Summer is ending and that means it's the end of my garden for the year. It is giving me cause to reflect on why I go to the trouble in this day and age, when I could easily drive to the store to get what I need.
I think gardening is something I inherited. My grandparents were farmers. When they moved from the farm into town, essentially their entire backyard was devoted to growing food. I fondly remember helping Grandma pick green beans then sit on the back porch, colander in her lap, and snap them with her to prepare them for dinner. Or being with Grandpa in the middle of the blackberry patch on a hot summer day (I swear most of the berries made it to the kitchen for the pie).
My favorite though was when we'd go visit and I'd get up really early before the rest of my family and head down to the kitchen. Grandma would already be up fixing breakfast and we'd go out and pick strawberries fresh with morning dew.
My Dad, following their example, has always had a garden. He has about 1/3 of his yard as vegetable gardens. He spends hours cultivating the soil and picking his "crops." I grew up helping dig and plant, weed and harvest. Whenever I'm there I always ask to see his garden. He takes great pride in the fruits of his labor and always sends me home with tomatoes. There's nothing like the beefsteak tomatoes he grows.
When we moved into this house I knew I wanted to have a garden and grow some vegetables. My husband built a raised bed with a trellis area for plants with climbing vines.
Each year I make my selections of what to plant. Some years are more plentiful than others (the year of the cherry tomatoes) and some choices don't work out (watermelons have been a big failure). It is such a pleasure to walk out back and pick a zucchini for dinner, grab a couple tomatoes to add to a salad, or harvest cucumbers to make a great cucumber pasta salad. My girls would help me when they were younger. This year the only help I got was in selecting what to plant (what they wanted to eat). I very well might be the end of our family vegetable gardening. But I hope that maybe one day when they have their own plot of land they'll get the urge to get dirt under their nails and continue the heritage.
10 months ago