One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin.
When my sons were little we planted a garden. It was not a large "canning" garden like their Great Grandfather's in Ohio but a small "tasting" garden in our Ballard backyard. In my Grandfather's garden they planted beans, tomatoes, corn and peas to be canned for, and enjoyed during, the winter months. In our garden we planted corn, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to be eaten during the summer.
When I sent him the pictures of our 3 stocks of corn it was hard to tell who was prouder - my sons or their Great Grandfather. We rarely got to eat our corn as the raccoons usually harvested the few ears that grew but we did enjoy our berries and tomatoes. The neighbor children would come to the garden and pick the fruit for a mid-afternoon picnic in the yard.
It was fun to garden with the boys and as they grew older they added to the items we had in the garden. They loved salsa so we planted cilantro and peppers one summer. From the sour cherry tree ( like the one my grandparents had in Ohio) we made pie and Nick gave jam a try.
Both Joel and Nick were in Horticulture in high school. One afternoon the teacher stopped me in the hall. She asked if they had gardened as children. I said they had. She replied. "I could tell. They have such a respect for living things." Gardening is a way to give your child responsibility for living things. Letting your child plant a seed and watch it grow gives them an opportunity to develop responsibility as they care for something that is alive.
Joel has continued to garden as an adult. He and his wife Danielle have worked hard at developing a garden that has fruit and vegetables as well as a place to sit in the shade enjoying the beauty of the flowers in their yard. Nick has given gardening a try in Wisconsin and his fiancé is doing a farm internship this summer. She sends pictures of the produce from the Farmer's Market in Madison.
My Mom likes the smell of tomato plants because they remind her of her family. We never had a garden when I was growing up but I planted a garden with my sons because my Grandfather had a garden and they loved their Great Grandpa's garden. As we continue to garden I realize that a part of past generations lives on through memories of gardens.
Curt thinks of his Dad every time we pick the raspberries in the yard, I think of our sons and trips to the blueberry farm when I pick blueberries and we all think of my Grandfather's farm when we eat corn on the cob. A memory is planted when we garden with our children and I know a part of me will live on as Joel and Nick continue the tradition of gardening with their families.
What if gardening is not something you like to do?
You can still give your child a taste of gardening - and the knowledge of where food comes from.