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Gardening in a Dust Bowl title image

Soil erosion near McKenzie, ND
Soil erosion near McKenzie, ND SHSND# 0351-07
Like Lil Foell, Edna Zimmerman’s mother also gardened near the stock tank, allowing the windmill to pull up enough water to overrun the tank and water her vegetables through a series of ditches she cut into the garden. (Courtin’, p. 78)

Many people who lived through the Great Depression on a ND farm remember that they always had something to eat because they had cattle and gardens. In that respect they felt more secure than urban families. These memoirs however, suggest that even on farms, the severe drought that accompanied the Great Depression, left some families precariously close to destitution when both ground water and rainfall failed to support their gardens. Though the loss of garden produce in any single year might be overcome by the surplus of canned goods remaining from the previous year, there was still fear of the devastation a continuing drought might bring to a family.

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