Gone are the days when we are expected to garden for our survival. As I grew up, I always remember my grandparents gardening. They were some of the last of their era. They gardened because that is what they knew and what they did to feed their family. Even then the paradigm was shifting. My grandfather would work days at a grocery store and because of convenience and cost he began to bring things home from the store more and more. As the years went on their garden slowly got smaller and smaller. They still garden today, not because they have to, but because it is what they know. There is something beautiful and simple about that.
It may seem I am romanticizing gardening but that is not it at all. A gardener works hard and long hours in their garden to be able to enjoy the fruits of their harvest. The two best parts about gardening are knowing where/how/what went into your food (from seed to mouth), and the knowing of my history.
I remember as a young child helping my grandparents and parents in their quarter of an acre garden. Flashbacks to my youth were filled with memories of long hot summer days in my grandparent’s garden, summer canning, the snapping of beans and shelling black eyed peas. There is nothing that can bring a group together better than working a garden together and at the end of the day coming together for a meal that together you grew.
I think you can grow more by listening to those that have “grown” before you. I am not that little kid helping out in the garden but my grandparents and I share a common interest in gardening. Though these conversation with them I am gaining glances into our history. For example, last year when I started growing melons, I learned that my great granddaddy was a watermelon grower and he could grow some of the best watermelons in their community. They told me how he would save the biggest and best for collecting seeds from for the next year.
This was a story I had never heard before and probably would not have heard about had we did not share a common interest in gardening. I may not garden with my grandparents still, but they are still passing on our history of gardening to me, which I hope to be passing down to my grandkids one day. Happy growing!