I just came in from the garden where I snipped some lettuce for dinner. When I decided to plant my little garden this year I couldn’t have imagined how satisfying it would be to step out into a light misty rain and snip some fresh greens for my husband and I to enjoy together.
I’ve become reflective as I’ve tended this garden over the past few months. I’ve likened caring for a garden like caring for a family as I’ve waged the battle against slugs to keep my tender plants safe and as I’ve watched my first crop of radishes mature and sowed a subsequent crop.
As I’ve knelt and pulled the odd weed I’ve practiced being mindful of the moment. Just that single moment. It’s been good for me.
I have thought about my ancestors who had to grow a garden in order to survive. I’ve thought about my grandma, Mom’s mom, who raised her three children on her own during the Great Depression after her husband died of pneumonia. Mom told stories about those days (that’s her on the right); sometimes all they had to eat were potatoes because nothing else would grow on the dusty prairie during those years. But at least they had those potatoes.
After her children grew up my grandma continued to plant a garden on the farm. I remember riding in the back of my uncle’s pickup truck when we went out to the farm to pick vegetables for supper. We brought back big cardboard boxes filled with green beans, peas, beets, and of course potatoes; the harvest was always bountiful.
Somewhere along the line we became city or town folks though. Oh, Grandma continued to live in the same tiny house where she raised her family, but there came a time when she stopped gardening. My mom and dad moved to the city after they married; I don’t remember us ever having a vegetable garden and I grew up without an appreciation for gardening and without the knowledge passed down from generation to generation about how to garden.
In recent years, by necessity, many of us have turned our hearts back to the basic things like the land and many of us are gardening again; many of us are realizing that we need to make some changes for other reasons. It’s a good thing.
I derive tremendous satisfication from this little garden and the plans I have to preserve some of this year’s harvest. I am also pleased that my daughter has planted a vegetable garden of her own and is teaching my granddaughter to appreciate the pleasure of watching plants grow.
My granddaughter and I planted two special things just for the two of us: a sunflower and a pumpkin plant.
She called me on the phone when she saw the first sprouts begin to show; I treasure that moment between the two of us.
I pray that our grandchildren will learn from some of the mistakes our generation has made. I pray they will learn what is really important in this life and what is fleeting and temporary. I pray that they will turn away from the desire for bigger houses, faster cars, and accumulating more “stuff”, and that they will learn to appreciate the simplicity of tending a vegetable garden.
Do you have a vegetable garden? What do you remember about the vegetable gardens of your childhood?