FONTANELLE — They’ve lived in large metropolitan areas like Omaha, Lincoln or even Houston. But when you talk to Dale Zoubek, you get the drift that he has always wanted to bring his family back to roots similar to his own in a small town.
Zoubek grew up on a farm in Saline County, Nebraska. Being self sufficient is a concept he’s always known.
Zoubek and his wife, Tina, are raising their four children in Fontanelle. Their children range in age from age 12 to 4.
“I work in Des Moines and drive everyday. I just wanted to live in a small town,” Zoubek said.
The neighborhood has taken notice of the Zoubeks’ large garden, and it grew even more this year, almost doubling in size. What started three years ago with just a patch has turned into a very large garden.
“You fix things and make them better. We made it a little bigger this year. I told the kids that if they helped me we could split the money from the farmers markets,” Zoubek said. “It’s to teach them to work a little bit. We started our own plants in February or March and have sold quite a few we didn’t need by word of mouth.”
Zoubek has built on to his 4-foot tomato plant racks because he has planted indeterimate tomatoes, meaning they will keep growing until frost kills them. They will reach 7 to 9 feet tall. In all, Zoubek estimates he’s planted 150 tomato plants. The entire garden is equipped with a watering system that is fed by a existing well on the family’s property.
The Zoubeks also planted cucumbers, dill, peppers, green beans, onions, garlic, potatoes and raised beds for strawberries and herbs such as cilantro and oregano. The Zoubeks use the dill to make pickles. They enjoy canning and prefer making their own spaghetti sauces and tomato juices.
“I grew up on a farm and my grandparents, going through the Depression, they made their own butter and did all that stuff. They bought salt, flour, and they did everything. Grandma would have a patch of potatoes the size of this garden. We learned it, grew up eating the stuff, and it’s better than buying it,” Zoubek said.
Though city life sufficed for a season in their lives, the Zoubeks are glad to now call Fontanelle home.
Dale, who went to college for collision repair, also enjoys working on his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.