As long as I’ve known them, my parents have gardened. When I was little, my mom used to gather up the veggies and fruits on the hottest days of summer. She would heat up the kitchen of our little house as she canned and preserved them so they would last us a while.
Some of my fondest memories were of my mom with her long brown hair flowing out from under a kerchief tied around her head to keep the sun off while she kneeled in the dirt pulling and picking. At a very early age, she taught me how to plant things. I remember studying the seeds before we put them in the earth, covered them and added water. The corn seeds were my favorites because they were hard and wrinkly like plastic corn except they were real and full of sleeping life. As I poked them into the ground just below the surface I wondered if they would grow.
My father had grapes–purple, white, green, and red. He harvested them in the fall and my brother and I would stomp them in containers until the juices ran out. He would add lots and lots of sugar and with some knowledge and what seemed like magic, he would make grape juices and wines.
My husband and I have talked about gardening for years. We considered containers and discussed things for our larger than average back yard at the time. When we took our boys to visit my parents, they would instantly head out to the garden to see what was growing. They had-sleep overs where they would help pick orange, red and green things to eat.
So, it was inevitable that we would start a garden the minute we had space to do so. I still don’t have painting done and some walls have holes that need patching and bathrooms are missing sinks and mirrors, but we have a garden!
We spend a great deal of time out here beyond the entrance gate.
My boys, now 6 and 3, helped me plant. They help me water. They help me weed.
They check on the progress more than I do and run back to offer a report on what is growing.
Today we harvested our very first–four jalapeno peppers. Much more is on the way. I have vowed that we will eat or use everything that grows. So, I will be looking up some new veggie recipes soon.
This is my favorite section of the garden:
It was recently full of these:
They turned into lovely orange blooms and will soon grow into pumpkins. We planted two different varieties and there are blossoms upon blossoms. If everything goes well, we are going to be up in our eyeballs with carving pumpkins this year!
The boys also like to be in the garden because there are lots of interesting things to be found under leaves and in the dirt.
I like to be out there with them because I hope in some way I’m passing on something to them that they will one day remember with a special warmth in their hearts as time spent together growing veggies along with memories of us. I hope they are taking with them a fondness for the earth and a small sense of what it’s capable of. I like to think we are growing people in our garden.