Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gardening with my son

Growing up in Cleveland Heights my mother always had a vegetable garden. After mowing the lawn I regularly put the clippings around plants in the garden with the extra clippings going into the mulch pile. I didn’t quite understand why we did these things, but I followed instructions. As the warm months passed by I recall picking tomatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots and berries from the garden – enjoying them on the spot or at the dinner table.

Fast forward twenty-five years and today I look around and don’t find the same number of gardens in the Heights area. Perhaps my childhood memory of our garden and our neighbors’ gardens formed a larger impression on me – thinking that everyone had a vegetable garden. Today though, it appears that gardening doesn’t fit into our busy lifestyles. To talk about your Blackberry today isn’t likely in reference to the fruit in one’s garden.

Last summer I began working with my two and half year old son in our yard. He sure has taken a liking to the weeding knife – as it can dig and make holes like no other tool. This spring he likes digging for worms, grubs and spiders. “Daddy… want to a see the worm?” Charlie asks a thousand why's each day, and at this point the teacher in me hasn’t tired of answering all of the why and how questions.

What a wonderful season to begin gardening with my son. I plan on building a small garden this summer so that Charlie and I can play in the soil, plant seeds, and watch the wonder of nature transform brown dirt into a bountiful harvest.

Who knows if we’ll ever get to eat anything this year - I’m not sure how successful our experiment will be. The deer may conspire against us and the demands of growing business make for long hours. But hopefully when I look back at this season, the draw of working in the soil – nurturing young plants and minds will have drawn me away from the business just long enough to build lasting memories for Charlie.

PS – I’d like to thank Mary, a customer on Torrington Road, Shaker Heights for sharing her stories about gardening with her children and youngest son in particular. Her stories several years ago planted the seeds for me to begin thinking about making our own garden. I welcome your stories about gardening, and in particular – ideas on making gardening fun and exciting for the little ones.

No comments: