Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway

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For the last eight years, I’ve lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the 20th floor of an apartment in the middle of Center City Philadelphia. I realize that some might see this as an enviable position, and really, I do recognize the many perks to my home (the block and a half commute to work is a particular joy).

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Nonetheless, I itch for outdoor space. For a deck on which to drink coffee in the summer and to feel the gentle heft of early morning sun, while still in my pajamas. For the ability to use the outdoors as extra refrigerator space in the winter. And for a little patch of dirt in which to grow my own tomatoes, cucumbers and climbing pole beans.

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Last summer, I chatted my way into a plot in a community garden (truly, I was at a happy hour and, over specialty cocktails, managed to mention to the the very right person how I yearned for growing space). It was about a mile and a half from my apartment and yet, it was heaven to have a bit of dirt to call my own. You see, I come from people who habitually plant edible things and so existing in a state of no backyard vegetable garden has been an unfamiliar and awkward position for me, even after all those years without.

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Happily, I’ll be returning to my twin bed-sized plot again this year and I couldn’t more delighted (even the profusion of mosquitoes can’t keep me away). This year I’m going to keep it simple, just tomatoes, kale and a number of herbs (last year, those damned vine borers destroyed my promising zucchini and cucumber plants. I can’t deal with that kind of disappointment again, so I’m skipping those plants for ones I know can survive the space).

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I realize that lots of you have started to plan your gardens (and your canning) and may have already placed your seed orders for the year. For those of you who haven’t, I’ve got a giveaway for you. I’ve have one set of Survival Seeds* from Hometown Seeds to send off to a lucky gardener. These are non-hybrid seeds, which means that you can save the seeds from your harvest and plant them again next season. They come packaged in a sealed mylar bag and are designed to keep for years (so even if you can’t use them this year, you can pop them into a cool, dark place and plant them next spring).

For a chance to win these seeds, leave a comment sharing a memory of a garden. I’ll select a random winner on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.

*For the record, I want to say that I do not preserve food or garden out of fear or a sense of impending doom. I know that there are lots of people out there who are motivated to acquire these skills because they believe some sort of global cataclysmic is imminent. Not me. I believe in hope and the ability of love to to triumph over fear and hate. I grown food because I appreciate the sense of renewal that it offers. And I preserve because it brings me joy (sun-ripened tomatoes in January!).

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235 responses to “Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway”

  1. My mother has always loved gardening. About 8 years ago my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so she had to put it on hold. We had to move to a new house – one floor, to avoid the use of stairs. She had so much going on she didn’t have time to think about gardening. Lately, he’s been so quiet and they have a routine, she has been able to start her garden again. She has created the most beautiful organic garden in her backyard (Texas) and I love to go visit when I can. I would love for her to have these seeds to add to her garden. πŸ™‚ Thanks for posting.

  2. I’ve gotten more serious about gardening the last couple years, and last summer spent many afternoons with my 4 year old son picking cherry tomatoes and eating them in the garden – there’s nothing better! Thanks for the contest!

  3. as a kid, my mom, sister and i used to plant a giant plot of land (about 40 feet by 40 feet) full of all kinds of delicious things! we would weed and water and at the end of the season can as much as we could. i looked forward to the winter months when we would pull down the canned green beans to eat with dinner (they were my favorite). it was a lot of work, but looking back, we had a lot of fun too.

  4. When I was a kid, in our front yard there was a tiny strawberry patch, walled off by rough stones, that grew the teeniest strawberries ever. By the age of five I was dodging around the dogwood and over the rosebush to start looking for the flashes of red I would immediately stuff into my mouth. Once I got older and less afraid of the briars, I did the same with the wild raspberry canes that grew haphazardly next to the woodshed in the back. The pale pink raspberries were hard to spot, and you got scratched, but oh so worth it.

  5. I love planting my garden every year – seeing what thrives, what doesn’t and what my dogs like to dig up… πŸ™‚

  6. My favorite garden memory is following my grandmother around her vegetable garden, helping to gather tomatoes, squash, and all kinds of other magical things. And fresh cut zinnias…still my favorite.
    This is the first year that I’ll have my own green patch to call my own and would love to start out with some of these seeds!

  7. My grandfather had a huge garden plot that always had corn, tomatoes, and peppers. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so I now realize how ambitious he was to get those things to grow well here.

    Miss you, Grandpa.

  8. Amusingly enough I hated gardening as a child. My father would move the garden around the yard each year, so all I remember of gardening was digging up sod every year and thwacking grass pieces with a trowel until all the dirt was off…lots of sore arms and backs.

  9. I have so many memories of gardens that it’s hard to pick just one! Both of my grandmothers were florists, so I’ve been planting things for as long as I can remember. I got away from it for a little while when I lived in NYC, but when we bought our house in East Kensington, I was a little worried about how we would do it in our all-concrete backyard. But we’ve made it work…with containers! (You can see last year’s set up in one of my old blog’s posts, here: http://lauradraperdesigns.blogspot.com/2009/06/maybe-i-should-just-change-name-to.html) I am really excited about this year because I will be building beds, right on top of the concrete, so that we can do a little bit more farming, this year (which means more canning…yay!). I would say that my fondest gardening memory is probably last year’s success in not only planting a successful veggie garden in containers, but also transforming our backyard into a nice oasis where my husband and I spent alot of quality time, together and with friends.

  10. We rotate tomatoes through the yard and last summer the majority were out front. I loved watching the girls graze on them on the way in for dinner. The big kid because she did so knowing that she had seeded, transplanted and tended to them since early spring and the little kid because she once packed away 37 cherry tomatoes before I finally called it. She was 15 months old at the time. πŸ™‚

    Although I may pinch a couple for us, should I be the lucky recipient, these will be going to my girls’ school. They are really working on getting the kids connected and involved in the food supply and I am all about encouraging it. Planning on spending a day teaching my oldest daughter’s class about canning this summer. Thinking cold packed fruit since many of our big summer canning (tomatoes and jams) involve a little swearing and/or a burn or two.

    Best wishes with your garden!

  11. My favorite garden memory would have to be visiting my great-grandpa as a kid. We’d go out into his garden, and he’d pull these amazing carrots right out of the ground. We’d wash them off in the hose (or not!) and just take a huge, delicious bite. No carrot has ever tasted so good.

  12. I am hoping to make gardening memories this year, in addition to calluses on my hands. I just hauled two loads of soil to the top of my shed roof; we’re hoping to plant a living roof, complete with edibles and succulents!

    That sounds amazing! I hope you post pictures of it when it starts to thrive! -Marisa

  13. My favorite memory is actually last year – my husband and I had just bought a house and he helped me from start to finish. The joy on his face when he picked his very first tomato was worth every second of our hard work.

  14. I remember my mother’s garden as a child – there was an enormous raspberry bush in the back corner that kept threatening to take over the entire garden, but it made the best raspberries I’ve ever had. I would spend hours out there picking raspberries, eating half of them and pretending to be Laura Ingalls. We also had a hybrid apple tree – it was half golden delicious and half McIntosh, grafted together after a rabbit attack, and the apples were tiny, incredibly sweet little things. If we managed to save them from the birds, they made the best applesauce I’ve ever tasted.

    Sarah, it sounds like we were practically the same kid. I did lots of Laura Ingalls pretending as well. -Marisa

  15. Planting a garden was one of the first things my boyfriend and I did when we moved in together several years ago and it is still one of our favorite things – from the planning, seeding, prepping, planting, weeding, harvesting, and of course, battling the local deer herd.

  16. I honestly don’t have any gardening memories as of yet, only the hopes of making some. See, I’ve been discovering the beauty of fresh, whole foods over the last couple of years, and now I’ve decided I’d like to grow my own. My husband and I have just recently moved back much closer to my parents, and my dad (who has recently taken up gardening) and I are planning to plant a garden in his back yard. As it turns out, I’ve recently found out I’m pregnant, so I hope to start and continue a tradition of planting with our child as well. πŸ™‚

    Oh! Congratulations, Diana! -Marisa

  17. My parents are both serious green thumbs, but I sadly didn’t inherit that gardening gene. Summer always meant plenty of zucchini, strawberries, tomatoes, and chives (and one summer, one baby watermelon!) My favorite memory is probably just puttering around the backyard with my mom as she weeded. She’d pluck a few ripe tomatoes off the vine and hand them to me as an afternoon snack. The sweet earthy taste of those luscious tomatoes always transports me back to my childhood.

  18. I hear ya on the no green space, although I doubt I have the view to quite make up for it – living in a second floor apartment in lovely, if lacking in skyline, Drexel Hill.

    The lack of yard bothers me more from a grilling, drinking tea and reading a book in fresh air standpoint. I come from a family where yard work meant raking leaves in the fall and picking up sticks before my Dad mowed the lawn in the summer. We had a few potted plants and my Mom was particularly fond of pansies. We did not grow anything that ended up in our bellies.

    But this year things will change! I am mailing off a check to my local community garden this very afternoon. I was recently gifted a gorgeous canning essentials kit and can’t wait to grow some cucumbers and turn them into pickles. I am full of hope and enthusiasm, but low on getting my act together. (No seeds to speak of, as of yet) Anyway, I’d love the ones you’re offering. I partially credit your blog with making me yearn for a garden. I want to grow my own food, participate in more Dark Days meals and can can can!

    Thanks for your generosity πŸ™‚

  19. I started a tomato garden last year, with four types of heirlooms. I watched carefully as the plants grew, tomatoes sprouted, and the fruit grew to near-ripe gloriousness. When I went to harvest what should have been several perfectly-ripe tomatoes, I discovered that a @*#$@& bird had stolen every single tomato. The jerk even left chunks of munched tomato flesh on my sidewalk to taunt me! I’m read for the birds this year, though!

  20. I remember my dad always having a pretty big garden. Sometimes one of my grandfathers or my great-grandfather would share some of the space. I remember my dad would always prepare the garden in the spring by burning off everything that was left in the fall. I wish I could do that in town! I remember the year my grandfather planted what must have been a Red Robin or Tiny Tim cherry tomato plant for me because it only grew about a foot tall. I didn’t know anything about what determinate meant then, but I sure was surprised and sad to find it dead in September. I also remember my dad growing some unusual varieties like yellow pear tomatoes or giant jackolanterns. I hope my boys have some of the same fond memories, but more than that, I hope they grow up feeling like having a garden, even in town, in a completely normal thing to do.

