My Mother was an amazing cook who managed to feed a family of 7 very well despite her limited budget. Her large vegetable garden provided heaps of vegetables in summer and delicious pickles all year. As a child I helped prepare, plant and harvest vegetables from that garden every summer.

I felt respect for Nature when my hands were in the soft prepared earth, gently placing seeds in the soil. It requires patience to carefully plant at the right depth and space, sometimes one seed at a time. Next the miracle would happen as the sun’s life force energy would awaken these tiny seeds to germinate and grow into plants. I enjoyed the view as our vegetable garden transformed from mounds of brown dirt to delicate green plants sprouting in rows and patches.

There are valuable life lessons in growing a vegetable garden

It takes planning and preparation, first choosing correct varieties of vegetables, important when you live in Canada’s limited growing season. Second is preparing the soil and mixing in fertilizer, in those days my father hauled old cow manure to the garden and mixed it in with a rototiller. The soil wasn’t flawless, like dirt from bags, but it was rich in nutrients and ready to grow an abundance of nourishing food for our family.

After planting seeds, we made sure the garden was consistently watered to maintain healthy growth for all the plants. We all benefit from continuous growth throughout life, or we get stagnant and stuck.

Next the weeds must be pulled to make room for vegetable plants to receive the most sunlight and nutrition.

How many weedy people are present in your life, stealing nutrition and blocking sunlight?

As many vegetables grow, they become tightly crammed together and must be thinned out to allow the strongest to thrive. As plants mature they need to be harvested and evenly thinned again for the benefit of any remaining plants. Sometimes we must let certain people go to improve our quality of life.
Throughout summer I would run up to the garden and pick vegetables Mom needed, fresh ingredients for our next meal or her latest batch of pickles. My fondness for pickles comes from childhood experiences enjoying many tasty homemade varieties. Her generation learned to “get by” and “make do” with whatever ingredients were available. People loved her spicy sweet “Slab pickles” made from enormous overgrown cucumbers, we’d throw aside today. As a child it was fun carrying armfuls of these fat, faded, giant cucumbers to the kitchen!

My Mom was a caring woman who gave so much to her family, friends and endless relatives. My life was rather different as a mother working full-time running our business. She was able to give more of her time to family, home and community. When my children were young I did my best to create similar experiences for them. We had a vegetable garden each summer, so they could experience preparing, planting and harvesting. I felt this was a valuable life lesson for young children to learn about putting in effort and receiving a bounty of harvest along the way.

My son loved to pick and eat fresh green beans and tender peas while standing in the garden. It always made me smile, fondly remembering doing the same thing as a child. Freshly picked vegetables contain life force energy, it makes sense that we are drawn to enjoy their colour and fresh taste.

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