by Kim Shepheard

One thing I always wanted to do when I had a child was start a garden. This year is my second in our home gardening adventure. Some of my most pleasant and peaceful memories are from summers spent at my grandparents’ house on Long Island when I would follow my grandfather around in his garden. Compared to my garden, his was twice the size of mine, and he grew a lot of seemingly everything. (I specifically remember a lot of tomatoes and zucchini.) He taught me of the importance of weeding and watering your garden – essentially the spending time and nurturing it – much like you do with your family.
Now that I have a daughter, I’m basically raising her in our garden. It hasn’t been a struggle to get her interested since she already loves the outdoors. We went shopping for the vegetables together, and when I couldn’t decide between this plant or that, she was the decision-maker. I wanted to incorporate some flowers in the garden to help with pollination, so I let her choose the most colorful ones. This year we planted watermelon, buttercrunch lettuce, spinach, pumpkin, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, cauliflower, 6 kinds of tomatoes, red cabbage, onions, red onions, broccoli, peas, basil, Thai basil, thyme, cilantro, oregano, parsley, lavender and rosemary. A couple of things didn’t make it after that last unexpected frost this year, such as cantaloupe, basil and sweet potatoes, so I replaced them with other things – and just got more basil. You have to have basil!

I tried doing what worked well last year, as well as experimenting with new crops this year, hence all the herbs. I love having fresh herbs to show my daughter how to touch them and release the fragrances of each one. It’s a hoot watching her go from plant to plant, touching and smelling. She can even name each one when giving a tour of our garden to friends and family! She also weeds and takes things inside when I harvest them. I think if my grandfather could see us now, he’d be very pleased and completely taken with our little gardener. Perhaps one day she’ll pass on this tradition as well.
Every evening she and I go out and water everything, including the apple and plum trees, mint and peppermint (in their own pots, since they grow like crazy). I use the hose, but she uses a little watering can and keeps coming back to refill it. I love her “growing” interest in gardening, along with mine. We are learning together, which is fun and fulfilling, not to mention the benefits of eating healthy and spending less money. She is learning where food comes from and how it grows, how to take care of it – and she is more likely to try something new to eat if she knows it has something in it that has come from our own backyard. Added bonus!

Kim is a curious, passionate, results-driven marketer who loves to help companies grow. Originally from New York, she has studied in England and lived and worked in Florida and Colorado, which is now home with her husband and daughter, and she spends weekends with them at the zoo, the museum, gymnastics class and Little Monkey Bizness in Parker.