  21. When I was younger, my parents moved us from an urban house on 1/6 of an acre to sub-suburbs, with over 8 acres. One of the bonuses for the move was a large garden that my mother carefully tended with our help. I still remember eating still-warm tomatoes like apples, searching for beans amongst their leafy vines, and discovering overgrown zucchini. My favorite memory, however, was the time my mom hatched a clutch of garden snake eggs with her hoe while turning the soil in a raised bed to plant herbs. It startled her, to say the least. We took a couple of the unhatched eggs to school in little cages, and watched as they hatched on the windowsill of the classroom. I learned a lot about life those summers.

  22. My memory has to do with my parent’s garden and having to prepare specific vegetables to submit to the county fair for 4-H. It got to be a bit more complicated as the years went on since each year had to have more unique vegetables than the year before. It got so ridiculous that one year a judge asked me what we do with swiss chard, how do we eat it? I couldn’t answer because we didn’t eat it – we only grew it for display.
    Looking back it was so wasteful and I am a bit embarrased by it. As I begin to plan for my first garden this year, I am starting small and thoughtful.

  23. I remember helping my dad plant over 300 tulip bulbs, every summer for almost 5 years before any of them started growing. Seems like awfully expensive fertilizer.

  24. My mom had a garden for a couple years when I was young. I remember going to pick beans before dinner almost every night.

  25. When I was first Married we rented an apartment above a sweet older Itallian couple, Mr B asked me if I wanted a garden and of course I said Yes, well that year I had 50 tomatoe plants not to mention almost everything else he would give me to plant. we came in the fall so when we frist moved in Mr B would put all kinds of things to eat on my porch for our little family. I will never forget getting zuccihne, didn’t know what to do with them. so I asked his wife Mrs. B, she expalained what they where and how to cook them. and I have had a love affair with them ever scince. He had a green house something my husband and I will build this spring, I am so excited about it. he had a pot belly stove in it to keep it warm all winter. that Spring I got to garden and weed everyday he had barrels of water along the premitar of the garden, with Manure in it too. He called it tea for the plants, it was warm and full of good stuff for the plants.he would gently pour a coffee can full on each plant. That FALL I had a thirty five pound pumkin, we had a compation going I won for the biggest pumpkin. My Mother in law taught me how to can tomatoes and pickles that year too. So ever since then I had a love for gardening.

  26. My grandma had a garden when I was growing up – mostly I remember the grapes, and the sweet homemade grape juice we would enjoy all year long. So now it’s an incredible gift that my home came with old grape vines. My grandma gave me her old steam juicer, so now I make grape juice of my own!

  27. One year when I was a kid, my mom fenced off our tiny 5′ by 5′ back yard and planted all the vegetables she could stuff in there. Before this point for most dinners my mom would open a couple of cans. This was the 70s so the only tomatoes you could buy were pale, mealy and completely flavorless. The first fresh tomato I ever ate came from that tiny garden, and it was an epiphany.

  28. We planted our first vegetable garden last summer, and it was so much fun! My favorite memory is my daughter eating all of the grape tomatoes right off the plant! This year we’re planting one for her, and one for the rest of the family!

  29. My mother has always been an avid gardener. When I was a young teenager she used to have to bribe me with a new pair of jeans to get me to go to the nursery with her…man did I have her wrapped around my little finger! Now, as an adult, I’m so thankful her love for gardening has taken hold in my soul. Both my husband and I have a true passion for this hobby, and really enjoy getting our two young daughters (3 & 4) involved as well.
    Thanks for the chance to win….a very fun giveaway!

  30. My mother always kept a wonderful vegetable garden when we were growing up. Sadly, somehow I was often “too busy” to help out with it. I remember that the sandy Jersey soil was easy to till and weeds were easy to pull. Mom was happy to spend time working in her garden. We all enjoyed the fruits of her labor and were repeatedly amazed at the delicious fresh dishes she prepared. Thankfully my husband’s parents were gardeners, too. When we had a family of our own we started our own vegetable patch and have been growing food for our table ever since.

  31. If you want a little more space for shade-friendly plants, I have just acquired permission to garden on an open lot. I’ve claimed the sunniest part for obvious vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and a summer squash) but I’m have no ideas what to do with the partial shade.

    But part of why I’m at this new location is because I had late blight in the small backyard garden I had last year, so that area is getting all new plants to me. I’ve never grown beans before. And I’m considering cucumbers. So sure, random seeds would be a great inspiration.

  32. When I was a kid, our neighbor whose land was behind ours was Mr. Holland, a retired man who had worked for the Cornell Ag School. He was very good with plants and had a beautiful asparagus patch, grape vines, and raspberries. One year he made it a point to tell our family that he had more raspberries than he knew what to do with and invited us to come pick them. The raspberries were huge and beautiful and I’d pick them into Ball jars for my mom to freeze (eating at least half of them).

  33. I garden because I appreciate real, *fresh* food – knowing what has been used to grow the plants, as well as where the seeds came from (I am very much into not supporting agribusiness as much as possible – buying local, farmer’s markets, even butchering my own chickens). My favorite gardening memories always involve picking real, fresh tomatoes – I adore the scent of tomato vines on a warm summer day! I appreciate all of your commenters, as well. I’ll have a few new blogs to visit!

  34. When I was growing up, we always grew tomatoes and cucumbers and some herbs. My mom build a raised bed with a huge trellis for the cucumbers, something I want to try building this year.

    The last few years, my husband and I have started our own garden. First in containers, and now in some long narrow raised beds. Last year’s success was potatoes, so easy to grow! Now we just need to figure out how to keep a woodchuck from eating all the tender plants. But really, who can blame him!

  35. While I’ve been gardening on a small scale for a couple of years, my fondest gardening memories involve family members.
    The only flowers I even consider growing are the ones my mom or my Gram are so fond of.
    But the memory that sticks out most for me is spending time in my grandmothers yard, pulling up mint that was invading the rest of her garden and yard. While by brother snuck parsley into his mouth, nearly finishing the plant off (he was only 5 or 6)

  36. I grew up in a little town in WV about 15 minutes away from the Ohio river. I grew up on 32 acres and we always always always had a big garden. Corn, tomatoes, onion, sweet peppers, hot peppers, garlic, asparagus, cucumber, yellow squash, green beans, zucchini, lettuce, watermelon, potatoes, turnips, beets, occasionally cabbage and strawberries, and always the blueberry bushes, cherry trees and blackberry brambles. Just across the river in Meigs county Ohio there are farms all along the river where in mid to late august you can get a bounty of produce for pennies compared to the grocery store. My dad would always make up for whatever he didn’t grow with trips across the river. We would pick a bushel of tomatoes for $2 and ears and ears of corn. Coming home with his truck bed full of the smells of summer. We would can tomatoes and tomato juice, hot pepper mix, green beans, pickled beets, cucumbers, jam, The corn would get frozen…right along with the freezer jam and some whole peaches we picked up. I remember stringing beans until I didn’t think my little fingers could take much more. And when my grandpa got older and couldn’t make his own tomato juice, well we just had to can 100 quarts for him too…often we canned 250-300 quarts of tomato juice alone…not even counting the whole tomoatoes or anything else. We always ate well…the bounty of summer on the coldest day of the year. I live 6 hours away from there now in a second story condo. With a balcony. I do what I can on my balcony – lots of herbs, lettuce, some green onions and squash etc. I wish I could find a community garden, but the closest ones I can find are 30 minutes away. I still head home in mid to late August though…and the whole way back…you better believe my packed car smells just like summer.

  37. My favorite garden memories revolve around my grandfather’s house in Arkansas. Some avid gardener had lived there before my grandfather and the variety of plants was wonderful. Cedar, sweet gum, sassafrass, black cherry, sour cherry, black walnut, quince, pine, catalpa and other trees. Flowers including four o’clocks, lilacs, grape hyacinths, daffodils, regular hyacinths, day lilys, and others. The hyacinths, which had only 2-3 blossoms to a stem (but I didn’t know they were supposed to be fuller),made the most fragrent bouquets. Summer nights we would go to sleep with the scent of the four o’clocks coming in the open windows. We tried, unsuccessfully, to catch rabbits with freshly pulled carrots, a box, some string and a stick. I could go on all day with the wonderful memories

  38. I grew up with my parents gardening. Many of meals were made with vegetables from their garden. My husband and I have also enjoyed growing a few things in our garden. We love the quality and taste of the tomatoes that come right out of our garden.

  39. As kids, we earned allowance by digging grubs out of the garden (10 cents each!). Spending time in the garden gave me a lifetime appreciation for the outdoors that I still pursue today.

  40. Gardening with my father as a child…we watered a very large garden with a well and a hand pump, let’s just say I was a strong child!

  41. Some of my favorite memories of childhood including running out to the large vegetable garden my mother had cultivated and picking tomatoes, zuchini, squash for a summer salad. As an adult, with a small deck large enough for a few containers, I’ve been trying to recreate some memories. So far, I’ve had luck with lettuce and tomatoes. Looking forward to being more creative this year. Thanks for the chance to win some seeds!

  42. I started a garden last summer, then just as my plants were beginning to fruit, I moved 2,000 miles away. I gave the plants to friends who ate well that summer. This summer I want to eat food that I’ve grown. We just tilled our new “front yard farm” last weekend with some friends. We have a small problem, we want to grow EVERYTHING!

  43. I guess it wasn’t a garden so much, but I remember picking and collecting figs off my grandparents’ tree! They also had peppermint growing along their fence, something that never ceased to amaze me as a child.

  44. I remember eating warm cherry tomatoes off the vine, and digging carrots out of the garden and gobbling them down after a quick rinse with the hose. Thanks for the opportunity to win these lovely seeds.

  45. my fondest garden memory happened just last year when i picked my very first sun gold cherry tomato off the vine. i waited weeks and weeks for them to turn and finally one morning they did. little did i know that in the weeks to come i would be absolutely flooded with millions of those tiny orange jewels but that first one popped into my mouth early in the morning was heaven!

  46. As a kid, I spent spring and summer afternoons in our vegetable garden with my mom, aerating, digging, weeding, and picking. Three memories stand out: my mom insisting on planting rows of marigolds around the garden, to keep out rabbits (it never worked that well, but it looked so pretty); picking green beans, crouched over and loving the feel of the sun-warm vegetables in my hand; and the taste of tomatoes that we had just picked, as we ate them like apples over the kitchen sink.

