How do I learn how to garden?
I hear this question more frequently as I answer questions, teach classes and visit people.
The popularity of growing your own food has re-emerged for many reasons.
For some, it is economic, as they want to stretch their hard-earned dollars. Others want to have the freshest and tastiest vegetables possible.
Still others want to grow food using fewer pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Others are following religious counsel to learn to be more self-sufficient and store their excess produce for use in times of need.
Many of the health problems facing this nation could be reduced by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden. Helping others learn to grow their own food gets them outside and active.
You should never forget the health benefits of working in the garden — enjoying the physical exercise from working outside and also the mental relaxation from working the soil, seeing plants grow and enjoying some of God's gifts to mankind.
Gardening is a great family activity. For me, learning to garden was a gift from my parents. My father farmed and taught me many things, but my mother's time and temperament were more suited to the tender vegetable seedlings in our garden.
She patiently taught me how to plant, nurture, water and fertilize the plants. She taught me to hoe to the end of the row to remove the weeds.
She also taught me how to harvest and then preserve the fruits of my labors which we enjoyed eating throughout the year.
Today, many people, particularly the younger generation, did not have a mother who taught them about gardening. This column is for them.