Monday, May 25, 2015

Plant Your Own Garden and Make Your Own Sunshine

My Lifelong Memorial Day Tradition - Gardening

Sweaty, Dirty and Happy! Nothing like spending time in your garden! 
For many people Memorial Day means picnics and BBQ's and honoring those who served! For me it was always about honoring those who served but it was also always the day that we planted our garden. I cannot remember a summer growing up that we did not have one. My parents would plant them with us and everyone would always help. When we moved out to our Christmas Tree farm when I was in the 4th grade gardening took on a new meaning. We have 28 acres where I grew up, while most of those acres are planted with trees there was still plenty of land all around our home. My great grandfather loved to visit our farm. He often would come up and stay the entire winter with us and always made a trip in the spring to help us put in a garden. He insisted that we had to wait until Memorial Day because of that chance for frost. The gardens we planted were always HUGE and some years we even would have two of them. We had so much fun all summer long "harvesting" all of the veggies we grew. Looking back I really didn't like to eat them all that much but I sure loved picking them. 
For the last two years I have made sure I took my son back to my dads house for the weekend to help him put the big garden in at Papa's house. Carter loves helping and I am sure he is making some memories that will last him forever! 

When it came time to move away when I got married Kevin and I packed up and moved to State College. We had a house that we rented with a decent sized back yard. I twisted his arm and talked him into putting one in for me. Coming from having a huge garden all my life I still wanted that. So we basically planted the whole backyard up :) He would complain all summer about how big it was but I think secretly enjoyed watching it grow as much as I did. 

Once we moved into our "real" house that we built I still wanted the garden but the trouble was the yard was a bit smaller and he wasn't so keen on the idea. I held my ground and that first summer we lived here we bought raised bed gardens. I have two of them. They are a bit of an eye sore but that garden means something to me. My little man now looks forward to our garden every year. He checks it daily with me and helps me pick everything. Some days I catch him picking before I ask and we end up with a few green tomatoes. For as long as he will be able to remember he will always grow up with a garden. I want to be able to teach him where food really comes from and to appreciate all of the hard work that goes into growing something. I want him to have his own when he goes off and raises his own family someday too and hopefully he will look back on all of his gardens growing up with fond memories. 

My husband helping me get the new dirt mixed in. He claims this isn't his thing but he's always a great help always! 
Today as I stood outside under a cloudless sunny sky ripping out weeds and planting new beautiful green plants I couldn't help but think of my "Pap" and how glad he would be that I am carrying on his tradition. I smiled knowing he was looking down on my garden and me and around mid summer I will make his famous zucchini bread with the zucchini from our garden! I love being able to honor his memory! Every year on this day I really think a lot about him!

This year we are growing tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe. green beans, green and red peppers, jalepenos, banana peppers, lettuce, basil, and rosemary. Probably a little too much for two raised beds but as usual I always try to grow more than I have room for. 

If you don't have a garden it is a tradition worth considering for you and your family. There is nothing more fun than watching something go from seed to harvest to your table. The work that goes into it is nothing compared to the rewards! 

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