I’ve moved around the country a LOT! And I’ve tried growing several gardens in many different climates. When I was a young child in Minnesota my parents owned an extra lot of land next to our house and we grew a garden in the back yard. It was gigantic! I still remember helping in the late evenings picking carrots and snap peas. Taking care of weeds and making sure I didn’t get bit by mosquitoes! I don’t know how much help I was back then, but I still remember feeling I was important and a big part of making the garden successful, I tried my best to be helpful. We had a lovely fragrant lilac bush that covered the entire length of the garden and I remember breathing in the perfume as I watched my dad working hard with a huge pitchfork and I put seeds into the ground. I’d love to have a garden that size now! My mother would preserve everything she grew. We ate what we could and stored much of it to eat during the winter months. We spent many Saturday mornings at the farmers market picking out large quantities of tomatoes, peaches and pears in large boxes to take home and can later. I enjoyed those days so much. The memories of working together as a family and eating what we saw grow right before our very eyes seemed magical and has stuck with me. I’ll never forget the feeling of pulling out my first large orange carrot from the ground with my two little hands. It was like opening up a Christmas gift.

I had a garden in Georgia, it was difficult to grow things there because of all the bugs, but I tried. When I was a student in Idaho, I remember freezing all the squash from a garden outside our side yard with my roommates so we could make zucchini bread. When living in Washington I had strawberries growing like crazy, along with blueberry plants and tons of lavender. When I lived in Ohio, I had the best tomatoes and green pepper plants I have ever eaten. I had a little garden off my terrace and it was perfect. It’s great having a garden now, and I’ve expanded it a bit this year but I’m still learning the tricks of Arizona gardening. These sad little candy onions were some of the last items I picked this season. They were supposed to be much larger than this, but I’m still happy I got them to grow and I’m using them in plenty of recipes. There is something very satisfying to me about growing a garden. There is more to it than getting great food! Working for my vegetables helps me to remember where my food comes from and to be grateful for it. We live in a world of convenience, we can drive through anywhere and have an instant meal right at our finger tips. We can open up a package that is already cooked! Gardening brings me closer to God. There is something very special about putting in the work. It makes me appreciate what I’m eating and it is so much healthier and better for my body. It is rewarding to watch a small seed develop into something I can eat and enjoy with a little effort on my part. It’s like watching a miracle happen. Growing my own food helps me to be more thankful and helps me to remember the many blessings I have in my life.