I've had a backyard vegetable garden for a number of years. Nothing too elaborate -- a few tomato plants, some herbs, salad greens, and whatever looks delicious or intriguing.
Every year, I get great satisfaction from the process of planting the seeds or seedlings, caring for them, and eventually harvesting, cooking and eating the final results. Circle of life and all that.
This year, my son Tim, 12, was by my side when we planted the garden. I love his curiosity and enthusiasm, and his willingness to throw himself wholeheartedly into anything he enjoys.
Tim jumped out of bed at 7 a.m. on a Saturday to shop for plants at Eastern Market. He toured the stalls with us, inspecting the vegetables and helping us choose the best ones. He lugged the plants around the market, loaded up the car and helped unload when we got home.
And together, we planted heirloom tomatoes, romaine, mixed greens, spinach, swiss chard, green beans, broccoli, lemon thyme, rosemary, basil and a few giant sunflowers (which were immediately destroyed by a critter). He dug, he got his hands dirty, he asked a million questions. Good, thoughtful questions. Then he hand-watered the beds with a watering can, twice.
As we moved through the day, side-by-side, it occurred to me that I've never had more fun in the garden, and I felt honored and privileged to connect with him in such a meaningful way.
Because, yes, planting a garden puts food on the table, but really, it's about feeding the soul.