the allotment again...

  5. I'm in the seduction column myself. There is something wonderful about the taste of very fresh vegetables that you just have to experience to "get". The difference between asparagus you just cut and steamed and the "fresh" spears in the produce section is one example I can think of, the incredible sweetness that the freshly cut asparagus has was a big surprise to me when I started growing it.

  6. There are no vegetables like those that are picked after the heat of day, just before dinner. The smell, the taste. The fragrance of soil mixed with those choices leaves me wanting to be there always!

  7. Amazing! Although what came to my mind was how I'd trade day-old dusty veggies in open markets for artificially-lit supermarkets in a microsecond.

  8. Oh, if only all we had to worry about on our food today was a little dust from the road. Being scared into growing veggies just ends up scaring us -- seems like such a daunting task. But to be seduced is to encourage and give hope that you really can grow your own food!

  9. The same complaints 100 years ago. Does that mean in 2111, they will still be talking about it? Oy! I have a small collection of old Sunset Western Gardening books, full of old advice about growing food. It tells you what fruit scions can be grafted onto what root stocks, and which cannot. It's like a lost world.

  10. definitely seduced. I've always gardened for the love of it.

    The way I see it, there's no reason to be scared. We all have the ability to take responsibility for what we put in our mouths, and we can all educate ourselves, take responsibility for our own diets, and vote with our forks every single day.


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