I am somewhat miffed at myself that it took longer than I had wanted to get my garden planted, but then again, "its better late than never". There were several reasons that I wanted to plant a garden and here are some of the biggies:
We will save money
We will eat healthier by growing our own vegetables/fruit
I want to teach my son how to reap a harvest from the earth
Playing in the dirt is cool
Initially, I had grandiose ideas of the size and scale of this garden. Maybe it was a blessing that Hubby told me to 'start small'. I resented his condescending tone (he doesn't view me as a Gardener/Farmer of any sort and thinks he will wind up taking over my responsibilities), but in hindsight, maybe it was better to stay small and contained.
Last year he yanked out all of my precious rose bushes in the rose garden right outside my dining room windows. He replanted them at the barn and to this day, I still don't know what motivated him to destroy my pretty rose garden, but it became the perfect place to house my small little farm. He wasn't exactly thrilled that its not the most aesthetically pleasing view (yet!) from the dining room window, but ask me if I care? I'm too busy farming my veggies to have time to gaze at pretty things from the window anyways!
Taking our own eating habits into consideration, I planted things that we consume a great deal of. Tomatoes, for one. No brainer. This family probably has enough lycopene running through our veins to ward off prostate cancer for all the men in Texas! No joke, I make every tomato sauce from scratch, we love tomato soup, sliced tomatoes, pizza sauce, chicken parmesan, and so much more... tomatoes are a staple and a 'must have' in my garden.
Onions were another 'no brainer'. I planted red ones because I use them as the foundation of almost every sauce and seasoning, they go sliced on salads and sandwiches and are fantastic... There's also red and green peppers, watermelons, honeydew melon, sweet potatoes, peas, basil, oregano, thyme, and corn.
Ah yes, the corn... I'm a midwestern girl that grew up surrounded by the greatest corn in the world. Almost like osmosis, I seem to instinctively even know how to grow corn (though I've never done it before). I explained to Hubby as I planted that I needed more than one row because corn must cross-pollinate. He looked blankly at me and asked how on EARTH I knew that? I have no clue, I just do.
It was funny when I was planting the corn with our son and talking about how great it will be to eat corn we grow ourselves, when all of the sudden he put on a horrible face and proclaimed, "I'm not eatin' that corn!" (he loves corn). After a little prodding I found out that he "only likes corn from the store". Needless to say, we sat down and had a lengthy discussion about farmers and food, and where the food in the stores actually comes from!
As a rancher's kid who knows that cattle is ultimately raised for meat and milk, I figured he knew that the foods in the store (except the icky processed ones) originally came from farms and ranches just like his. Nope. If he doesn't know this information, then it's a safe bet that most children who are never exposed to a farm or a ranch certainly won't understand where their food comes from.
Or the cotton in their clothes. (cotton farmer!) Or the glue they use for projects. (horses!) Or the crayons they color with (soybean farmer!) Or the chairs they sit on (tree farmer!) ... oh gosh, I could go on and on....
So see? Our garden project is a lot deeper than just the roots of my tomato plants. It's a life lesson on many levels. I believe that there is a deeper appreciation and value for something sowed with your own hands, that you have tended and sweated over. It means more. It tastes better. It makes you feel good (not to mention you're eating healthier)!
I also believe that its important to understand how to take care of yourself and know how to grow things and 'live off the land' like our forefathers.
I think it is important to show my son that $1.00 of his hard-earned cash buys him one lousy red pepper at the store, but that same $1.00 could have bought him a whole packet of red pepper seeds that would yield red peppers for a whole year if he dedicates a portion of his day to cultivating those seeds instead of say... playing Nintendo? What does THAT cultivate? A whole lot o' nothing.
For me, it is an activity that will teach my family important lessons, but it is also extremely therapeutic for me. I like to dig around in the dirt, weed, be outside in the sunshine, and be 'one' with nature. It calms my thoughts, it boosts my creativity, and it relaxes me.
All the cool girls are farming, didn't you know? Go buy yourself an almanac and have at it! :)