  47. When my BC and I were first married (8 years ago) we moved into a tiny 1-bed apartment in the middle of the city, no grass, no dirt in sight BUT a large porch / stairway that was shared with our three nearest neighbors. Our first Spring there, I proceeded to scrounge every pot and planter I could find and started my first true veggie container garden. At first the neighbors were not sure what to think (other than, those young kids are creating a fire hazard or now the porch looks like a jungle) but by mid-Summer I’d open my windows to see 80-year old Eli combing through the cherry tomatoes and our landlord Jack pinching off sugar snap peas. It became this amazing little source of community in an area where people live close for years and still don’t know each other’s names.

    In two weeks we’ll be moving into a house with a huge backyard and I’ve been positively salivating over the idea of planting my very first, “in ground” garden. Can’t Wait!

  48. My mom always had a garden so I do too now that I have my own yard. I think the absolute best part about gardening is the volunteer plants that appear – either from compost I added in or who knows. Last year I had volunteer dill, tomatoes, and squash.

  49. My favorite memories of growing up are of my brother and I helping my father with the family garden. Helping to pick peas, potatoes, carrots, corn, pumpkins, and the like were so exciting for us. It was the best way to spend a summer evening, helping until it was too dark to see. I’ve had a townhouse for years and have planted what I could in pots. My husband and I bought a house last fall and I am so excited to start a garden just as soon as I can this spring, and would love the seeds to help get started. Thanks for entering me in the drawing!

  50. I’ve had my own little garden at my parents house since I was very young. Last year we planted purple carrots, beans, squash, eggplant, chiles, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes, burdock, chard, fennel, sato-imo, leeks, scallions, tomatoes, artichokes and I’m probably forgetting a few things. I love going out into the garden during the summer and taking pictures of my bountiful (and sometimes not so bountiful) harvest daily.

    I also love climbing up my valencia orange tree and swinging from branch to branch picking the ripest oranges

  51. Thanks for the inspiration to start planting! We did our first vegetable garden last year and it was so easy and fun. Our yellow cherry tomato plant went into overdrive when it was too late for them to ripen. Fortunately, we found a recipe for green tomato enchilada sauce and made 12 batches for the freezer. Still making our way through those…

  52. One of my favorite memories…
    We plant a large garden every year and include lots of different vegetables and flowers. In August, at the peak of the season, we have a birthday party and there are usually 10-15 school age children. I love to watch them ramble through the garden, picking different tomatoes and beans, finding caterpillars and butterflies to watch, making a small bouquet for their mothers. Their amazement cannot be contained and it’s so rewarding to witness the fun!

  53. My gardening memory is the HORROR of my mother finding me hunkered down between rows of peas eating as much as I could, right around the end of June, every year I could usually get out there around dusk and get quite a few mouthfuls in until she found me. I never understood how she found me until I got older – our dog would hang out with me and her high white and yellow tail was some flag in the wind for my mom to see. πŸ˜€

    I should note: our garden was our food, we grew and canned/froze over an acre of garden every year. We were poor, but we ate very well!

  54. Last year was my first attempt at my ‘own’ garden. I grew up in PEI, Canada and I helped my grandfather plant a (mostly potato) garden every spring. I realized, early on, that planting a garden in mid-coast Maine was extremely different! First the groundhog dug everything up and what was left, the turkeys ate! Yikes! This summer, I’ll be much better prepared for gardening with animals around – I’m locking the garden up!

  55. I hope your gardening year is a success!

    The Seed vaults are so interesting. I’m going to be making my own with my seeds orders this year. I figure I’ll get more for my money because my seeds will last longer and I won’t have to buy as many seeds each year.

  56. my first gardening memory is from when I was about 5 years old. We lived in Bakersfield, CA and my mom would let me and my sisters ‘help’ in her garden. It was mostly us pulling weeds, but hey it was fun back then. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

  57. Last summer was my first adult attempt at my own garden. I don’t have garden space as U live in a bitty downtown apartment much like yours, and haven’t found someone to chat up at a bar in order to jump to the top of the garden plot waiting list. So last summer I bought, borrowed, acquired and created as many bit pots as possible and covered my front steps with a pot garden. At one point in the summer there were so many that we had to go up the neighbour’s steps and across the balcony in order to get into our apartment! We, of course, repaid them in delicious heirloom tomatoes and home-cooked food. Can’t wait for this summer!

  58. I always thought it was the grossest thing ever that my grandpa would save the fish heads from all of his fishing trips to place in the bottom of each planting hole. Little did I know that it was one of the main reasons he had such great tomatoes!

  59. My adoptive grandparents grow a huge, backyard-sized garden. I’ve loved getting fresh tomatoes from them and I’m starting my own garden this year!

  60. My husband and I did a ton of hard work building a large fenced garden with 6 raised beds last Spring. Despite really bad weather much of the time, we worked many weekends clearing the area, measuring everything out, sinking the fence posts, building the fence and the beds, covering all the areas outside of the beds with materials to keep weeds out and then lots of mulch, filling the beds with all of the necessary soil and compost, and then finally we put in the seeds/seedlings and were able to watch things grow and eat.
    We had wonderful veggies and learned a lot in the process, and I can’t wait to plant again this year. Of course I am happy that the garden is already built but I will miss all the time we spent together in the building process. It was great exercise too!

  61. I remember picking lemons with my grandmother and then watching her make the best lemon bars with what we picked. I loved the smell of the lemons and flour!

  62. A few years ago, when my four year old was a baby, I would garden with him in a backpack. I looked around to find him with a big tomato in his chubby hand that he had manages to reach and pick!

  63. My favorite memory is from about 4 years ago – my two young daughters (3 and 4) eating practically our entire crop of peas straight from the garden. They would stand at the edge, pick, shuck and eat right there – the ground was littered with empty pods!

  64. I really, really miss my tomatoes. Although they were only in pots, I had quite a system–top secret fertilizer mix, daily watering, homemade cages, daily visiting and love–and bored everyone with describing my love for them. I’ll be really happy when I have space for them again.

  65. One of my favorite garden memories is with our first garden. We live in the city. My husband “designed” our watering system with hoses and sprinklers and other creative things and I remember sitting there with the water on simply listening to the sound of the water….it was musical and beautiful. The city sounds were gone and only the garden sounds remained….truly a gift.

  66. My favorite garden memory was sneaking into my best friend’s parents’ garden when we were little. We would spend an hour eating green beans, lima beans, and tomatoes right there in the garden. When her mom caught us, we would always get it trouble — it was worth it!

  67. I think I am into my fifth season of vegetable gardening, wherever I go I can’t help but dig in. Four years ago my roommates and I spent a good hour or so constructing a tent made of quilts and bamboo poles around our infant tomato plants that we optimistically put out a little early. I have a lot of garden memories but that may be one of the silliest.

  68. My only gardening memory is from when i was in elementary school and my parents started a little plot in our backyard. I was allowed to plant a patch of anything i wanted. I chose strawberries and they grew wonderfully. So wonderful, in fact, that by the third summer, they had taken up nearly half the garden. My parents don’t live in that house anymore, but i still wonder if the strawberry vines are making their presence felt in the back yard.

  69. I would to win these πŸ™‚ I know it’s weird, but one of my favorite garden memories is eating potatoes right from the ground! They’re like a special secret. I would go out there every weekend with my mom and mound the dirt up and then when I finally got to dig into the hills, I couldn’t resist. I just wiped it off on my shorts and took a bite like it was an apple. I still sneak a little raw potato every once-in-a-while.

  70. I, too, have been itching to start a garden of my own. The good news is that since last summer, I’ve moved into an apartment with a yard just itching for one! Winning these seeds would be a joy.

    As for my garden memory, I have many. My favorite comes from gardening with my Grandma, who is an Iowa farm woman. In addition to her crops, she keeps a small garden for a variety of vegetables. Although the food she grows is delicious, my favorite part of gardening with her was (still is) her hat. She owns a bright orange straw hat with a big black bow that wraps around her chin to keep it in place on her head. She’d sometimes let me wear it when I helped her garden as a child. She still wears it when she gardens and I still love it!

  71. These days, we live on an urban lot, so we don’t have much space for gardening. But, I LOVE being able to open the back door and hop over to the garden to grab a bite of sunshine during the late summer months. We have two small raised beds that we fill with any number of “rarities” — heirloom varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos. Most of the food we eat over the course of the summer, but some (as in the case of the tomatillos, which produce like crazy) we put up.

    The first year we gardened in our yard, we started a compost pile in a black bin right next to our garage. Seems that whenever we would take out our kitchen scraps to throw them into the bin, we were always finding odd objects inside the bin. One day, it was a number of old G.I. Joe dolls. Another day, it was a few large sticks. Finally, one afternoon we noticed our neighbor opening our bin and tossing a couple of soda cans in. I stopped her and explained that we were trying to start a compost pile. She laughed. Apparently, she saw us dragging our “trash” outside, so she assumed that it was a garbage can!

  72. Amen to the non-gloom ‘n doom! These do look like amazing seeds, and since I haven’t planned anything except that I joined a CSA for the first time, maybe some seeds would come in handy! I come from Gardener stock, too, but my citified self doesn’t have quite the capabilities of my countrified self. Doesn’t stop me from trying every year, tho!

  73. My best garden memories from childhood involve a dear neighbor who had a huge garden. I got to help her a lot, and learned almost all I know about gardening from her. The more I learn from other sources, the more I discover that everything she taught me was spot on!

    Would certainly love to win some seeds. Our garden will never rival the former neighbor’s but we do what we can.

  74. I have fond memories of the dozens of fruit trees we had at my childhood house. Every summer my grandma would come out to visit, and we’d make jams from the plums, apricots and peaches. I miss it so much!

  75. My favorite garden memories are from my grandparent’s garden. They had a plot that was probably 75 feet long by about 50 feet wide, full to the brim of tomatoes, snap peas, zucchini…whatever you could imagine, my grandmother could grow it. Now that I’m 28, I finally am getting the gardening bug. My husband keeps a garden every year, and to jumpstart everything I’ve got a window garden started in our kitchen. Lime basil, cilantro, thyme, and more!

  76. My favorite garden memory is eating raspberries straight off the bush at my grandparent’s house. It was warm, not yet too hot, and the red dirt was so soft between my toes.

