It’s not often that we ask anyone to share one of our gardening articles. In fact, I’m not sure we ever have. But this one is different – and I hope after reading – you will not only share – but maybe take part in the effort in your own garden as well.
Every year – we have always left a couple of rows in our garden plan for our “impulse buys”. You know – those plants you might pick up at the nursery because you have never heard of them – or they simply catch your eye.
This year – we are going to take one of those rows and do something a little different. We are going to make it a “Plant A Row For Someone We Know” area.
Before I go too far – let me share a short story from my own past that made me think about putting the plan into action.
A few years back – I had an Uncle pass away that quite simply was the kindest and most wonderful man you could ever hope to know. He was my mom’s brother, and we all simply called him Uncle Tom. He spent his life in the service of others – and I don’t think to this day I have ever met anyone that didn’t love our Uncle Tom.
Growing up – I always looked forward to his visits – he was full of life – whether it was telling stories, playing cards, a game of horse – or my favorite – a huge family game of croquet in the front yard.
As far back as I can remember my Uncle Tom loved fresh garden food. He loved coming to our house – especially when it was for fresh corn on the cob and tomatoes.
When I grew up to have a garden of my own – I always loved whenever I had the opportunity to give him a bit of whatever I might have growing in the garden.
As the years continued to pass – time and health issues began to take its toll on Uncle Tom – and a few years back – he was to the point where he lived in an assisted living home. But even then – he still enjoyed being picked up and taken to my mom’s house to have corn on the cob and tomatoes.
Well, in what turned out to be the year before he passed – I had a particular tomato plant that produced to this day what may be the largest two tomatoes I have ever grown. When I found out that Uncle Tom was going to be at my mom’s house for dinner – I couldn’t wait to make the trip to show him what I had grown. In addition to showing him the mammoth prize tomatoes – I of course took him an overflowing basket of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers to keep.
He kept marveling over the tomatoes during dinner – and as it came time for him to leave – he thanked me over and over for the tomatoes – and then it happened. He simply said “I can’t wait to show these two beauties to everyone back at the home and tell them my nephew grew them!
Now, truth be told – the overflowing basket is what I had brought for him to take back – not of course, my two prize mammoth tomatoes. But that was it – they were his.
As he left – the rest of my family stared at me – and then we all busted out in laughter. I realized then and there that as much as I beamed for having grown those tomatoes – it made me even happier to see that what they meant to him was so much more.
And that is what led to the idea of “Plant A Row For Someone You Know” Not to grow mammoth tomatoes for others of course – but to grow a row of fresh vegetables for someone that either needs it or misses it – along with the company and companionship that comes with visiting and taking it to them every week or so.
Maybe it’s the neighbor down the street who loved gardening but can’t anymore. Maybe it’s someone in your own family. Perhaps a fellow co-worker, a church member or shut in. Or maybe a family with young children who have never tasted the flavor of a fresh picked cucumber or tomato. In reality – it doesn’t matter who it is – just that this year there will be a little more fresh veggies to go around and make the world a better place.
If everyone of us planted just a few plants extra – imagine what it could literally bring to the table!
As gardeners – as much as Mary and I grow fresh vegetables for our own family – I think we get the most satisfaction from sharing it with our friends and extended family.
Gardening after all is about caring and giving. You care for your soil and plants, and you are given the gift of fresh vegetables. It is a miracle I never tire of. I have never met a gardener who doesn’t love to share in his harvest – and what better way to share than to grow a row for someone who can use a little fresh vegetables – and company.
So set aside a single row or a little area of your garden this year to grow a little something for someone else. And as I did at the beginning of the article – I ask that you share this with your friends, co-workers and family as well. The more that get involved -the more people it can touch. A little bit from everyone can go a long way!
Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary