I often think about gardening with my mom and grandmother when I was young. Time has softened the experience now, but the (hard) time spent in the garden as a wayward youth was usually as punishment.
Failure to do chores? That’s 2 rows of green beans to pick. Sassing? Better get out the hoe and start hoeing. Blisters and sunburn and sore muscles were the comeuppance meted out to mischievous boys at our house.
My time in the garden wasn’t always as a result of misbehavior. I remember going out to pick tomatoes and Mom tucking the salt shaker and a knife into her apron pocket. We’d pluck huge, beautiful beefsteaks from the vine and Mom would peel back the skin from the top with the knife and sprinkle it with salt. We’d eat’ em like gigantic juicy apples, warmed by the summer sun.
When picking peas, two thirds went into the bucket, the remainder into our mouths. Grandma would pull green onions from the ground, slice the root end off and pull off the outer layer before biting into one. But, of course, 10-year old boys want no part of raw onions.
Sometimes we’d even nibble on raw ears of corn, sweet as sugar. And if you’ve ever had sweet corn, freshly picked and thrust almost immediately in boiling water for a scant three minutes, than you’ve tasted heaven. Because the sugars in sweet corn start turning to starch the moment it’s picked, the shorter the time between picking and cooking, the more fantastic the treat.
I’m a suburbanite now, no longer with a 4-acre garden to plant and hoe and harvest. We make do with a few raised beds and a few extra vegetables tucked in among the flowers.
But we still want our kids to know what a tomato, fresh from the garden, tastes like. And asparagus. And sugar snap peas, which are our daughter’s favorite. If you want to taste any sugar snap peas from the few plants at our house, you’ll have to race her to them. Rare is the pea that survives the trip from the garden to the kitchen when she’s around.
We’re thankful we get to share this experience with our kids. And perhaps instill a little wisdom and the desire to be good caretakers of this big ol’ spinning rock we all share. At the very least we’ll eat well.
Do you have nostalgic connections to your garden?
What a wonderful post! I love the sound of eating that tomato while still warm from the sun. Brilliant! I know what you mean about eating as you harvest though. It is so easy to do with peas. Love home grown sweet corn, but rodents beat us to it last time I had it growing and I swore I would never grow it again. 🙂
Thanks, Julie! Sorry to hear about the cursed rodents stealing your corn…at least you know they have good taste 😉 Cheers, Ben
It’s great when you can share your love of gardening with your kids. Both of our kids have gardens of their own with our grand kids picking edible pea pods, fresh tomatoes and raspberries.
Agreed! Good when kids can enjoy some fresh produce as well!
Always a plus! And a sneaky way to get some get ’em to eat their veggies. Although, I’ve yet to convince my daughter of the deliciousness of tomatoes 😉
Wonderful! Love to hear about families passing along their love of gardening! Cheers, Ben
Mmm, warm tomatoes fresh from the vine…. sounds like a dream come true! I used to love picking and eating the peas at my Auntie’s farm… until we had a year with so many maggoty ones it put me right off! Lovely post Benjamin!
Thanks, Cathy! And yikes, maggoty peas would definitely put me off, too…hopefully, we can avoid that tragedy! 😉
Lovely post, sounds like a wonderful childhood and great you are sharing this with your children.
Thanks, Julie! In this increasingly digital world, it’s nice to unplug and spend a little time with our wee ones in the garden! Cheers, Ben
Eat well and do good work! Your post speaks of both. Indeed, it sounds like you are doing great work. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Jim! I’m toasting you with a virtual tomato! Cheers, Ben
You capture the joys of the garden perfectly, as well as the nostalgia for your youth. We are complete corn snobs–if we can’t get it from the farmer down the road, who often walks over and picks it when we drive up, we don’t bother with it!
Thanks so much! And once you’ve had the real thing, it’d hard to settle for anything less. Cheers to the Ears of August! 😉
Teaching your children about where fresh vegetables come from and how to grow them without pesticides is a lesson plan that will stay with them for a lifetime. 🙂
Thanks, Judy! And it provides lots of fond memories for us, as well! 🙂
I so appreciate your reflection on your childhood experience in the garden. My family grew a good portion of our meals and it was many years later that I realized what a wonderful gift that garden had been.
Thanks! Every minute spent in my childhood garden is now a fond memory (even if it was a pain then.) Cheers to sharing our gardening joy with family!
Ah yes, lost of nostalgia in the garden…I share your gardening as punishment memories. Oh, the endless tubs of spinach to wash and rinse!!! But also when our boys were little, nomatter where we lived there was always at least a few containers with tomatoes and swiss chard. I love that photo of the hands btw! Cheers, Johanna
Thanks, Johanna! And now I wouldn’t trade one moment of the “punishment” and memories it provided. 😉
Lovely post and so important to introduce the the next bunch to growing food and care-taking of the Earth.
Thanks, Tina! We’re doing our best! Looks to be a great weekend to get our hands in the dirt 😉
Your children are very lucky to have parents who want to make such great memories with them! 🙂
Thanks, Lori! We do our level-best and hope that it’s enough 😉 Cheers, Ben
My grand father was in his garden everyday until the age of 89 and I loved all his vegetables, they were so much better than the ones you could buy in the shop. Later in life, when I’ll have a house, I will love to have a garden.
I love the idea of passing along gardening traditions to the ones we love 🙂
Such a lovely post, Benjamin. Glad to have found it.
Thanks so much, Shannon! 🙂