  77. Oh, dear me! Would LOVE to win these! I have gardened here on our small farmette for 8 years now, but this Jan. I had knee replacement surgery and am finally getting around enough to where I can get in the yard a bit. However, have NOT placed any seed orders yet! Last year should have been my year for tomatoes…all kinds of heirloom plants growing…but here in the midwest we had tomato blight and barely had enough for our suppers, let alone enough to can and freeze for winter:(

  78. Ooh those pictures have me itching to go dig in the dirt and watch worms wiggling around. i’ve been plotting just how many raised garden beds i can put in the backyard this year. my favorite gardening memories are of spending time on my grandparent’s farm. I suppose it was more the harvest that i think of so fondly. when we’d all sit around with bowls on our laps, snapping beans. yay for summer!

  79. I used to have a huge garden but with a back injury I had to give it up. I’m going to have a couple of raised beds built this yr so I can work at waist height and not have to bend. Won’t be very big but maybe some tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs and a few other things will be fun.

  80. My mother always planted a garden. Every day I would go to the garden and pick something in the early morning sun. Plums and peaches pulled from branches high over head, radishes and carrots pulled from the dark rich earth, beans and tomatoes snapped from their green stems. I still think of those times fondly, and try to replicate those emotions on my rooftop garden knowing I’ll never quite recapture the aesthetics.

  81. My best garden memories take place in the herb garden I started in middle school and kept through high school. It was a beautiful calm flourishing place and I loved that it was mine and that all my hard work paid off beautifully.

  82. My best garden memory is digging potatoes with my Grandpa and the going on a ride on the “sled” (basically, a flat piece of wood on runners)behind his HUGE Clydesdale horse. It was wonderful, but lots of work.

  83. I have a lot of gardening memories, particularly with my mother. However, the one that comes to mind now is a story from last summer.

    My mom went through some really hard times fairly recently, but in the last year her life has been pulling back together in a way that is much better than before. Last spring she ended up being one of only 4 non-returning gardeners (drawn lottery-style) who got a plot in a nearby P-Patch.

    She and her brother worked hard all spring and summer, drawing from their childhood experience & their years of leisure gardening experience, and they had such a bounty come late summer / early fall.

    I went to visit her in August I think it was, and we ended up going over to the patch where we picked what was ripe, cleared the plot of weeds and talked for almost two hours about the joys of life and how that season in the P-Patch was an incredible turning point in both her and my uncle’s life. We remarked that being able to grow so much in this new plot was an amazing metaphor for each of their lives.

    As I am now old enough to appreciate our conversations and her gardens much more than when I was a lazy teenager (I’m starting to plant my own gardens now!), it was a really significant and satisfying afternoon that drew my mother and I even closer together.

    These seeds look great — thank you so much for the chance to possibly win & plant them!

  84. although today i am an inveterate vegetable gardener, my earliest and sweetest garden memory is of my mom planting hens and chicks at the old house my grandparents owned. i must have been maybe 5 years old, and i thought they’d really turn into chickens! ok, i wasn’t a very bright child…

  85. I come from farming people, so we always had a garden at home. I moved to the city for my professional life. Then to get ready for retirement I moved back to my hometown and bought a house on an acre. Last spring I plowed up the front yard, 4000 square feetof high maintenance lawn, to plant my first garden. Old memories from my childhood about when to plant potatoes, how much to water tomatoes, how to hill up around the corn and beans, when to pick melons all came back to me over the course of my first season. New memories started then, planted with my first crop, and will continue this spring when I put new seeds in the ground.

  86. My best memories of my garden are from when I was a wee thing, in the probably 400+ square foot garden we used to have in our backyard. My best garden memory comes from when I was five years old, and my mother wanted a butternut squash for dinner. She sent me into the back yard with a steak knife, and I went and got one for her. Cut my finger a bit, but I was so proud of the fact that I’d done something like that – with a knife! oh, wow, the pride – that it didn’t even hurt. And now I’m 20 years old and trying to grow my first proper garden. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the prompt, bringing that back to the surface.

  87. One of my strongest memories of my grandmother is of sitting in her garden while she watered the plants — beans, peas, roses, tomatoes. I can recall the smell of the water hitting the hot, California dirt, and her cigarette, which she attempted to hide from me. She watered in the late afternoon, so in my memory the sunlight is coming in slantwise.

    I use this memory to fuel my own garden design and habits, so that my children (and grandchildren?) can have similar memories.

  88. My Dad always has a garden. I remember helping him plant corn when I was little. I never appreciated the whole process and what he taught me so much as I do now that I have a garden of my own.

  89. I think one of my favorite memories has to be when I was a child and we went to a raspberry u-pick berry patch. In the middle of picking an eclipse happened! The best part was that every one was so distracted by the eclipse I was able to sneak more raspberries into my mouth instead of putting them in the bucket.

  90. my favorite garden memory – my best friend I weeding my aunt’s entire garden (and we’re talking a few king sized beds!) for her when she was ill, and for that, she promised we’d be going to heaven! phew. that’s a relief. we’re in!
    and a runner up – watching my dad till, carefully plant, and later care for his big backyard garden when I was a small small child, knowing that it meant delish fresh goodies later!
    xoxo, L.

  91. I was just thinking of planning my garden when I made my way to your site! I’m excited for you to have a garden. I learned to garden with my mom, but these past couple years have brought me great joy as I’ve coaxed beautiful fruits and vegetables out of my formerly boring lot. One of my favorite things to do is run outside to cut some herbs or harvest a tomato in the middle of meal preparation. This year will be a challenging year because we are moving in September; I’m trying to figure out what to plant so that I can get the most out of my garden (and still have time to can a little).

  92. We started a small square foot garden in our (cement) backyard last year after 3 years of failed container gardening. Aside from the innumerable compost volunteers that eventually took over and the sad, sickly tomatoes, it went better than we expected. This year I have even lower expectations since I’m expecting a baby and the 4 year old and husband will be in charge. But I’d still like to start with real seeds.

  93. Love your asterisks comment! I feel the same way.

    My best garden memory was laying around in a hammock at a community garden in a Buddhist retreat center I was working at. Feral cats ran around and the bees made music for me. The sights and sounds of the garden, not to mention the super fresh and yummy produce, were one of my favorite parts of working there.

  94. I have only been gardening for two years now, but it was something my husband and I started last year when we were engaged and had just purchased our first home together.

  95. I wish I had a land lord that would let us till some of the back yard, but until then I will be happy for the patio and containers.

  96. My grandfather, who recently passed away, was a Gentleman Farmer. Before he became too elderly to till the 2 acres (!!) of his garden, he would go out every evening after coming home from work and send his time taking care of the things that needed tending to that evening. My favorite things, though, were his wild blackberry jams and wild plum preserves. I’m hoping to keep alive some of his traditions and my memories now that I have some space of my own. It’s not a garden story, but the first time I made jam, I called him up (before he had his stroke) and asked him for the secret of his jams, convinced that he had some arcane list someplace. His response? “Sure honey! Just go get a package of surejell, and it’s right there on the inside package!” All these years, I was convinced it was his own trial and error πŸ™‚ then come to realize well, it actually was picking the best fruits and veg at the right time, which is also a special kind of know-how.

  97. Last summer I spent two months in a village just outside of Mbale, Uganda functioning as a development practitioner. On the property of the campus used for social change, I assisted with a demonstration garden that allowed the local poor to establish their farming skills. A beautiful place with a beautiful cause. I will never forget it.

  98. After joining my first CSA this winter and regularly visiting Farmers Markets in Philadelphia, I decided to see how ‘local’ I could go — in my 850 square foot condo with zero outdoor space in Philadelphia. Just this past weekend, I purchased a seed starter kit, soil, some tomato and basil seeds and threw caution to the wind! Fingers are crossed I sprout some seeds in the upcoming weeks…

  99. I remember my mom’s garden when I was little. I loved walking around on the eggshells crushing them to compost them, the soil cool beneath my feet. I remember picking cherry tomatos and green beans off the vine to snack on, and watching the watermelons grow barely able to wait to eat them. I remember peppers and cucumbers and how lovely it all was. I’m doing that for my kids now. I have an edible garden out our front door that is theirs. The big garden is not as accessible. We live in a townhouse but they know where their veggies come from in the summer!

  100. Lemon balm is not only delicious (tea that tastes like summer!), but when you take a leaf and rub it all over your body, you smell good AND (here’s the good part) the mosquitos stay away.

  101. i remember working in the garden with my mother when i was a kid and the amazement i would always feel when she’d peel back a leave and i would see vegetables growing there.

  102. My Mom has always had a big tomato garden. She grows between 8 and 12 varieties every year. Each weekend during the summer, we will turn all the tomatoes into sauce, salsa, jelly, etc. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy at Mom’s house with my husband because I felt more comfortable there. When I was four days overdue, I finally went into labor. The first thing I did? I went out to the garden to pick tomatoes, went back inside, and made slow-cooked sauce to can! I knew I had PLENTY of time. It ended up being a 36-hour labor!

  103. A very fond memory is picking couple laundry baskets of tomatoes dragging them in the house, then Great Gramma and Gramma coming over and all of us lining up to the counter to can them. An ALL day Job !with Towel tied around apron style, MOM wore hers backwards cuz she whiped her hands on her back side. LOLL. Then pause for a cup of tea now n them while the canner caught up to us. I miss them !

  104. Growing up my family never had a garden but we did have a big patch of wild raspberries and a couple huge rhubarb plants. I remember spending long summer days outside and when I got hungry I would break off a stick of rhubarb and put some raspberries on top and munch away. Now that I am an adult and have my own home and garden those two plants are the first thing I planted in my yard. I hope someday my children can play in the yard and snack on Raspberries and Rhubarb when they get hungry.

  105. My grandfather (who lived next door) planted the most amazing gardens. One year, I wanted to try my own. I raked an area flat, but not flat enough for him, and not big enough for him (100sq feet was too small, in his eyes, for an 11 year old’s first garden), not anywhere near perfect enough in his eyes. I quit. It’s only now, many years later, that I’ve begun gardening. I love my unsquare, non-uniformly sized raised beds. It took a while for me to throw off his ideals, but I have, and am very happy in my wonky world!

  106. I LOVED eating tomatoes right off the vine when I was little, warm from the summer sun. Now my kids do the same in our backyard, it’s great!

