My father was a big gardener. I guess he came by it naturally. Growing up on a dairy farm left a permanent mark of a “farmer” on him!
Everything my dad did was big! His garden covered probably about one-fourth of our huge backyard. He had endless rows of corn, green beans, sugar snap peas, radishes, tomatoes, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and squash. He did most of the work, including drawing a diagram of his garden, preparing and tilling the soil, and planting of the seeds. However, come harvest time, he enlisted the help of the whole family, much to the dislike of his two daughters. (Oh, how I wish I had paid more attention and was interested then in all he did!)
My sister and I complained a lot. Why did harvest time have to come at the hottest part of the summer? Why couldn’t green beans be orange so we could see them more easily? Why are there so many bugs? We composted (my dad saved all of our kitchen scraps for his big compost pile…one night my sister and I slept in the compost pile until it started to rain, but that’s another story!), picked vegetables, shucked corn, and filled freezer bags with our abundant crop. Throughout the fall and winter, we really were thankful for all my Dad did to provide delicious vegetables for us!
I desire for my children to have gardening memories of their own with their daddy and me, so two years ago, I thought it would be fun to start a garden as a home school project. My husband built an 8 x 4-foot wooden box frame with no bottom to it. We laid down plastic to prevent weeds from poking up and we filled the box with a mixture of organic compost soil, peat moss, and cow manure (yes, my kids touched manure and loved it!). Because our yard has lots of red clay, the garden box allows us to control the soil for best results.
Yesterday, we planted our third garden! I like to show my kids the seeds first and let them guess what will grow from them. It’s usually pretty obvious! We planted a row of corn, two rows of okra, two mounds of cucumbers, a mound of yellow squash, and a mound of watermelons. I also bought a Topsy Turvey tomato planter and planted a Better Boy tomato plant in it. At the end of the day, Brad remarked, “I can’t wait to have corn for dinner tomorrow night.” The kids quickly reminded him that harvest time is mid summer!
My children have learned to really appreciate America’s farmers and the very hard work they endure to provide food for so many people! Hats off to all farmers, large and small scale! Lindsay, Logan, and Luke have learned the importance of good soil, how to plant seeds, water them, weed, and patiently await the fruit of their labor! What a wonderful lesson that can apply to many aspects of life! Mostly they have learned what an amazing God we have, Who can grow something so wonderful from tiny little seeds!