Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway

March 16, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

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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 thoughts on "Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway"

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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 !

  • 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.

  • My sister and I sneaking cherry tomatoes off the vine and putting caterpillars on each others shirts.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!

  • I have lots of garden memories, but one of my favorite’s is of my son helping me plant when he was 2. 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • My favorite and only success has been tomatoes. I would love to try something new.
    Jana

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • My garden memory–visiting my grandma and running into the backyard with a pie tin to collect as many raspberries as possible!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!!

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!!)

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 🙁

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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 😉

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • 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.)

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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”.

  • 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*

  • 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!

  • Every summer I love having to watch my kids very closely until the plants are high enough that they aren’t easily mistaken for weeds.