Gardening already?

flower getting sunflower seedsBundled in a coat, mittens, and scarf, I walk to the mailbox to receive a garden seed magazine. I think, “Oh, come on. A bit early for gardening already.”

Then our jovial grandchildren visit.

We’re sitting around the kitchen table. Our three-year old grandson tells us about a recent gift. “I got a wheelbarrow like your garden one, Grandma, so we can garden the same.”

Each year I plant a garden. Our six-year old granddaughter is savvy to the routine.

At the table, we listen patiently as she verbally makes a list, “This year I want to plant carrot seeds, uum, peas, beans, oh, raspberries, arugula of course.”

We adults see garden-excitement escalating. The grandson stands on his chair ready to add to the list and says, “I want to plant bacon.”

It’s never too early to plan your next garden.

While farming potatoes, grapes, apples, and cherries in Washington state for more than four decades, gardening was part of my life. I didn’t know any different from careful cultivation and eating a bounty of vegetables and fruits grown right outside our door.

Garden magazines and seeds lay around the Washington house like socks.

After settling in New York, and no longer farming, my life model took on a new look. Much less food grown outside my door.

But I buy produce from local farmers and still plant a garden, mainly for the grandchildren. Which is translated to mean, I plant a garden for dumping seed in one place and accidently trampling the carrot seedlings while looking for peas.

The trick is planting enough seed.

After planting two packets of pea and carrot seeds, sure enough, satisfaction. It only takes thirty pea pods and twelve carrots to thrill children. And their parents.

“Check this out. I just pulled a carrot out of the ground. I can eat this? Look at this, honey. I can’t believe it. This is so great. Can I pull another?” asks the parent of a six-year old friend of the grandchildren.

Ah, the magic of gardening.

We learn where food comes from, the value of caring for the soil, the importance of water, and the advantage of removing weeds.

And yes, I’m the “weed puller” and I use my wheelbarrow to haul weeds to compost. In time, the grandchildren will catch on but for now, I watch our grandchildren haul magnet-tiles and toy train cars in their miniature wheelbarrow.


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