Have you heard about the new space-saving seed that grows tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and even radishes all on one plant?  I have not either.  Actually there is a plant that grows tomatoes and potatoes, but we will leave that for another time. Instead I want to talk about a seed you could plant that will return a bounty beyond measure; introducing a child to the joy and beauty of gardening. 

Growing up we always had a small vegetable garden.  Shoveling in manure from the neighbor’s farm was an annual task that literally stunk. I can remember planting seeds, weeding, and being sent to pick vegetables before dinner. I didn’t get a lot of joy from any of this; they were just chores that needed to be done to get my weekly allowance.  Every summer I would spend four or five days at my grandparents house without my family.  Days were spent helping grandma with chores which included tending her own garden, and every night my grandfather and I walked his dog.  That’s what I remember.  The time in the garden with my grandmother was much different than at home.  We dawdled in her garden. She talked about flowers, and how things grew.  We picked weeds while she told stories, then we would go in and cook dinner before my grandfather got home.  She planted a seed during those summer visits.  I did not realize it until decades later, but my grandmother introduced me to the joy of gardening.

Spend some time with your children or grandchildren out in the yard.  Whether you have a vegetable or flower garden, just spend a little time once in a while in the garden.  Talk about what you are growing.  Pick flowers to put in a vase. You can talk about butterflies and earthworms. Harvest some lettuce and tomatoes, and make the salad together.  When it’s time to go to the garden center ask them along, to help pick out plants.  While you are there, let them pick out their own flower, and maybe a flowerpot.

Thinking about our children I realized the same path has been followed.  As owners of a nursery, our children have had to begrudgingly help out on occasion. For them this is just another chore.  But when we visit my in-laws whose whole yard is a garden it’s a different story.  Here Elin helps me pick cherries for pies, and they walk around with their grandmother plucking berries from various shrubs trying to guess what fruit it is.  They cut flowers for the dinner table.  For our children the seed is being planted thousands of miles from home on a little farm in Denmark.

Article originally written by Eric April 2016

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