My husband is a grower. Every spring finds him rummaging through seed packets, ducking into the gardening section at our local home improvement store and preparing our humble backyard garden for planting. The soil at our house is unfavorable for growing things, yet my husband manages to successfully produce a garden full of yummy vegetables in addition to the occasional berries.
The selection varies each year but almost always includes two or three types of tomatoes, cucumber, okra and peppers, lots of peppers. We have also had eggplant, summer squash, strawberries and blueberries.
Ironically, my husband refuses to eat almost everything he grows. With the exception of a few hot peppers and cucumbers-turned-sweet pickles, he is happy to watch me eat it and give away the rest.
This works well for me because I rarely go out back and I don't do dirt, but I definitely enjoy the fresh food that comes from it.
Luckily, my husband has found kindred spirits in our daughters. One loves to dig and play in the dirt. The other can pick most of the vegetables when they are ready. Both love to water. They are cute, and they don't charge for their work. It is the perfect arrangement really.
On most evenings throughout late spring and summer, you can find them puttering around the garden dragging the water hose, pulling off withered plants and talking about what they see. The girls, of course, love to ask questions.
"What is this plant, Daddy"?
"Why does this have a flower?"
My husband loves to answer them, explaining patiently what each vegetable is, how they will look once ripe and why some have vines and others tall stalks. It is unofficially daddy-daughter time.
The most fun days are when a plant they have watched for days or even weeks finally becomes ripe enough to pick. My husband lets our older daughter collect the bounty, and her face beams as she brings it inside to me saying, "Look what we got, Mommy!"
At first, it is only a handful of cherry tomatoes and maybe a few jalapeno peppers. During peak season, it might take her two or three trips to get everything inside. I struggle to find room to store it all until it is eaten or shared. Everyone finds joy in those days despite who grows it or who eats it.
Every time we cut into a ripe tomato, open a jar of homemade pickles or give our daughters fresh strawberries for snack, we love knowing it came from our backyard.
When it comes to gardening, we are the perfect pair, my husband and I. I am grateful that he enjoys digging in the dirt, laying out precise rows of vegetables according to how they grow best and nurturing them until they do.
I am especially thankful because it means I don't have to do it. I simply enjoy the results, and my husband doesn't mind.
And, I promise my grower-husband and I are equally excited each time a ripe vegetable comes out of our--ok, his--garden. He feels accomplished. I feel hungry. We all end up happy.
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