I have wanted to write this post for quite some time, and I am finally getting around to it. I feel so strongly about this, that it’s almost hard to put into words. Having a garden has brought our tiny family so much closer. Not just to each other, but to the Earth as well. There is no doubt in my mind, that having a garden has been the most beneficial, and educational decision we could have made, and for that reason we continue to do it every year.
Gardening is something that takes a lot of hard work, determination, and sometimes research, but believe me it is worth it. Whether the only outdoor space you have is a city balcony, or you live on 50 acres, you can do it. Whether your children are babies or almost grown, just a small garden will fill them with unbelievable curiosity.
We live on a little lot in a small town, and in previous years we used cement block raised beds for our garden. Last summer, some of the kindest individuals we have ever met allowed us to plant a huge garden on their empty lot across the street from our home. Because of that, last summer was the most amazing experience we have had as a family. We worked so hard on that garden, and our family is so much closer because of it. Our children were able to plant the tiny seeds, and learn how they grow. They learned about eco-systems, the water cycle, patience, hard work, and so much more. The list is honestly never ending, and every year as they become older, there will be new lessons to be learned, and more knowledge to be gained.
Our four-year-old always insists on planting our seeds, and kisses every one to give it love and help it grow. Our two-year-old fills her belly with onions, pulled right from the earth. We didn’t have many this fall because most of them made it to her mouth before the basket!
Every morning we would walk across the street to check on the garden. Our children would check on the baby melons, squealing with excitement if they grew a large amount from the previous days’ rain. Their shoes would get torn off immediately so that they could squish their little toes in the mud as they walked up and down the rows of corn, measuring how much taller it was than them that week. Our two-year-old always plopped down in her sun dress and snacked on kale and onions as the tall corn shaded her, while our four-year-old investigated what kind of creatures were eating the tomatoes at night. We had old spoons we left there for play, and both of our children would dig for things. Our four-year-old would always comment that he was being and Archaeologist, with Miss 2 following, “Me too! Me too!” We could stay at that garden for hours every day, and the family time we spent there was incredible.
Not only were we able to watch our children play and learn, we all worked together towards a common goal- to help our plants grow. Even our 2-year-old helped pull weeds, water plants, and gather our harvest with her own special little bucket in hand. With their Daddy working during the day, it was so nice for all of us to have something to look forward to in the afternoons when he would arrive home. We would gather the supplies we needed, and hold hands as we crossed the street to that special place, and work until it was time for dinner on some nights. If we went on a weekend trip, it seemed like the first thing we all wanted to do (even before unloading the car), was check on the garden- to see what surprises it had for us.
The pride we all feel that we are able to grow that nutritious food on our own, and put it on the table for our children is an indescribable feeling, especially living in town without much land. We were able to can over forty quarts of green beans this summer, more zucchini bread than we knew what to do with, a freezer full of tomato sauce, plus fresh veggies most of spring, summer, and fall.
You wonder what the cost must have been to do this? I believe we calculated it to cost 56 dollars. That is including the cost of seeds, starter plants, and the cumulative water bills.
We do not spend money on herbicides. We plant extra, so if anything happens, we still end up with plenty. It just takes time, and I promise no matter how busy you are, you can always find a little time to work in the garden. It definitely has a therapeutic quality.
Our yearly garden has taught our small children so many lessons, but the one I feel is most valuble, is this: The Earth can provide for us the things we need. That is a lesson many people do not seem to remember anymore.
People feel as though they need to rely on big businesses, grocery stores, and so many other man-made things that they forget the Earth is capable of giving us what we need. We just need to show it a little love. People think dirt on their food is discusting… well, I’m fairly certain the chemical ingredients in the french fries they are munching on are much worse.
If you still need more convincing….
An Urban Garden is:
- Inexpensive/nearly free
- You know where your food is coming from
- No need to make extra store trips- just walk out and grab a tomato from the garden!
- A garden provides you with the opportunity to educate your children about various different topics
- Much more fresh than much of the produce you purchase from the store
- Give it a try! Learn something new!
- And just remember….
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