[dropcaps]N [/dropcaps]ot only is gardening a rewarding hobby, it’s great exercise too with the twins. I’ve been gardening since my university days, when – to avoid studying for finals – I decided my parents’ front yard needed a makeover. There I was – rolling the sod off its roots, digging into the dirt and replacing the clay soil with nutrient-rich top soil and manure. Then came time to do research about all the different types of plants: perennials, annuals, spring flowering bulbs, summer flowering bulbs, etc. I had detailed drawings showing the layout of the flower bed, what plant would go where, and how different the bed would look in spring versus summer.
With the front yard designed and my exams completed, my focus turned to the backyard. Here, I planted a veggie garden and shrubs such as lilac and dogwood. My obsession with gardening became so great that even my neighbours thought I was studying to be an arbourist. There’s a saying which says that planting any plant from which an animal or bird benefits is considered a charity (Al Bukhari). Not only do animals benefits, but we humans do too!
Vegetable gardens are especially rewarding. My inlaws have the most bountiful vegetable garden I’ve ever seen with green onions, white onions, carrots, tomatoes, green beans and more. Our backyard is barely 2 summers old, so our garden is fairly basic at this point. We have parsley, thai basil, cherry tomatoes and salad tomatoes. The herbs have been growing really well, especially the basil and many of our neighbours and family have benefitted from its output.
It’s a great way to teach kids about where our food comes from. In fact, lil M&M learned to water and pick the cherry tomatoes just from watching us do it. It took a few times to teach them not to pick the green tomatoes, since everything they pick goes straight in their mouths. When the same batch of tomatoes is offered to them inside the house, they’re not as interested. I don’t blame them, there’s something special about sampling while you harvest! Just like when we took them berry picking earlier this summer with the Twins Association’s Annual Picnic.
It was my first time going strawberry picking since I was a kid, and I forgot how delicious local berries are. They’re smaller and a lighter, brighter red colour then the kind you find in the grocery stores imported from the States. Lil M&M had a blast that day picking, tasting, smashing and eating the red tasty treats hanging low off the ground.
Our plans for next year’s garden are more ambitious. Mr. Mama is preparing a vegetable patch which will be ready for planting in time for the next growing season. Next year we’ll add other easy herbs and vegetables like cilantro, italian basil, mint, chives, cucumbers, hot peppers and more. Until then, we are enjoying the convenience of picking fresh produce right outside our patio door.