Ok, so I think it’s safe to say that many of us don’t really appreciate those 4-h books, but I know that, as hard as they were for me to complete when I was 8, they really helped me. I remember my first garden that sorta just came up on its own. Seeds, just strewn about from our fall pumpkins that were just tossed into our compost pile, grew into something even better the next summer. From that moment, I was hooked. I’ve grown just about every vegetable imaginable since then, except for celery, but, it’s on my future list.
The next year, I couldn’t wait to embark on my first 4-H gardening project. I drew my garden plan, purchased the seeds, and got busy. In fact, that year I even had a pumpkin large enough to take to the PA State Farm Show in January. I, at just 9 years old, was competing against the local orchards and seasoned farmers since there wasn’t a class for youth pumpkins. Still, I proudly toted my pumpkin in with everyone else, and placed third! I couldn’t believe it!
As the years passed, my garden…. Hmmmm… grew! Not only did my vegetables grow, but the space I needed for my garden was growing. Every year, I’ve worked hard to learn more and challenge myself to try to grow new things. I was always very proud when we would have dinner complete with my own produce. Often, we would only have enough for a few meals, but they were delicious.
Two years ago, not only did I grow it, but we really got busy preserving all that I grew because what I grew was more than we could eat in a few days. Imagine my mom’s surprise the first time I came into the house with a five gallon bucket full of tomatoes and another full of peppers and onions. So, needless to say, we mastered the art of canning salsa! Lots of salsa! Now we make salsa, spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, barbeque sauce, every imaginable jam and jelly, sauerkraut, relish, and so much more. Nothing tastes better in January than opening your own salsa! And nothing is more disappointing than opening your last jar of salsa before the summer veggies are ready.
You just never know where that one beginning project will lead. So be open minded and don’t be afraid to give a 4-H project a shot!
|My first sunflower in my first garden!|
|My first Big Mac pumpkin above and my first|
garden pictured below....