I was fortunate to grow up in a small town in Ohio on a large plot of country land. We were surrounded by trees, fields and lakes and the brilliance of a starry night that has become all too uncommon. Many of our neighbors were farmers and just about everyone had a garden which provided the nourishment for the upcoming seasons.
Each chilly spring our family would start saving egg containers which would soon become home to the many seeds we purchased on the exciting trip to the Hardware Store to pick out the crop of the year. These egg containers became tender beds in which to spout our young seeds. With hands in the dirt and our supplies laid out on the sidewalk, we would spend hours carefully filling each of the egg containers with dirt, and ever so carefully poking a hole in the dirt to gently deposit the seed that would soon come to life. We would then move the 20-30 containers into our Utility Room which because our make-shift greenhouse. These tender containers were placed on top of the washer and dryer, and a long fluorescent bulb was hung above to provide warmth and light. For weeks, my brother and I had the task of water and waiting for the day the 1st seeding began to awake from its hardy slumber.
As spring began to warm, we would head outside to determine where our garden would be placed. When the plot was identified, the rototiller would come out to till the land and prepare it for rows of tall standing seedlings just waiting to take a deep breath of fresh air. This part of gardening provided a thrill for my brother and I and allowed us to connect with the land to truly understand where our food came from.
When the chance of frost was gone, it was time to transplant. A whole day was dedicated to measuring and chalking the rows, carefully spacing and planting the seedlings as well as planting those seeds which required no sprouting, directly into the ground.
As the dog days of summer wore on, we would run out to the garden in the morning to see if anything new had transpired the evening before, spend afternoons watering and pulling weeds and patiently waiting for the day when Mom sent us out to the garden to pick fresh from the stalk sweet corn, juicy ripe tomatoes, sugar snap peas or new baby potatoes.
As I grew older and moved away from home, I began to miss the serenity and joy of having a garden and to taste the fruits of my labor. With children now, I want them to experience the joy and satisfaction of spouting; to watch life begin before their eyes. I want them know and understand where their food comes from and the energy that goes into producing something as beautiful as an heirloom tomato.
In years past, I had a small 10 x 12 plot of soil in my backyard that served as the family garden. But last year, when we put a patio in, our garden was the sacrifice. So this year, as my daughter came home with a medical glove fitted with a small seed in each finger left to sprout, (cute Daisy Scout project) I was determined to make sure those precious sprouts had a place to grow and thrive. So 10 pots later and a 4 x 4 plot of soil discovered, my children and I are now enjoying the joy of gardening in small pots and on small plots.
So tonight we will experience big taste. Our first green bean crop of the season was picked last night and while not in abundance, it will provide this family with a small bite of a big taste of the love that went onto giving those seeds the chance to do what they do best.