  107. I have 4 daughters. One year when they were younger, we cut very long willows from the pond at our cabin. In the middle of the vegetable garden, we lashed them together with wire into a dome shaped igloo with a door, large enough to play inside and for them to stand up in. We put down straw inside and grew pole beans, baby boo pumpkins, and cucumbers over the top. Not only did the girls and their friends have a wonderful secret room to play in that was cool inspite of the summer heat. But they could pick the vegetables from the inside and out. It is one of my fondest memories of gardening with my children. We grew something on that igloo trellis house for many years.

  108. We always had a garden growing up, and would often can salsa from our own tomatoes and hot peppers. When I met my husband a few years back, I started a garden in our backyard, which he slowly took over– he has a much greener thumb than I do! Now carrying our first baby, I look forward to him/her being big enough to start the cycle all over again.

  109. Last year I planted my first attempt at a garden. We harvested about 3 tomatoes and 2 peppers. But I’m trying it again this year! I’m hopeful I’ll be able to grow something I can actually put up!

  110. what a great idea! I am what i would still call a newlywed… we have been married less than two years, and one of my favorite memories (technically it is several memories…)so far is learning how to grow our own food together. my husband’s father has one of the most amazing gardens, and it has been a goal of ours to rival that garden in a much smaller space, so it has been so fun chatting with the father-in-law and planning our new garden (we are in the midst of buying our first home right now…) which should provide us many delicious meals in the future! πŸ™‚

  111. I had to move last summer’s garden three times before it made it to its final resting place for the year. The tomatoes that were all in pots were growing quite happily when I realized that every time the baby maters would start to ripen they would suddenly disappear or end up on the ground. After this went on for some time I found the culprit: one fat ground squirrel. That darn fatso would pluck off a baby tomato, take one bite and toss the thing on the ground for the ants to finish off. I only got a handful of real ripe ones off of all those plants thanks to that furry fiend!

  112. When I grew up, my grandpa had a huge garden. It was his pride and joy. He loved gardening and pass that along to most of my family, including myself. There are endless summer days where I accompanied him and spent the afternoon working away in the garden. As he got older and my grandma and him moved into a small condo, they only had a small patio to work with. That definitely didn’t stop him from growing a forest of vegetables and herbs from pots on that little patio. His tomato plants were always the envy of the neighbors. They grew 9 feet high and were ridiculously fruitful all season, even growing out of containers. I hope to develop my green thumb to be half so successful with my measlely container garden.

  113. Well it’s my father who has garden and got me into it. He still does and gives a lot of it away. It’s something great for everyone.

  114. As a child I recall my mom ordering the .19 Burpee or Gurney “kids” seed packet. I loved planting that mystery packet and seeing what grew. Skip to 2010. My 7 year old neice came over this weekend. She has been raised to be sort of a neat freak and has been taught to wash her hands all the time. Well, not with Aunt Rivie! We went out and started planting cucumbers. We planted a world assortment from French, to Armenian to Israel to Japan. As she was touching the dirt I told her Aunt Rivie only uses clean dirt. She had a great time. When she returned back home, her mom’s first question to her: Let me see your hands, are they dirty? Well…they WERE! So I need some more seeds to teach my neice that getting a little dirty is fun!

  115. I grew up on a farm where the romance about land and gardening came with age. When I was younger it meant chores and vegetables. Not most people’s version of childhood delights.

    We had many rows of strawberries. Where I grew up strawberries were in season just as school got out. There, on the cusp of summer, on the edge of childhood freedom those bright little berries hiding under those jagged leaves demanded that we squat, scooch, or crawl through the patch picking peck after peck of strawberries (in fact we called it dotted underwear season from the strawberry stains on our underwear from scootching in the patch).

    So amid all this is a wonderful memory. I remember that every year, in elementary school, I (my siblings and I all would do this) would pick a peck of strawberries for my teacher. So on the day I picked up the report card (yes they weren’t mailed- I took the bus to school, picked up report cards and took the bus home) I proudly handed my teachers a peck of strawberries.

    Even though I loathed picking them, the delight on my teachers face, the oogling from other teachers (and knowing that they liked my gift better than the silly “worlds best teacher” mugs they got from everyone else) and the swelling of my pride from giving them such a gift showed me that growing up on a farm, having access to the dirt, to land, to agriculture, to seeds, and the rhythm of nature was something special.

    As an urban adult, this is still very very true.

  116. i made my first garden when i was six…. i outlined a plot with low rows of brick and planted strawberry seeds per my grammy. they grew and grew for several summers, until one summer my dad ran over them with the lawn mower! he said it was an accident. how could it have been an accident? but i have no reason to disbelieve him. 20 years later, i actually just built another garden bed at their house.. today! but probably for veggies, not strawberries. yay seeds.

  117. Since my daughter was born a couple of years ago, my gardened has languished shamefully. I managed to get her in the pack long enough to plant peas and chard and leeks, but it’s been a sad showing. This year she is so excited to help in the garden, and though it will still be a challenge, I’m so happy with the thought of harvesting our own vegetables again. I hope the peas she planted will come up soon, I have such fond memories of eating peas off the vine as a child.

  118. My favorite memory of gardening is from when my {now} husband and I were in college. We rented a plot {a little larger than a twin size} to plant our garden! I loved the diversity of planting with those we didn’t know and sharing veggies… my favorite the pole beans that seemed to reach to the clouds on long stalks of bamboo!

    Thanks for a chance to win!

  119. I can remember always helping my dad plant and harvest his garden as a kiddo and now my son gets to help his grandpa and me in the gardens and he loves it so I hope it continues to be a family tradition.

  120. I love the idea of these seeds because there sounds like there are enough to plant my garden for the next several years. One garden memory I have was the year we moved into our house there were four HUGE sunflowers growing in the yard, the kids were amazed by them! Now every year we plan sunflowers because the kids look forward to seeing them in their full glory!

  121. There’s alot of memories posted alreay and I’ll (humbly) share mine. I have two favourites – 1. is how strong and powerful my Dad always looked when he did the tilling.. I mean real man’s work and I admired him for it. 2. is how sweet the carrots tasted right out of the garden after walking home from school to harvest some for a snack. Great giveaway πŸ™‚

  122. this giveaway was made for me! my whole young life my family had a garden and this year i’ve been hoping to get it together, but am hopelessly behind! good thing, though, we live in zone 7/8 .. i just need to get my hands on dirt and seeds πŸ™‚ my favourite memory of the garden when i was a kid was picking the flowers off the chives and then having those chives on potatoes from the garden. yum.

  123. Oh goodness. I’ll try for those seeds. Childhood memory? Picking strawberries on the hill in my brownie uniform in the dying light of sunset. One for me, one for the bowl. College age? Glorious un-fenced garden that at the peak of ripeness was devastated by deer. What were we thinking? Middle-aged? (Can I say that? Ugh.) Planting seeds with my toddler. It continues.

  124. If it happened recently, can it be a memory? We’ve just tilled our garden for our first major undertaking. I would LOVE to have some more seeds to add to our memories!!! Last year, I let my 3 year old plant our corn rows. They ended up growing as a 6″ wide circular bunch of seedlings. It was a mess. I did get 2 ears of corn, however.

  125. I also am part of a community garden here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, though I use it for composting rather than gardening. I love seeing the food scraps at the top of the compost bins and opening the bottom to find earthy dirt! Looking forward to starting my own garden when I move to North Carolina next month.

  126. My first gardening memory is the time my military family was stationed in West Germany and my mother, a native Californian, tried growing tomatoes in our backyard. The German climate meant that not a single tomato reached maturity, and we ate pickled green tomatoes for months.
    Now my husband and I produce much of our own fruits and vegetables on our city plot near Portland, Oregon. We’d love those seeds if we won your prize!

  127. I planted my first garden this year. I think I have little carrots coming up, but not sure what this variety looks like at this stage. Very exciting!

  128. We always had a huge garden growing up and I would do anything to get out of working in it. Now I am starting my own garden and really wish I had paid more attention instead of spending my energy trying to get out of the work! Last year we had two boxes in our backyard and plan to expand it this year. I have lots of fond memories of my mom, sister, grandmother and I sitting around the kitchen table breaking green beans or cutting corn off the cob.

  129. I found out on Monday that I got a spot in the local community garden, and I’m super psyched! It will be the first time I’ve had a real garden. (The window-box liners on the fire escape don’t count, in my opinion.) I helped my mom with her garden last summer while I was living at home, and convinced her to plant quite a few heirloom tomato plants. I got a job and had to move in early August, right before the vines started bearing prolifically. My mom and sister got all the tomatoes. Hopefully it will be a good year for tomatoes this year!

  130. I grew up on a dairy farm, so we always had a garden, plowed with the farm tractor, and big. The tomatoes grew in old tires. Sweet corn was required. Two squash plants grew enough squash for us and dozens of neighbors. My father cannot fathom why my zucchini plants in Philly don’t grow. One year, we had an odd problem with the tomatoes. We kept finding tomatoes still on the vine, but chomped. When we poked around, we started finding the exact pieces of chomped tomatoes strewn around the garden. Whatever was damaging the tomatoes was not doing it b/c he or she was hungry. The mystery was solved one day when the neighbor’s dog (who had come to us originally as a stray but moved to Walt’s later when he decided the food was better there) was caught in mid-chomp biting through our tomatoes. Evidently he liked the way they felt when he bit them, but he didn’t like to eat them. I keep this in mind when I can’t diagnose a garden predator.

  131. My first gardening memory ever is planting radish seeds in my aunt’s back yard in Oregon City. I watched them daily for signs of growth and was so excited when they finally started coming up. I never did eat them. But it’s so satisfying to have something that comes up so fast and so *hard*. I bought my son his first pack of radish seeds last week.

  132. We never had a garden growing up, but the grandparents of some of my childhood friends did. I remember they had a big patch of corn – maybe 6 or 8 rows in the back yard, but to me, it was HUGE! We would play little games of hide and seek, but we weren’t supposed to touch anything, so our games were not very intense. That corn was some of the yummiest I’ve ever had!

  133. The first summer in our first house we were so excited to be able to put in a garden that well, we lost our minds. What started out as a small vegetable garden became bigger and bigger and bigger which would have been awesome if my husband and I weren’t both working full time with two kids a cat, a puppy, and a new house to take care of. What were we thinking!?! Despite the giant plot of overgrown weeds we had most of my chile pepper plants thrived in this jungle and I had literally bushels of chiles!!! I have never been able to grow a decent pepper plant since. Go figure.

