August 5, 2016
“I can’t wait to plant [a garden] next year!” were the first words Terri said when I called to check in on this Friday evening. “How is your garden doing?” she asked. We shared our successes and failures. She was quick to say what she would do differently, clearly taking away more than just fresh vegetables from this experience. She said that she wants to learn to preserve what she has so it lasts through the winter months. She lost her cucumbers, broccoli and onions. But is having success with tomatoes, bell peppers, rosemary, parsley, basil, squash, and cantaloupe. “I’m so proud because we’re growing our food, using our food, and being creative with it. And to know my kids are eating something grown without chemicals!”
I had been out of town and Terri and I had been communicating about various crises during July, but not much about the garden. So we finally had a moment to talk and she shared what it was like to take the first bite of a green bean from their garden. “I didn’t even cook it. It tasted so good! And to hear Aydan smack his lips—after eating green beans!” She explained that all of the kids check the garden every day, each one frustrated with the other if they miss the opportunity to pick the vegetables. Terri says that the children recognize that these vegetables taste different from what’s in the store, and she loves that they are learning where their food comes from.
Text from Terri: “Cats are using our garden for a litter box. Don’t ask how I know.”
Text from Terri: “Look!! Our green beans have grown from a seed to a plant!! I’m so happy! Something is still eating the other plants but we have green beans!”
I went to Terri’s house with Katy so she could provide some gardening advice and help her protect it from insects and animals. Terri is full of stories about the garden. She explains that Avery checks on it daily, as does Aydan. Her son wants to sleep outside in order to catch the “critters” who are causing problems. Terri says that she plans to share her vegetables with neighbors, or others who are in need.
Terri texts an update. The garden is growing, but there are “critters” eating her plants.
Rain did not stop Katy from building the raised garden bed. Terri said that she does not spend much time in her backyard because she has many anxieties over what lives back there–mainly snakes. But then she stated, “I’m going to be brave. I’m doing this,” and dug her hands into the bag of soil and filled the pot designated for tomatoes. Katy and Terri planted onions, squash, broccoli, cucumber, cantaloupe, red, yellow and green peppers. Meanwhile, I ran out and bought some green bean seeds, gloves for the kids and Terri, and some gardening tools for the kids to use. The plan was to have Aydan plant the green bean seeds in order to contribute to the gardening effort.