When I was young, we lived out in the country. It was in a house my dad had built. The house was located on a large piece of land and I’d proudly tell anyone I could that we had 48 acres of it, though I’m fairly sure I got the amount wrong. Being poor, we always grew the majority of our vegetables in a large garden, and even had chickens. First they were white ones, and I think we ate all of those, and then our last ones were brown. They stayed behind when we moved to the city. One morning when I was smaller, I woke up before everyone else and snuck into the coop to collect the freshly laid eggs. I carefully went into the coop, chickens squawking incessantly. I dodged around the ones still sitting in their nests and picked three eggs, not feeling daring enough to grab more. As I went to show my mom what I’d bravely retrieved from the coop (I could’ve been pecked, you know!) I set one down on the table. It rolled off onto the floor. Splat. Then I had to go wake up Mommy and tell her I accidentally dropped one. It was okay, though. We had lots of eggs.
I have other great memories about the garden. I used to walk out some days and pick sugar snap peas and eat them, pods and all. I loved carrots. I once took some out of the ground, rinsed them in the little pond we had full of frogs, and ate away. I’ve always been a lover of fruits and vegetables in general. I could eat them all day.
One thing I used to do to spend my time (we only had three channels on the TV – CTV, CBC, and Global. I frequently remind Emma that I used to watch the news and Oprah for lack of anything better to do. ‘I know, Meaghan. You’ve told me already,’ she’ll say.) was to pretend I had my own TV show. I would make little experiments and whatnot, like mud pies, while pretending to talk to a camera. Once I decided to play with some beans. I found an empty pudding cup and stuffed some beans in with tissues, putting water in the container. I put it by the window and forgot about it.
For most people, you know this is how you sprout beans. The funny part is, I didn’t, yet I did exactly what you were supposed to. A few days or a week later, my mom called for me. Uh oh, I’m in trouble again, I thought. I came into my room and she asked me if I’d been playing with beans. I probably said no. So she took the pudding cup, still sitting by the window, which I’d completely forgotten about, and showed me: my beans had started growing! We later planted them in the garden and I was super proud to see what I’d created. Green beans aren’t my favorite, but I was floored when we got to eat them. I’d grown them all by myself.
Last year when I grew my own squashes, I had a similar feeling. I managed a haul of eight squashes total. It wasn’t much, but added to the neighbour’s squashes we bought, it was a very squashy year. We may even have some cooked squash still in the freezer. I like growing my own food because not only does it taste amazing, but it’s a great feeling to do something like that in your backyard and to enjoy your hard work come harvest time.
Our vegetable list is fairly short, since our neighbors grow and sell vegetables. This is also farm country – in fact, a nearby village is dubbed the ‘French Fry Capital of the World’ – and there are local farmers everywhere. Still, nothing beats growing your own produce.
Vegetables we’re planning on growing this year:
Here are some herbs I was thinking of growing: