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 Yard and Garden » Couple work hard to grow good health

Couple work hard to grow good health

Couple work hard to grow good healthby Gordon Cotton/Vicksburg Post

CARLISLE - Kay McCaleb Bilbro hasnít had a cold, not even a sore throat, in years. That probably can be attributed to the truth in the old axiom, "You are what you eat," for she and her husband, Joe, eat healthy.

Much of what Kay puts on their table is grown in her garden - and everything has been raised without the use of pesticides.

It all began about 25 years ago when Kay went to a doctor in Jackson, a personal friend, when she had stomach problems. She well remembers his advice: "Kay, I make my money off of medicine, but if you will just get rid of pesticides in your life, you will be amazed how much better you will feel."

Avoiding foods produced with the use of pesticides isnít easy, especially when you eat in the workplace cafeterias where much of what is served is pre-packaged and full of preservatives. So it was not until Kay retired several years ago that she could really give full attention to organic gardening.

With the price of food going up every week, Kay began with an asparagus bed, artichokes and strawberries.

"I thought, well, if I can just raise those things and we can enjoy it and have fun doing it - well, it just blossomed from there," she said.

Her garden, just outside the house, isnít all that big - about 1,200 square feet - but thereís a lot produced in it.

"We have yellow and white potatoes, beets, kale, three kinds of lettuce, four different kinds of onions, two kinds of cucumbers, bush butter beans, green beans, Java beans, six or eight kinds of peppers, okra, English peas, several types of tomatoes, four kinds of squash - Joe doesnít care much for squash, but everybody else does."

She also has an herb garden and an orchard with pear and apricot trees, grapevines and blueberries.

She still goes to the doctor for a yearly checkup, but since she started healthy eating from her garden, sheís had no diseases, no kidney or stomach problems, though she knows that doesnít mean she and Joe wonít have colds or other ailments.

Though she got interested in gardening because of health reasons, thereís also something else about the land.

"You canít let go," she said. "Youíve got a tap root.

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