Intended for house, lot becomes garden
When Chuck and Teri Ehmann moved to Marion from Phoenix in July 2020, they were planning to set a pre-fabricated house on a vacant lot they had purchased at Denver and Freeborn Sts.
COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult at the time.
Fortunately, a house just down the street at 204 N. Freeborn St. was for sale. They made it their residence and decided to use the vacant lot for a garden.
They harvested their first produce in 2021. It included “huge” tomatoes, lots of cucumbers, corn, 10-foot-tall sunflowers, and cantaloupe.
They froze tomatoes and corn for winter and gave half of their harvest to friends and family.
Chuck used wooden pallets as fencing to protect tender tomato plants from the Kansas wind. That worked well, but an extreme windstorm in January blew it down, so he is working at putting it back up.
“To help others and put up more for winter, we’ve doubled the size of our garden this year,” Chuck said.
He was a lifelong mechanic and was thinking about retirement when he and his wife visited her sister, Mary, in Marion in 2018.
“We wanted to get out of a metropolitan area,” he said. “It all looked really nice to me, and I checked off the boxes one by one.”
COVID-19 led the couple to make the move sooner than expected. They checked out local real estate agents online and found their property.
Chuck sold 90% of his tools in Phoenix and went to work at Marion County Hardware after the move.
His experience as a mechanic aids him in helping customers who are looking for specific items or need some advice.
“I don’t do the work anymore,” he said. “I get to tell them how to do it.”
Teri lived in Kansas as a child and was happy to come back. She has an online job, so she could bring it with her.
She lets Chuck do the physical labor of taking care of a garden.
“I get to do the fun stuff,” she said.
Last modified April 27, 2022