Recently, I wrote about some of the skills that our parents and grandparents took for granted which we are not teaching our children any more. One of the most important skills I didn’t mention, and saved for today, is planting and tending a garden. I think it is so important that it warranted its own post.
First, I would like to start with a little history lesson about gardening. I never thought too much about gardening because I just assumed there have always been gardens since the Garden of Eden. It turns out that, while gardens have been around for a long time, they were primarily found in rural areas where there was enough land to support growing vast quantities of food. However, during the Second World War, there was a campaign for people to plant “Victory Gardens” at their homes.
“These vegetable gardens were needed to alleviate food shortages, because so much of the nation’s produce was being sent overseas to keep our troops and those of our allies fighting. With fewer men available to work the farms, there was less produce available. This custom of having a vegetable garden in one’s backyard survived for many years after the war was over, but it gradually died out.” http://www.offgridquest.com/survival/10-survival-skills-your-great-grandparen
I must admit, before my husband took on a small box garden, I was very intimidated by gardening. I’m not sure why I was so nervous about it, but I’m really glad he introduced this skill to our children. There has been a learning curve for us because we did not grow up in Arizona, but we have found that Arizona is an even more ideal climate than we expected. With the exception of the intensely hot months of July through September, we can have a garden almost all year long.
Our next step on the garden path is to regulate how much we grow. With some plants, we eat through our harvest before the growing season has come to an end, but with others it feels like we’re giving a lot away. Each growing season we need to think back to what worked and what didn’t so we can continue to improve our harvests.
Gardening is definitely a skill that will require patience because there will be bouts of trial and error. Gardening is one of those pursuits that do not always go according to plan. While there are many wonderful resources that allow us to learn from the experiences of others, we are still at the mercy of unpredictable factors beyond our control such as too much or too little rain, insects, and animals that get to our crops before we do. Gardening, for us at least, is as living and changing as the plants that we grow.
Patience, persistence, and fortitude are all great virtues that we teach our children when we introduce them to gardening.
If you live in the city, a suburb, or are blessed with acres of land to experiment with, I would encourage you to start investigating the potential benefits of caring for a garden.
“Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.” ~I Corinthians 3:7