Photo by www.metaphoricalplatypus.comI have a hobby I suck at: gardening. It seems so easy – you put the seeds or plants in the properly prepared soil, make sure they get enough water and sun, and you are supposed to get flowers or veggies.

The truth is I am so bad at gardening I can’t even grow zucchini. But every year I try.

This is one of those things that I got from my father, who in turn got it from his father and mother. It’s about providing some of what you eat from the land you live on. It’s about being less dependent on others for your sustenance.

Everyone used to garden. It was the only way to supplement rations in the war era, and sometimes the means of survival in the Depression. But it has fallen off. Most of my neighbors don’t garden at all.

My daughter doesn’t get to see the big garden that I grew up with, nor the big gardens that perched either behind the garage or at the back of the lots where I grew up.

One of my Girl Scout’s moms asked if I would tackle the issues with self-sufficiency. I told her I wasn’t the best person to do this, given my success with gardening. But then I got to thinking.

The Journey the girls are working on right now is about food sourcing, a kind of farm-to-table sort of thing. I may not be able to grow, but I know where to pick.

To finish our journey for the year, we are going to do a strawberry picking. The strawberries grown in this area are so many that they inspired a festival and parade. So one Saturday in May, I will be taking my girls to the fields, and we will be picking strawberries. Then we will come home and I will show them how to make jam from scratch in glass jars using a hot water bath.

Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to pass on what little I know about being self-sufficient.

It’s got me thinking, too. I want to be less dependent on the markets and out-of-state food suppliers. So maybe I will do what I can to learn from the people around me. A master gardener lives next door. My across-the-street neighbors can grow anything. While I may not be able to do the same level as my father and grandparents, part of me is saying these are skills that should not be lost.

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