When I was growing up, we lived in the country about 10 miles outside of town. Each summer we had a garden. My Dad would take us 5 kids out to the garden and we would have to do “back-breaking” work (that’s what I called it when I was a kid). We planted and weeded. At the time, all of us mumbled and grumbled at the garden tasks we had to do.
On a side note, one of my greatest memories and also discoveries happened one summer day when I was building mounds to plant squash. As I dug into the dirt I discovered an arrowhead. What a prize for a young kid! I still have it to this day and have never forgotten that day working in the garden.
I remember going out to the garden and pulling radishes out, dusting off the dirt and eating them on the spot. Our squash harvest would last us long into the winter. We would pluck tomatoes off the vine and enjoy a mid-day snack. My great-grandparents lived about a mile down the road from us. My great-grandpa, Warren, still gardened on the same plot that his ancestors had, going all the way back to the mid-1800’s!
One summer, my great-grandpa planted an acre of strawberries. We helped plant, weed and pick (though I’m sure we probably ate more than we picked!). We had four generations working together, sharing in the sweat and the bounty, and creating memories that have lasted all of us a lifetime. The time we spent together was literally priceless.
As kids we saw our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents demonstrate a strong work ethic. These were people who were willing to get their hands dirty. When our work was done, my great-grandma would serve us a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries. It was a delight, something all of us kids always looked forward to and still talk about to this day.
When us kids reflect on the “old” days, we often laugh and smile at the memories of gardening when were kids. None of us appreciated it like we probably should have when were young, but as we reflect back, we all appreciate the work we did in the garden… even if it was “back breaking” work! We didn’t realize it at the time but we were learning about hard work and being good stewards of what God has given us.
So I encourage you, if you haven’t done so in the past, to get your whole family involved. If you have kids, get them involved. What vegetables do they like to eat? (Embarrassingly, a lot of kids don’t know how our food is grown! All they know is that you get a tomato at the grocery store. They have no idea that a seed is planted to start the process!). If your kids are grown up and out of the house, you can still encourage them to garden. Invite them over to help with yours. Buy them a variety of seed packets for their own garden. Working together, getting your hands dirty with your kids and grandkids, creating memories and enjoying an heirloom harvest will all be well worth it.
If you would like to share any of your great gardening memories with us, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!