  134. Spending the summer at my grandparents farm. We would gather vegetables and fruit in the morning and them my grandmother would turn the harvest into a fabulous meal.

  135. Come on lucky number 145!

    My favourite gardening memory is at my grandparents’ place in Winnipeg. I used to convince myself that I could sense where cucumbers were hiding in the garden and grab a handful for lunch. I still love garden cucumbers.

  136. After spending years with nothing but a few pots on a baking patio, we got into a community garden last year. It has been one of the most enjoyable labors I have ever undertaken. The smell of tomatoes mixed with sweet peas and orange blossoms is unmatched.

  137. This is so great!

    I grew up in a rural Midwestern town with a huge backyard. My dad was an avid gardener. He had a mini greenhouse contraption in the basement so he could always get an early start with his seedlings. Our backyard was full of beautiful raised beds, and we had wonderful fresh produce all summer long. My dad passed away in 2006; I’m 23, and last summer was my first chance to have a little garden of my own. My container garden consisted of tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, garlic, and lavender. My landlord is letting me dig a plot in the backyard of my townhouse, so this summer I’ll get to have a real garden! I’m really excited; playing in the dirt and growing my own produce brings back fond memories of childhood summers, but it also feels like I can still connect to my dad. Sappy, but true πŸ™‚

  138. I so enjoy reading your blog and was always interested in preserving but never tried until you!! Your commentary encourages me to keep trying and is always what i turn to for FAQ. Either way..with a win or not…you’ve got my support. oh btw, my restaurant is in the pool for a james beard award also..GOOOOOOD LUCK!!

  139. Marisa, kale is awesome, but consider adding some rainbow chard, too. Mine withstood the heat all summer last year without bolting!

  140. I’d love to win the seeds. I remember my mom’s garden plot growing up–she grew lots of herbs and tomatoes as well! I still remember the lemongrass plant that grew to be twice my size–it was such an adventure to learn where my food came from!

  141. The first time I went grocery shopping with my son’s father he informed me “I don’t eat vegetables.” I eat every vegetable I can get my hands on (and figure out how to cook). What is more, I grow them to then eat and compost the remains. No veggies was going to be hard.

    A little learning later and it turns out that on the military bases he grew up on veggies came in cans. Not personal, home canned cans, but icky grocery store ones. His mother is also admittedly not a good cook.

    This last year, both my son and his father were fighting over Lincoln homesteader peas right off the vine. We had to actually tell my son to finish his dessert before he could have more peas. Lee now eats zucchini, peas, onions, spinach and just about anything else we grow. He happily has changed his tune about veggies since we all garden them together.

  142. I grew up with a garden and now one of my favourite memories is of my then two year old biting all the heads off the broccoli stalks while the plant was still in the ground and then finding her and her two older siblings among the raspberry bushes looking for fruit, even if it was a bit squashed they would eat it anyway, it didn’t matter to a 2, 4 and 5 year old!

  143. Last year was our first go at gardening and we loved every second of it, especially early morning harvests while the bees were sleeping. Good thing neither of us are allergic…

  144. I remember trying to plant a surprise garden for my husband while he was working and cutting an electrical line in the process….some surprise!!

  145. i love having a garden each year and canning the produce. It is such a joy to go to the pantry and get a jar of corn, tomatoes, okra, collards or what ever vegie and know you grew and canned it youself. You know what is in that jar – all of the ingredients you put in there yourself. Having a garden is work but it is also a joy that last all year long when you preserve your bounty. I would love to win the seed collection.

  146. I grew up in a family that alwasys gardened and canned the surplus. I never considered any option other than following that tradition. When my daughter was younger we were planting sunflower seeds in the garden. I looked over and saw her smelling a handful of dirt. Her comment was “Mom, you’ve got good dirt”. I knew the torch had passed to the next generation.

    By the way, this same daughter just moved home from college in Philadelphia.

  147. Ahhh, my first Community Garden as an adult. It was a new zone for me and we had great garden community. We used to have “Pea” parties and eat delicious sweet peas right off the vine. Then of course there was always the fresh tomato and basil sandwiches… yum mm. I’m still proud of that first harvest, so colorful, and so delicious.

  148. I remember when I was younger by mom planted a bunch of carrot seeds and wondered why she ended up with only a few for her harvest…My friends and I used to pull the young carrots and snack on them all afternoon while playing outside…ha! πŸ™‚

  149. My favorite gardening memories were anxiously awaiting my father’s arrival home from work so we could do our walk around the yard to water and check on all of the plants, flowers, veggies, and strawberries. Every summer evening we did our walk around the yard for years, and I absolutely loved it!

  150. To this day, my mom always keeps a garden and it always gets ripped out after the first frost. When I was 14, I got roped into helping the rip-out process. As I was taking a load down to our compost pile, I heard a whistle and turned around in time to see a big, squishy, half-frozen tomato headed directly for me, courtesy of my dad. This started the famed Tomato War of ’95 wherein my mother, father, and I pelted each other with ruined produce and laughed our butts off at each other. We still laugh about it to this day.

  151. When I was young, I would spend a week each summer at my grandparents’ house. Grandma was the only person I knew who had a real vegetable garden in her backyard. A row of corn, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumbers…. it was a place of wonder for me.

    One of my favourite memories is going out to the garden with Grandma to pick and dig up vegetables for that day’s dinner. We would pull up carrots and onions, and have Grandpa dig up some potatoes for us, then we’d return to the kitchen with our basket of goodies.

  152. Our family has been farming in Bethlehem Connecticut for years, last year was the first year we decided to reopen our family’s roadside vegetable stand known as Gram’stand, so that we can provide fresh vegetables, natural meats, fresh eggs, handmade soap, and more to the public. It was truly a trying year as we were given many obstacles to hurdle which damaged our crops. These hurdles included a severe hail storm in June that damaged 100 percent of our crops, excessive rain which promoted fungus growth and caused many of our plants to basically rot, and the early and late blight which killed most of our potatoes and killed all 260 tomato plants we had in the ground that had been planted for the second time after the hail storm. Although it was a huge loss financially we considered it a test of endurance, desire, and strength both mentally and physically. All in all we pushed through and did what was in our heart to do, to make it work because this is what we love to do!

  153. My favorite garden memory would be a farm memory. I grew up in central Florida in a very suburban area but my Granny’s aunt lived in Plant City,Florida (where they now have a big Strawberry Festival). There, they had a peanut farm and the two things I most remember about being there is that their farm driveway was not gravel but was crush shells and in that white hot heat, my cousins and I would dig around for hours trying to find an intact seashell. The other memory would be of the smell of the cold room they kept the green peanuts in. I can remember that distinct glorious smell as I’m sitting here. My parents moved us to Missouri eventually where we could experienc seasons and a more rural lifestyle. Obviously it worked, I love to garden and can and even now keep honey bees! I think my Granny’s sister would be very proud of the rural skills I have learned and now use to provide a healthier life for my family!

  154. I garden, but my childhood memories are the best ones. I remember the surprise and delight of finding a red strawberry peeking out from under a plant. We used to play hide and seek in the corn rows. Standing under plum trees eating warm ripe plums until we were sticky and had juice running down our arms…all children should have the pleasure of a Summer spent in the country.

  155. Some of my earliest memories is of learning to garden alongside my grandparents. Now 50 years later, I’m gardening on the same village lot. I love going out in the summer with a basket and no particular plans for dinner and coming back with the “catch of the day” to be made into a quick supper. I also like taking new friends and clients to the garden, picking something to eat right on the spot then watching their faces as they realize that they really never knew how great a fresh pepper (or cucumber or peas or …. ) can taste.

  156. I am lucky enough now to live in the middle of Iowa, where we have room for as much garden as I would like. We usually plant tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, potatoes, starwberries and have a large corn patch with the field corn. We can salsa, tomato sauce, and freeze corn. My grandma’s birthday was June 1st and we always had shortcake with fresh strawberries. It always marked the start of summer and I remember it fondly. πŸ™‚

  157. I grew up on a large peanut farm and Mom always managed to plant a huge garden. I think she did it to keep us girls out of trouble, but it also instilled a love of watching different thing grow.
    My most favorite memory is when I latched onto a large pile of cabbage and she and my dad helped me make it into sauerkraut. She was taking chemo at the time and her laughter is still in my head. Mom is no longer physically with us, but this year I’m planting a flat of cabbage that’s going to be turned into sauerkraut using her tried and true recipe. Gardening will always be a part of our lives that I want to continue onto my grandchildren.
    The seeds would definitely be loved and nurtured in my garden in Oklahoma.

  158. I’ve never had a garden, but always secretly dreamed of having one. I love being surrounded by the beauty and scents of plants and flowers and decided to make this year the year I start planting s space of my own. This would be a great starter for me.

  159. As a kid, my father was the best gardener I knew–he grew flowers exclusively, but you have never seen such roses and dahlias. When I moved away from home, he gave me a bag full of dahlia bulbs for me to plant in my own garden. Lately, I’ve been turning more to vegetable gardening, but I still plant those dahlias for a bit of home! (though they are not nearly as tall and bright as his are!!!)

  160. We plant half an acre of food every year. I can and freeze, store winter squash and onions and then we donate to our local food pantry. These seeds would go to good use here in Southwestern Oregon!

  161. Hi!

    Thanks for sharing!
    When I was growing up I lived my fathers childhood house in Montreal. When his family moved their from Vermont, they planted a beautiful garden and some fruit trees, whose fruit I enjoyed making apple sauce with.
    I was grateful for the garden, but was sad that I hadn’t planted anything myself. One day I was at a friends house and we saw a patch of tulips in a city-planted garden. Her mom said we could pick one each (amazingly) and instead of breaking the stem I pulled it up from the bulb. Later that day, I planted it in our backyard. It bloomed every year as long, and where it was planted was always considered my garden.

  162. How nice of you!! My favorite gardening memory is of my Grandpa planting his small garden in his backyard. He planted rhubarb and tomatoes as well as beans and cucumbers. I loved watching him. On the first day that most of his veggies bloomed I was so excited for him that I pulled tthem all up so that I could go show him! I was so excited! God love my grandpa’s heart when he just laughed and told me how nice they all were. I am sure he was crying on the inside!!

  163. My grandpa always had a huge garden, from which we acquired all of our fresh veggies and fruits throughout the year. Hubby and I just purchased our first home, and I have been planning our first garden. I can’t wait to get those seeds in the ground.

