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Gardening as a family

#21: Meet Christian, Grow a Garden participant + backyard gardener

2020 was our first year with DUG. We got approved for a no-cost To-Grow Box. The pandemic was in full swing at this point, and we were spending more time at home. My husband is a musician and that industry was hit hard by COVID. We needed to find ways to become a little bit more financially savvy to make it all work. We thought it would be a great learning experience to grow our own food at home – that it would allow us to teach our children the value of growing food and that it could help us be more responsible about the Earth we live on. We did everything in our backyard. We built garden boxes and also did in-ground planting. We’re looking forward to doing it again this year as Grow a Garden program participants. We didn’t scare ourselves away from it!

I grew up with my mother and grandmother both gardening. I can remember hoeing rows in the garden for my grandmother. She would ask me or one of my cousins to go out and pick something so she could use it while she was cooking. I can remember sitting and playing in the garden rows and eating the fruits right off the trees. It was cool to realize that I could do the same things I saw growing up. 

We wouldn’t have started a garden if it weren’t for DUG’s help. I reached out to DUG on a whim. We didn’t have access to seeds or plans to do it on our own, and receiving them at no cost was what inspired us to build our home garden.

We grew a lot of things that we used regularly like herbs, tomatoes, and lettuces – things we would have previously needed to buy in bulk at the grocery store. So it absolutely did have an impact on how much we were spending – we could just go grab it right out of the garden!

Our home garden was a relaxing, meditative space for me. Every morning, I’d get up, go water, and check on our plants. Being in the garden allowed me to have a free mental space, away from all the craziness that was going on in the world.

Seeing how enthusiastic my children were about watching the plants grow, learning about the different types and names of plants, and learning what each one needed to thrive was super valuable for us as a family. The kids tried so many new vegetables that they probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise because they came out of our own garden. They would go outside and talk to the plants. My son would tell the broccoli that he loved it every morning. My daughter would eat the tomatoes off the vine and I’d wonder why they were always missing!

My husband loves collard greens, so it was amazing to be able to just go get them from the backyard. He didn’t have any gardening experience before this, but now he’s a total gardener. He’s like, “Do you think we should build greenhouses next year?” 

Before signing up for the Grow a Garden program this year, we sat down and had a family discussion about what we wanted to try growing in our garden. We chose things together on the application. I still have seeds from last year that we’ll use this season, as well.”

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