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The Harvest

There is nothing better than picking the food that you planted from seed or sprout, oh, wait—besides eating the food, harvesting is the next best thing when it comes to gardening. Here we take a quick look at a garden harvest from seeds and sprouts planted directly by our children.

A snippet of our latest harvest. We grow another plotted garden on a family member's property. Here is a small portion of what we collected on Monday evening. A variety of squash and patty pan, melons, watermelons, 10 varieties of tomatoes including sungold, supersweet 100, pink and purple bumblebees, roma, san marzano, heirloom Hillbilly, Cabron, TorchBlaze, German Striped, and several others. There are also wax peppers, green peppers, red onions, green and wax beans, teddy bear sunflowers, marigolds, cucumbers, and broccoli. Most of the tomatoes were earned or purchased at the Spring Plant sale at Rodale Institute and The Seed Farm. I volunteered to work the sales and earned two free plants for every three hours of my time. Most of the garden is organic or heirloom seeds and sprouts, some seeds are planted from last year's crops, and some were bought from local places (see my "seeds, sprouts, and transplants" post for more information).

The Harvest

There is something so beautiful and wholesome about the look on a child's face when they get to see the growth and development of something they planted and cared for on their own. When a child tends a garden, plants a seed, waters and talks to their plants, cares for and meets the needs of a plant, and then walks into a garden of 6' tall tomato plants, and squash leaves the size of a large dog, and 30 marigold blooms from a single plant that had 3 blooms initially—there is a gasp of amazement and pride that can never be replicated. You must hear it in person. There is a squeal of excitement. There is an actual twinkle in the eye that you can see and hear and feel through your entire body. The feeling is better than creating the tallest tower of Lego or mixing just the right color on your paint pallet.

When my children walked into our garden—this is a garden we don't see every day, we have to drive there and we go about every 2-3 weeks—we all stood there in astonishment. Here is a garden we do not get to tend to every day but we do visit as often as we can. We avoid very hot days because there is not a lot of shade and we avoid overly wet days because there are a lot of mosquitoes but, boy, there was also a lot of growth! I had volunteered and earned and bought some sprouts from Spring Plant Sales at nearby farms. I also planted the same ones in my own garden and used our organic, homemade compost, organic potting soil blends, coconut coir, watering every few days, constant tending and checking, but it always seems as if everything on my property blooms weeks after the same plants in Pappy T's Garden. I'm almost jealous but how could I be, our harvest is plentiful and it basically just grows wild on its own. Isn't that what we want? Isn't that the way nature intended? For nature to just...nature on its own. It is actually the ideal situation. We harvest at Pappy T's, go to the beach and feed 60 family members with bounty of our harvest, come home and bam! Our own small garden patch is full of life and nutrients, ready to be picked and eaten. I actually think nature is taking care of us by staggering our harvests. Our garden is a plentiful herb and flower garden with veggies and fruits popping up here and there which offers snacks and dinners and Pappy T's Garden is this wild land of gigantic squash and overflowing spiked leaves of patty pan, weed covered bushels of onions, radishes galore, and tomatoes as far as the eye can see.

How beautiful, how delicious, how fortunate to be able to grow and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Please excuse our squash, it seems as if it has grown out of control. But we will not apologize for the size of our smiles or our happy dispositions. We love to garden and watch things grow!

"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown, never dies." ~Gertrude Jekyll, horticulturist, garden designer, craftswoman, photographer, writer and artist

Whether you have a large garden or a small bowl of micro greens growing in your kitchen or your classroom, for me—growing my own food and eating it gives me the pleasure of knowing that I am taking my health and wellness into my own hands. I know exactly what I am planting, what the conditions were for growing and cultivating, and how it was prepared. I know that I am taking care of the Earth even with small steps through gardening, saving seeds, composting, and tending to my little piece of land. It brings me joy to see my children cultivate a love for nature as there are so many positive benefits and lifelong influences that arise from time in nature, any nature. In the end it is that connection: connection to self, connection to others, connection to food, and connection to nature. Spending quality time in nature together is so healing and offers us the chance to allow for authentic childhood experiences.

Plant, Grow, Eat, Love, Soil, repeat.


Today, we have a short entry. Tonight I have my class with Oregon State University for the School Garden Coach training and certification program. The NAAEE/Natural Start Alliance Virtual Conference 2021 is currently underway and I am so excited to see what the presenters have to say and, also, I will be presenting live on Friday, July 30 at 12:30pm EST. Along with the live session, I have pre-recorded a presentation available for on-demand viewing. The sessions so far have been so insightful and full of enthusiasm. This is such a wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to be able to participate in this experience. I highly recommend it for anyone with children, students, or educators in any indoor or outdoor space. The conference has so many wonderful resources and networking opportunities. Registration also gives you one full year of access to all live and recorded sessions. #NatStart2021 #Naturalstartalliance2021 #NatStartConference2021 #NAAEE #EnvironmentalED #NaturebasedEducation #outdooreducator #thefindingplaceLV #AuthenticChildhood

Thank you for joining me today. I'm going to take a week to recharge and get ready for the start of a new school year. If you want to reach out, I'll get back to you after August 7. When we join each other again I'll have more topics to cover on gardening as my course unveils new material and discussion points. All of the photos are my own.


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