  164. When I was very little, and living with my grandparents in Ontario, they had an acre plot with the most gigantic garden. I remember sitting in the sun, eating peas out of the pod in the summer. And getting the hose out to spray down the plot and make it into a skating rink. I miss those days a lot, especially since I’m all the way across the country now, but have finally started gardening myself. I have a tiny plot of my own with blueberry and gooseberry bushes. So awesome! As with your website. <3

  165. I have so many wonderful memories of the huge garden my parent’s had when I was a child. And though much tasty produce came out of that garden and was preserved by my mom, my absolute favorite were the giant beefsteak tomatoes that my mom would have us go out and pluck right before dinner. She would slice them up and put a touch of sugar on them. Yummy. I can’t grow tomatoes like that here in San Francisco πŸ™

  166. When I was in grade school, our next-door neighbors did a serious garden and springtime meant the scent of manure in the air. I actually liked it though, and got a kick out of watching stuff grow, because my mom’s thumb wasn’t nearly as green.

  167. One memory that stands out is my tomatoes from last year. I planted them in Wall-o-Waters early in March. On the 27th of March we had a spring snowstorm that completely buried them. Those same plnts started giving ripe tomatoes late in June and i canned my first big batch on July 15th. Thank you for the great give away! Blessings from Kansas! Gail

  168. I’ve always loved gardening. I love to watch my boys graze their way through the garden on the way to and from the field where they play baseball and soccer.

  169. Growing up we had a garden each year. I never really liked the work, but the food was good. After growing up I discovered I have a love of gardening, even pulling weeds! My last best garden was in 2004. I was very pregnant with my third child, but I loved getting on my hands and knees every evening in the cool air and weeding. I even made 2 batches of sweet pickles two weeks before my daughter was born! I am looking forward to digging in the dirt this spring. So relaxing!

  170. My first “real” garden of my own was in 2008. I grew tomatoes, peppers, and salad crops. It was a small garden with big rewards. We ended up with 2 or 3 gallon bags of peppers in the freezer and a case of quart jars full of tomato sauce and salsa. That really started the ball rolling for me. I’d love to add to my seed collection with this giveaway. Thank you!

  171. we always had a garden growing up, sometimes three. One of my favorite memories is playing baseball with the old gigantic and hard zucchini. The goal was to get the zucchini bat to break and explode the seeds and guts all over. Such fun for us kids πŸ˜‰

  172. As a kid we always had a garden, and it seemed every year my Dad would somehow till my mother’s carrots under. As you know, they kinda look like weeds when they first come up- this used to drive my mother crazy. It became a challenge for her to hide the carrots from Dad! I am now starting to make memories with my own family. So far the kid- who is two is really great at pulling plants- not so great at pulling weeds.

  173. When I was a kid, my parents gardened and I HATED it. Now as an adult, I find it’s quite fun and rewarding. I always enjoy seeing what produce will be ready to pick each day. Or watching that itty bitty tomato bloom turn into a huge beefsteak!

  174. My fondest garden memory would be getting up at dawn to hand water my raised bed about 16 years ago. Standing, watching the sun rise and listening to the birds morning song while watering my garden was the most meditative and tranquil moments of my day.

  175. I remember our huge (to me) garden as a kid and being responsible for getting the tomato worms off the plants! Ugh. Green with red horns! But eating the warm tomatoes off the plant was so good. Newest best memory is when my batch of pickling cucumbers actually got made into pickles and I loved them. Still eating them now from this summer and they are great.

  176. I remember when I was growing up (in the ’70s) building a small hydroponic greenhouse with my father. Wow, what a way to grow tomatoes and cucumbers.

    Having now gotten back in to gardening, I’m thinking of reattempting hydroponics. (The practice of hydroponics has sure evolved since the ’70s.)

  177. My parents were hippies, and I think my favorite garden-related memory was going out to our big garden to get veggies to put on our homemade, whole-wheat, all-vegetable pizzas. They were square (my mom made one big one for all of us in a jelly-roll pan, and were basically nothing like a normal pizza, yet they tasted of home to me. (A close second: gathering violets from our yard to use in salads.)

  178. ahh, my very first garden was kind of an accident, or rather, the action of a poorly behaved sister. My sister and I got cucumber seeds (in a happy meal of all places) and me being a mean older sister, I took my sister’s seeds and threw them in the yard on the side of the house. As punishment, my sister got my seed packet to plant in the garden. And yet, the spot I threw the seeds was well selected, and the cucumbers took off, better than they did in the garden. So much so that I won a prize at the state fair for them…

  179. Growing up, my mother always had a small garden, and I could never stand to help her out there (always better things to do). Now that I’m on my own, my husband and I live in an apartment with a tiny balcony. This time of year, we are just itching to start planting the herbs in pots (we’re in NH, so we have to wait until May!). This year, we’ve lucked in to a small community garden, and I’m so looking forward to growing tomatoes and cucumbers, mostly for canning!

  180. We always had at least a small plot growing up. I think some of my favorite memories are from when we lived in Washington State. We would work in the garden in the morning and then once the day warmed up would get to jump in the pool and play as a reward.

  181. Just a few months after getting married, my husband and I moved to a converted barn on 1/2 acre land. The soil and sun were perfect for a garden so we planted our first garden. Ignorant–really I planted 10 tomatoes, 6 cabbages, 4 squash, 20 corn, 5 melons, etc, etc, etc for two people. Come harvest time and I couldn’t give enough food away. I still remember bringing 30 lbs of tomatoes to a party and making pizza (and tomato sauce), gazpacho and more from scratch. It was fun. We continue to garden, but now I know to plant less.

  182. A wonderful memory is the first year our semi-dwarf cherry tree produced 1,000’s of cherries. We had so many cherries that after giving bags to everyone we could think of,the kids set up a cherry stand on the corner and sold them. They have continued to do that for the last 7 years and every year we use some of the proceeds to treat our family to a movie night out. Fresh fruit, happy neighbors, and a fun outing!

  183. I love gardening, always look forward to looking through the seed catalogs and can’t wait to get my hands dirty when spring rolls around. But truthfully I hope my favorite gardening memory is yet to come. I am buying a house (closing on 4/16) and we will be making it into an urban farm (in Santa Fe, NM). Starting with a small CSA this year and then selling at our farmer’s market starting next year. I just can’t wait to get started!

  184. my very first garden in grad school makes me laugh every time i think of it. i was very “into” the galvanized look so i planted all my veggies and herbs in g. pots. did i mention that i lived in southern california? ya, my plants barely made it through the summer because of the heat shock/beating that the roots took. my bad. now, i go terra cotta and leave the galvanized stuff for the magazines.

  185. My parents have always had a substantial garden and to encourage our participation (i.e. free labor), we were given the Burpee catelog when it arrived to help select the seeds we would be planting that spring. At the time (late 60’s), Burpee had a 1 cent children’s packet that we always ordered and planted in our own corner of the larger garden – there is nothing like watching things grow and harvesting “your” vegetables to make a life-long gardener out of any kid.

  186. My mom always gardened. She’d plant about five billion zucchini plants, reasoning that they might not thrive. Naturally, they did, and somehow the zukes always managed to hide until they were the size of a baseball bat. I still hate zucchini.

    However I’m about to embark on my very first garden, and I’d love some seeds!

  187. I started a garden when my oldest daughter was one and a half. I spent the extra time helping her dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and water. Now she is four and a half and an excellent gardener. She still helps me plant and water each season and is also great at weeding. It makes me happy that she loves it as much as I do, and that she will eat the wide variety of vegetables that we plant because she “grew them herself”.

  188. My grandfather always had an enormous garden. My favorite memory is walking through rows of tomato plants, taller than me, and finding the perfect tomato. They tasted so good straight from the vine, warm from the sun.
    *wistful sigh*

  189. My favorite garden memory is of the vegetable garden at my grandfather’s house. It was a family undertaking, with my grandfather, mother, sister, and I often out there working together to plant and harvest the vegetables. The work went so much faster with all of us helping out!

  190. My mother constructed a green house in rural Colorado desert we lived in when I was a child. Wooden pallets covered the floor and the light seeped in through the cracking plastic. My sister and I picked our daily lunch salad- bright &spicy radishes, cherry &plum tomatoes, tiny rows of lettuce, tender sprigs of spinach. It was a fantasy habitat. Only recently have I been offered a small plot of land to garden in San Francisco, to follow my mother’s green thumb.

  191. I’ve had that same experience with vine borers. HATE THEM! We have a very small garden here in Houston. I grew up with a family garden. We grew a lot of our food each summer in a huge garden. Both sets of grandparents were gardeners, too. There’s just something very satisfying about growing some of your own food.

  192. I would love these seeds. My first gardening experience was on a 3rd story rooftop / fire escape. I had 32 pots and they took up one whole trip in the UHaul when we moved. Now I have a garden in my yard and this year I’m trying 3 season growing and square foot gardening.

  193. My favorite memories are just from the last two years–my toddler pulling off all the green cherry tomatoes, taking one bite, then flinging them aside all over the yard. Then later eating the ripe ones, saying, “Mmm, mmm… that’s delicious!”

  194. the terrifyingly hairy black spiders that hid among the berries on the incredible overgrown raspberry bush that had taken over the entire south side of my urban denver childhood home. also, the hundreds of johnny-jump-ups i ate as a child after learning on pbs that pansies were edible. i should mention that these tiny specimens grew in the strip of (heavily polluted) grass that grew in the driveway. perhaps it was the daily doses of exhaust that made them so sweet?

  195. This will be our second year in our community garden too – it has been so much fun, so education, and so delicious!!! I am so happy to have found your blog. Maybe this year we’ll have vegetables to can!! Best of luck with your garden this year.

  196. Wow 206 entries! Since I just won something I’m sure I’m not eligible but I just wanted to say that I love the fact that you have a community garden plot! I hope you’ll share pictures of your gardening process with us as well.

    By the way, if you do want to give yourself a “sense of doom” anxiety over food and disaster you should read Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It series. It’s an excellent YA series and it thoroughly freaked me out.

  197. My parents would grow tomatoes in a “greenhouse” on our flat roof. Made of plastic sheeting, with a corrugated plastic roof and aluminum crossbars, it would always be in a sad state after windstorms, but our “little house” as we called it would (and still does!) produce a bounty of cherry tomatoes and a few larger varieties – whatever our short growing season could manage. And in the spring and fall, when the pots were empty, I’d have sleepovers out there with my friends.
    I had the interesting experience of trying to explain what a fresh off the vine tomato smells like to a friend not long ago – try it! It’s a very distinct smell, but it’s tough.

  198. When I was still living at home during college, a friend of mine helped me plan and execute a vegetable garden in my parents’ yard. Without telling me, he added a few surprise heirloom seeds in a couple places, and the vibrant blossoms gave a daily reminder of what a good friend I have. To this day I haven’t been able to duplicate the productive ability and beauty of that first garden.

  199. I grew up in an urban tangle, and the closest I came to growing food-things was the orange tree in my Grandmother’s back yard. Gardens were for flowers, really. Not that I hate flowers, but eating things that I had a chance to take care of and invest in…has changed the way I eat. We tore the grass out of half the backyard last year; more room for kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and (hopefully) blackberries.

  200. I have a few fond memories of helping my mom in her garden when I was a kid. But I have MANY happy memories of the zucchini bread and muffins we ate all summer long because of the monster zucchini she grew!

  201. I have been hopeful that my winter turnips will fill out more than they have, so I have not started planting my summer garden yet. I have a 2ft x8ft box in front of my apartment. I am hoping to add another 2x2ft box this year.

  202. Thank you for entering me in your giveaway. I can’t really say that I have any gardening memories as I am pretty new to it and didn’t grow up in a family that gardened. But I do have a pup that loves to ‘pick’ snow peas and cherry tomatoes πŸ™‚ And she LOVES zucchini πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful day!
    Sharon

  203. The year before lasts garden-we went through 15 tomato plants that were killed off by some mysterious bug or fungus-could never decide what it was, last years garden our tomatos got blight and we were only able to harvest a few good ones but this year is the year, we are so going to have bushels and bushels of tomatos! I can feel it!

  204. My best garden memory is eating carrots right out of the ground while harvesting them in my grandparents half-city-block-sized garden when I was a kid. They were the best carrots on earth. I grew some carrots of my own last summer. They were almost as good, but not quite. I guess it’s the carefree-ness of being a child that gave them that extra sweetness.

  205. When I was a young mother I lived in a small cracker box of a home in Michigan. Our neighbor to the north was a couple of retirees who planted a large garden in the empty lot between us. I had small children and before I knew it Lyal (my 85 year old neighbor) became best of friends with my four and a half year old son, Shawn. They did everything together. I, soon was receiving phone calls from Mary, Lyal’s wife warning me that the big kid was coming over to play. Soon there would be a knock at the door and it would be Lyal. Shawn and Lyal were soon inseparable. Being a young mother on a tight budget, Lyal asked if I wanted to share the garden that first spring. I was overjoyed! I had never grown anything in my life but I knew I would love it.
    We got out there in the spring as soon as we could work the dirt. Lyal, Shawn, my toddler Kyle and I turned the soil over and readied the garden for planting.

    I think of those days so long ago every March when we have our first few warm spring days. I learned so much about gardening that summer working along side my 85 year old neighbor. It was a special time that I cherish today in my memories. It has been years since I have lived in a location that enables me to really have a “garden”. I plant some tomato plants, sometimes beans, peas, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce. And 5 gallon buckets on the deck work but it is nothing like that 1/2 acre garden. I will have a garden again one day especially when I retire! Some day I will pass those lessons down to another new young mom too. There is nothing better that taking a shovel out to the garden and digging up that first hill of fresh early Chicago red potatoes and serving them for dinner a little while later. I never knew what a fresh potato really tasted like. Peas and green beans usually did not make it out of the garden. I would find my toddler hiding behind the pea vines eating pea pods. I am sure that Lyal has planted a wonderful garden in heaven. I also learned to can and freeze the bountiful harvest that year. Thanks for the wonderful memories, Lyal! Happy Gardening to all!

  206. When we were little, my mom grew tomatoes. My little sister would eat the green tomatoes off the vice. She’d come in to the house with green tomato juice and seeds smeared all over her face, and when Mom asked her if she’d been eating the tomatoes, she would deny it up and down.

  207. I remember helping my Parents cultivate their farms back home in Kenya. I did everthing from plant beans, sell carrots and wash coffee beans. These seeds would be an awesome addition to the garden I have been wanting for years!

  208. I have higher hopes for this year’s garden attempt. We have a section on the south side of the house that is designated ‘garden’. We have a drip irrigation system for that area, but the last couple of years haven’t been as good. The local garden society will have their plant sale the first of May so we until then to get the area prepped. This year we’ll try rototilling to see if that helps things. Tomatoes are for sure, everything else is up in the air.

  209. I just ordered some seeds for herbs that I’ve never attempted before–epazote, marjoram and sorrel. These are herbs that are frequently called for in my cooking projects, but are difficult to find. I figured I would therefore have a little pot of each ready at my disposal.
    It’s gotten me thinking about gardens of years past. All of them have been on porches, so I’ve always dealt with limited space. Some experiments were successful, some not so much. Zucchini? That got a little out of hand both times it was attempted. Tomatoes? Depends on the year. Poppies and snapdragons don’t seem to like me, but I always get along with basil. One year parsley lasted stright through the winter, and this year my chives are coming back. We decided against morning glories this year and will instead try 4’oclocks. We’ll see how it all goes.

  210. I would love to win some seeds for a garden. We’ll be moving from the incredible house where we’ve been living in Saint Cloud, France. Last year the apple tree in the yard produced so many apples, after I gave away as much as my friends would take, I canned apple butter.
    Since we’ll leave behind the bounty of this yard – cherries, grapes, currants, raspberries, figs, olives, along with many varieties of flowers – it would be so nice to be able to plant a garden in a new place as yet unknown! Thanks for your inspirational blog and your generous give away!

  211. After last summer when my garden washed away three times, I’ll be sticking to container planting this year- I’m renting and can’t put in a permanent garden…Hope you have a great harvest with your plot!

  212. When I was little I was allowed to buy one box of sugary cereal a year, for my birthday. I always chose Lucky Charms, and a couple times I tried to plant some of the marshmallows out in the garden with my dad’s peas, lettuces, and raspberries. Alas, no luck! Good thing we had other delicious produce to get us through the summer.

  213. Three and a half years ago, my husband and I moved from a condominium to our very own house in Montgomery County PA and planted a garden our very first spring. We’ve made it a bit bigger and better every year and are in love with being able to go out into our very own back yard and pick the ingredients for that night’s dinner! I haven’t learned to can yet – have been freezing instead – but that’s my goal this summer. We have a second kitchen in an outbuilding that I plan to turn into my very own canning kitchen and I can’t wait!

  214. I’m trying to think of just one memory, but it’s sort of an impressionistic blur of taking compost to the pile with Grandpa, translplanting seedlings with my mom, choosing plants at a nursery with my grandmother — basic sharing/learning/growing in the dirt on a sunny day with people I love. More recently, I’ve been trying to take advantage of every tiny patch of dirt at my little house, and my gardening-deprived husband is loving every minute of it — he adores weeding! and ohmygod, you sould hear him say good morning to the peas & tomatoes!

  215. This is our first year seriously planning our garden, and I’d love to be able to harvest seeds from our own plants. It’s just a beautiful little life-cycle occurring in your own backyard!

    My mom always maintained a garden, and I never understood why. It always seemed like sooo much time and work (and dirt!) for a couple flowers that die a season later.

    Then we planted cucumbers and I got it.

    What started off as a couple tiny seeds turned into a huge prickly creeping plant with curly tentacles that outgrew its plot and nearly consumed our patio. We watched it grow and doubted its potential to yield anything useful – certainly not the “real” produce we found in the grocery store! My sister and I finally faced this awesome beast when we got to pick one lucky cucumber for our dinner salad.

    We’d gingerly lift the spikey leaves until we spotted the perfect green gourd-like cucumber (bigger was better so we compared on our hands how big “ours” was). Regardless of whose cuke won, it was always delicious!

    A few years later we added green peppers to our garden which our dog happily picked for us. πŸ™‚ He’s still an odd (old) dog.

    Love your blog!

  216. We’ve had a few small, raised beds for a number of years now. One of my favorite memories is of my daughter, about 14 or 15 months old, toddling around the beds with a full watering can, barely able to hold it, flooding all the plants with a deluge of water. And then later that summer, having her harvest some radishes when the sprinklers turned on and gave her first experience of summer running the sprinklers. Her little shocked face was priceless.

  217. I remember sitting in my grandma’s garden, breathing in the dill and then eating as much as I could. Dill is still one of my favorite herbs, and I can’t get enough of the smell. Of course, after the dill I would move on to the raspberry patch, chase out all the quails, and then demolish every last juicy berry.

  218. I am an eager but slothful gardener. The first year I had a vegetable garden at this house, after the yard had been fallow for years, it went berserk. This is NOT due to any gardening prowess on my part, just luck. By the end of the season my boyfriend had to hold me upside down by the ankles to hang into it and harvest gigantic pink banana squashes. The cucumbers that grew up the corn stalks were slightly easier, but the corn got taller than that in the fields here in Wisconsin.

  219. When I was growing up in Atlanta, GA, my dad had a vegetable garden in our back yard. (Or, well, he did until we moved when I was 12 or so…our new back yard was small and shady.) Curiously, the only thing I can remember him growing is tomatoes. I’m pretty sure there were other things, maybe beans, and peppers? But to this day, the distinctive green smell of a tomato plant just brings me right back to that little garden by the back yard fence.

  220. About 6 months ago, my long time boyfriend and I stayed at the Standford Inn in Mendocino. They grow all their own fruits and veggies that are used for their restaurant. We spent hours everyday either gazing at them from our window, or walking through them. It was that trip that really made us realize how remarkable nature is.

  221. Growing up my family had a large garden. One of my favorite things though was growing pumpkins. The pumpkin fairy used to come and our names would grow into the pumpkins. As a kid, I thought this was the coolest thing. The secret: my dad carved our names into the pumpkins as they grew and it would scar them.

  222. WOW, that’s a lot of comments! Not sure if I’ve missed the mark… I have memories of my nephew eating a slug, and my son, naked in the dirt with a popsicle that wound up covered in mud. My best garden memory is relatively dull; bent over weeding and digging with my mom and sister, and of course the feeling of plucking dinner from the garden. I’m going to a big seed exchange tomorrow and am so excited about it – I’d love to be on the receiving end of some!

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