Adriana, Family, Garden, Home School

Harvesting Hope: Victory Garden 2020 June Update

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin

The garden keeps on growing! Each day we walk through the garden weeding, watering, and pruning the suckers off the tomatoes, we are amazed by the growth that seems to happen overnight. Gardening is truly a labor of love. If you’ve ever weeded a carrot bed, I’m sure you’d very much agree! Weeding aside, tending to a garden is therapeutic for me and I think it’s contagious! The kids along with Mike are always out there checking on their plants, pulling weeds, picking bugs off the bok choy and the eggplant, making sure the ground isn’t too dry, counting tomatoes and flowers in the pumpkin patch and dreaming of what the next couple months will bring like tomato sandwiches and homemade pickles!

Leo and his watermelon plant. He’s very excited that it has a flower!

Leo has been my right hand man in the garden this year. He seems to be pretty much in charge of the whole production, but like any good boss, he is always asking questions and learning himself! He is always out there first thing in the morning to check on things, especially his two bean plants that he sprouted from seeds in a jar and then transplanted into the garden. He is a seed saver. Everything he eats, he usually asks where is the seed and how did this grow on a plant and can he grow it in the garden. We are both learning something new everyday. We have researched corn, how many ears one stalk can grow, how to help your pumpkins grow bigger, where are banana seeds and why flowers turn into plants. We also have been studying bees; how they survive and thrive and how they pollinate plants.

People who love to eat are always the best people.

Julia Child

Spending time in the garden has always brought me great joy and I feel so honored to be able to share this gift with my family. I have so many beautiful childhood memories of my Italian grandparents garden in New Jersey. My Nonno and Nonna taught me so much about working the earth and making good food. They were the original “organic” farmers growing up in a little mountain village in Italy. They valued everything they put on the table because it truly was in every word, “the fruits of their labor.” So much of what I know about gardening I learned watching and helping them. They taught me at an early age to respect the earth and to take care of it because our existence depends on it. They weren’t environmental activists, they were Italian farmers who knew the importance of respecting the earth that feeds you. They taught me where food comes from, how to compost and create healthy dirt, how to save seeds for next year, how to can and cook what you grow and best of all, they taught me the great joy of sitting down to a meal together with those you love.

Gardening and food have a way of connecting us all

Planting a garden isn’t just about experimentation, it is about hope. It is about believing in the magic and beauty of the earth and the gift of tomorrow. When planting a garden there are so many things that are out of our control that can effect our plants. To believe in a garden is to have hope. Hope that the tiny little seed you planted will be nourished by the earth and weather the storms and be resilient. It is having trust in the unknown, which is something I hold very near to my heart during these uncertain times. Hope is something that like a garden needs to be nurtured and encouraged to grow. There is no time better than the present to harvest hope. To believe in tomorrow. So I encourage you to dig deep into the earth and plant some seeds of hope. Your garden will do more than grow plants, it will give you a harvest of plenty; one that will nourish the mind, body and soul.

Having a garden and believing in new beginnings is a Victory for us all!

Adriana, Home School

Victory Garden 2020 Update

We have all been hard at work creating our new 2020 Victory Garden expansion. Mike has been working harder than anyone using his time off from his business during this ‘Great Pause’ to expand our garden. He is a true Pioneer Great Outdoorsman – He cut down the trees with his trusty chain saw, he milled the trees into lumber for our raised beds, a garden bench, the split rail fence and a picnic table (coming soon), he and the kids shoveled all the compost we had delivered from a local dairy farm, he pulled weeds and lots and lots of poison ivy to make the space ready for our new garden! With all this homesteading that has been happening Mike and I are feeling a little more like Charles and Caroline Ingalls every day!

Mike has worked incredibly hard (although he has a way of not making it Look like it) putting together the beautiful split rail fence from the trees he cut down. He even had the kids working on scraping the bark off the trees. I usually have to turn away when I look out back and see the kids hard at work with sharp tools! I only ask that they are safe and have a clear understanding of what they need to do and then I take comfort and great pride in seeing them shine and feel proud of their contribution and hard work.

The kids and I started some kale, swiss chard, mesclun salad mix, tomatoes and eggplant seeds in our cold frame and transplanted some to the new garden. We also purchased plants from our local garden center and got some extra’s from my father-in-law as he needed to thin out his new plants.

It is so exciting to see it all come together and to think of the fruits of our labor that we’ll be enjoying this summer! The beds are full of cucumbers, golden beets, carrots, peppers, eggplant, bok choy, lettuce, beans, squash, zucchini, garlic, onions, sunflowers, corn, kale, swiss chard, basil, parsley and tomatoes – lots and lots of tomatoes!

Leo planted his own garden space with sugar baby watermelons, magic lantern pumpkins, corn, sunflowers and gourd pumpkins! He loves collecting seeds from all the fruit and vegetables we eat, drying them out and then putting them into his garden!

If you’re looking for a great gardening book for kids – Sharon Love Joy has two wonderful books: Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots

If you’re a grandparent and would love to put together some garden delights for your grandchildren or with your grandchildren – Sunflower Houses is a Beautiful book:

Here’s to a summer full of Good Health – and a Plentiful Harvest of Peace, Hope, Joy – and lot’s of Veggies!

Happy Gardening!