In my house gardening is a family affair. From the moment I brought home my tiny cabbage seedling from the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program, my younger brother John Michael has been by my side ready to dig in the dirt with me and my parents supporting our efforts. As a family we watched my cabbage grow to an amazing 40 pounds and as a family we traveled to the soup kitchen where I donated and served the giant veggie. Four years have passed since that life changing moment and my family continues to grow together from the garden in our backyard to our newly donated 48 foot Katie’s Krops greenhouse
Our backyard garden started as a small patch in the corner of our house but as our passion for gardening grew so did the size our vegetable garden. I knew my father shared my excitement when he suggested we remove all of the ornamental shrubs that lined the back of our home to make room for more vegetables. Out came the shrubs and in came vegetable seedlings, strawberry bushes, herbs and trellises to allow for climbing vegetables. In our ever expanding backyard garden my brother and I explored what we loved to grow (watermelon is his favorite & cabbage is mine) and had a few happy surprises. This past spring we mistook a gourd seedling for a cucumber seedling and before we knew it to our great surprise an enormous 8 pound gourds, not cucumbers, were handing from the window screens on our home where they climbed their way up. It made for the most unique view and the best Halloween decorations.
Gardening has not only change the view from our windows but it has led to exploring new recipes and an excitement for cooking. After growing a bumper crop of Japanese eggplant & zucchini my dad dug up an old family recipe from his father. My brother and I took to the kitchen with our harvest and whipped up ‘Papa Stags Eggplant Delish’ . To my surprise I love eggplant and my brother zucchini. There is no better produce stand than our own backyard.
As our garden adventures continued my grandparents joined in including my 95-year-old great grandmother, Grammie. My Grammie had spent her childhood on a farm in Poland and working in the Katie’s Krops gardens brought back childhood memories that she was eager to share . Still, at 95 years old my Grammie cooks a very special Christmas Eve dinner for my whole family. The 1st course is cabbage soup, Kapusta, a dish from her native Poland. It was a very special moment last Christmas when I was able to provide the cabbages for her soup from my garden. Although our childhoods may have taken place almost a century apart and half a world away the garden became our come bond.
What started as a way to give back to those in need in my community has turned into a way to bring my family together. From the backyard to the dining room table our family’s bond has grow along with the garden we grow.