I grew up in a large family that always had a vegetable garden. My dad loved to garden, but I hated it. When my husband and I got married, he decided that he wanted a garden, and I reluctantly agreed. He was as surprised as I at how much I had retained from my childhood about gardening and canning vegetables. That was almost 22 years ago!
Today I love to garden, I love watching the plants grow, the taste of tomatoes warm from the vine, and the sense of satisfaction that I get when the harvest is bountiful. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can plant whatever I like in my garden (that means no lima beans, and no eggplant). My dad never let us have any say in what was planted, but we did however get to weed.
Whatever the reasons I am now starting into my favorite part of the year, and this was the weekend we decided to shop for our plants, and the remainder of our seeds. I’m lucky that my kids aren’t picky eaters and they love vegetables, so every year I let them pick a few items that they would like to see in the garden.
The oldest, let us know that she would like tomatoes and whatever else it takes to make the gallons of salsa that come out of my kitchen every year. The 14 yo made her plea for green beans, and romaine lettuce. Then…came… the… 6yo!
The conversation went like this.
6yo: I want to plant mashed potatoes.
Me: You don’t plant mashed potatoes… you plant potatoes, dig them up, wash them, peel them, cook them, mash em up, and theeeen you serve them, with gravy, to little 6 yo boys. Plus Mr. S. has a potato farm, and gives us lots of potatoes every year remember?
6 yo: (sigh) Then I want eggs. Not the kind you dippy, the kind you peel.
Me: You don’t plant eggs. You KNOW they come from chickens.
14 yo: Yeah they come from chicken’s butts! They POOP them out.
6 yo: Nu-unh! Mooooom!
14 yo: Ya-huh! (This goes on for a few minutes, ‘til I have to put a stop to it or my head will explode!)
Me to 14 yo: You made your pick let your brother make his.
6 yo: Fine! Then I want toast! Not the butter kind, the kind with the brown salt on it.
Me: staring at him, while desperately trying not to pull out my hair.
6 yo: Are you gonna tell me you can’t plant toast?
Me: Yes. Toast is not a vegetable. How about carrots? Or peas? You like those (All the while thinking… I’m planting them anyway).
6 yo: staring at me
Me: How about this? We will plant a potato in the big flowerpot by the garage, and you can pick another Veg-A-Ta-Ble to go in the garden, AND I will make you hardboiled eggs, and cinnamon toast for breakfast.
6 yo: Okay. (pause) If I say broccoli trees, are you gonna tell me they’re not a vegetable?
Me: Broccoli is a vegetable, and yes we can plant some.
6yo: How about pickles?
Me: Well we can plant cucumbers, and then turn them into pickles.
Me: Are we done here? Is everybody happy? Note to self: Feed everyone before asking about garden next year.
Whoa! All I can say is, when my dad kept us out of the planning stage, maybe he was onto something!
3 months ago