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I have fond childhood memories of the huge neighborhood garden that was next door to my grandma's house. Instead of letting summertime weeds take over the vacant lot, everybody planted corn, collard greens and squash. And in my grandma's backyard, tomatoes grew by the dozen.
Since those days, gardening has become a tradition in my family. My mom isn't really a vegetable grower but I've spent countless hours with her planting flowers and fruit trees, and my sister talks about her own tomato vines like they're pets.
Out here in Los Angeles, I've been missing the gardening experience, and my kids are lacking the connection to the earth that gardening provides. One of the hard things about living in an apartment building is not having a yard to grow my own fruits and vegetables. And sad as it is, because of pollution from the oil wells that used to cover much of Los Angeles, if I grow my own veggies in the ground, they might not even be safe to eat.
But ever since the Obama's gave the go-ahead for a White House garden, I've been thinking that growing veggies in planter boxes is better than nothing. Thank goodness the folks from Scotts Miracle-Gro, the makers of the products that keep my house plants looking like a healthy jungle, reached out to me about their Gro Good campaign. They've teamed up Feeding America and Plant a Row for the Hungry in the hopes of donating over 2 million pounds of food to people who need it. Scotts will donate one million pounds, and guess who gets to donate the other one million?
That's right, you and me.
How could I not pledge to participate in this when I know I a) love gardening and b) know that the statistics are that 1 in 8 households in America experience hunger. And I'm sure those stats are from before the economy crashed and unemployment went through the roof, so I am seriously down with the Gro Good campaign.
By participating in the Gro Good campaign, I pledge four things:File:Gardening..jpg 1) I pledge to garden for the greater good. 2 I will plant a little more than I need. 3) I will eat my home grown foods as often as I can. 4) I will donate my extra harvest to a local food bank.
To start off, I got a little Gro Good kit from Scotts and only had to go to buy seeds and some dirt. My kids wanted to grow cantaloupes and watermelons, but I talked them into beginning with something a little easier: tomatoes, carrots and lettuce.
It wasn't hard to follow the directions on the seed packages, and in about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon, we had our boxes planted. My youngest son took the time to comment that the dirt didn't taste so good, "So I don't know why the plants like eating it!"
Why was my baby eating dirt? I honestly don't know. I swear, I really do feed the boy!
This morning he was a little disappointed that nothing had sprouted yet -- uh, this isn't Jack and the Beanstalk, son!
Yes, these city kids have a LOT to learn about gardening.