Why? Because THIS:
Every spring, after a long, cold, dark winter has washed away any memories of the prior growing season’s trials, I awaken hopeful (and naïve?). Despite my husband’s warnings, and probably my better judgement, I persist in planting zucchini in my garden. Sure, I know that zucchini has the unfortunate reputation as being overgrown – there’s even a National Sneak Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Night (August 8 for those who like to plan) – but in my Maryland garden, attempting to grow zucchini can often bring heartache and pain.
Why? Because THIS:
Lays pinhead size eggs on the stems of my plants that hatch into the larva of which hatch and proceed to feed on the vines...
The 4th of July always brings back memories of our backyard vegetable garden when I was growing up. It was a goal to harvest our first zucchini by (or before!) this date in western Pennsylvania.
This July 4th, I am reminded of one of my very first blog posts on the Maryland Extension's now-retired Grow It Eat It blog, in which I shared 'Why I grow Vegetables'. I would like to share it here with you now:
There are many reasons people grow their own vegetables - they taste better than that store-bought stuff, they are healthier than that store-bought stuff (studies have been done!), you can get more varieties, it's a fun way to get outside and get moving, it's cost-effective. While I certainly gain all these benefits from growing my own, the truth of the matter is that I grow vegetables because of my Dad.
When I was a little girl, every summer I was always out working in our little backyard vegetable garden with Dad. He taught me how to grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, and others, I'm sure. This was just the way of things back then. Everybody had a garden. In fact, to this day I cannot buy zucchini in the grocery store because 'you are supposed to grow your own'.
I was 13 years old when my Dad passed away suddenly. I vaguely remember trying to have a garden for a few years after that, but without him it was no longer a priority. Anyway, I was busy trying to grow up - go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house (not necessarily all in that order!). It was when the house came, and I had my own land, that I was drawn again to growing vegetables. This was just the way of things, remember. I started small: a tomato in my flower garden, a hill of zucchini over there...Slowly but surely, each year my garden expanded, slowly replacing all the (inedible) ornamental plants that were taking up precious usable space.
As time went on, I found myself thinking more and more about my days out in the garden with Dad. Today I realize that some of the best memories I have of him were while we were out there, growing vegetables. When I'm out in my own garden, somehow I feel closer to him. I am honoring his memory, and carrying on his traditions. I still grow zucchini on mounds, like he did. I tie up my tomato plants with strips of old cloth, like he did. And when somebody asks me why I do these things, I proudly reply, 'because my Dad did it that way.'
Do you have a special gardening story? I'd love to hear it! Post a comment here or email me.
Happy Independence Day!
Here is where I share whatever herbal and well-being related musings that inspire me at the time. I am often inspired by the turning of the seasons.