Gardening: A Connection to My Family

This is an entry in this month’s contest “What Inspired You To Start Growing Your Own Food?”.  Be sure to rate this article!

Gardening: A Connection to my Family

My inspiration stems from memories of gardening with my parents and grandparents. As a kid working in the garden was not optional and not considered fun. It was forced labor, ugh. On the other hand gardening with my grandparents was so very different they made it fun and interesting.

But then we moved away from home. No space for a garden. No grandparents close by. Time for high school, sports, work, cars, and boys. Fast forward to marriage and instantly all the childhood experiences become valuable. Everybody has a garden, right? Isn’t that part of nesting once you settle down? Now that it was my garden it felt right not wrong. A garden gave me a terrific reason to call my grandparents with questions about pests, canning, and plant varieties to grow.

We bought a tiller, put on some manure and got started. Organic Gardening magazine has always helped make everything a bit better every year. Now with the internet and every kind of gardening idea at your fingertips it can be overwhelming. I try to fit in at least a few new-to-me ideas every year. So we added some fruit trees, berries, rhubarb and asparagus. The learning and sharing of gardening keeps it fresh. With mulch, compost, worm castings, permaculture and food forests, there is so much to learn about. My gardening journey is so much fun. Of course my neighbors and mailman may not agree when I give them an armful of zucchini 4 weeks in a row!

I don’t recall any big flops. I’m sure they were there but fortunately the memories have faded. Everything just needs to be taken in stride; late frosts = no fruit on trees, bugs that eat their share, weather that is good, bad or ugly, things on the to do list that never make it to the top. At the end of each summer there is a reward, it really was another successful year with plenty of fresh produce and stocked larders in the freezer and pantry. Another year of healthy eating will sustain us until next spring when we gladly get to start all over again.

Now that we are transitioning from a hobby gardener to a survival gardener the picture is changing. It is serious business when you no longer want to rely on Kroger as your backup position. Once again there will be a big learning curve so time is of the essence. We are in the early learning stages and will be increasing the size of the garden, looking at greenhouse/hoop house options, adding more fruit trees, berries, etc. We will learn from our mistakes and move on sharing with our children so they will learn to be self reliant and stay in touch with the earth because it is the only way to truly live free.

My greatest accomplishment may be not following my mother and grandmother’s philosophy that the only good snake is a dead one. Whenever a snake was encountered mom and grandma always went for the hoe or shovel and that was the end of that snake. Fortunately early on I knew that felt wrong. I’ll never have a love affair with snakes but I don’t want to hurt them, we just need to keep our distance. Several years ago in an effort to keep critters from the strawberries I put some nylon netting over them. For several years we’d regularly seen a good sized garter snake. One cool morning I found her tangled in the netting. She looked life less so I called my husband to inform him that he’d have to remove her when he got home. Later, in the warming day, working outside I walked by and saw movement, she was alive. Well I couldn’t let her linger all day so out came the gloves and scissors to cut her free. That was an anxious 15 minutes that felt like an hour. She was very appreciative in the end and a very good participant. The next call to my husband was with pride that I’d accomplished setting our little garter snake free. We had several more brief encounters that summer and I paused to appreciate her contribution to a healthy balance in my yard and garden.

My grandparents are all gone. Mom and Dad gave up gardening decades ago as their interest was solely to save money while raising four kids. I’m the lone gardener in the family now. I love gardening it is a lasting bond to my grandparents. They were farmers for over 50 years transitioning from horses to tractors, manure to chemicals, and poor to a living wage. It was natural for them to be growing something– be it a plant or a granddaughter.

The prize for the winner of this months contest is valued at $100 and includes a copy of the “Grow Your Own Groceries” video set, “Alternatives To Dentists” video set, and 3 months of free membership in the Core Community.  If you want to enter this month’s contest, write an essay on “How You Got Started Growing Food” and submit it here at this link: http://growyourowngroceries.org/contribute-here/

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  • jo ann pullins says:

    I give this article 5pts. It is well written, gives important information and shows just how much this lady loves gardening and learning it from her family and carrying on through present day. Sounds like she has respect for the land and the little creatures that live here to.

  • JJM says:

    Cindy’s experience is similar to mine. Dad’s dad was a truck farmer and dad continued as a home gardener.
    After moving to the city, I neglected home gardening for many years. Started gardening in the suburbs on a vacant piece of land behind the back yard but gave up 5 years later as the harvest decreased and young children did not like much variety.
    With the potential of SHTF/TEOTWAWKI, I started again 4 years ago in the backyard, adding another bed every year. Frustration is having a large variety of vegies planted with inconsistent results (overabundance of 2 or 3 one year and only a taste the next year but with something different doing well). Perhaps its primarily the learning curve?
    At least my medicinal and culinary herbs are somewhat more consistent and extremely useful in getting grown children to experience more and tasty foods.

    1. Hi JJM,

      There definitely is a learning curve. But I find I also need to become extremely flexible. When I get an abundance of something I figure out a way to preserve it. Some years are great and some are horrible. I think that is a pattern we need to get very used to. Even with a lot of experience.

  • Sue says:

    I give this article a 5 star. Cindy wrote from her heart. You can tell she loves what she does and enjoys telling others. Excellent !

  • Sue says:

    I give this article a 5 star. Cindy wrote from her heart. You can tell she loves what she does and enjoys telling others. Excellent !

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