Growing up I was surrounded by gardeners, from my mom working at ocean spray growing cranberries to my cousin’s vegetable garden, my whole extended family has roots in gardening. This connection we all share originated with my grandparents Mary and Joe. My grandparents had a love for all things green. They grew their own vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees. My aunts and uncles grew up helping pick things from the garden and helping to weed out the two industrial sized greenhouses my grandparents attached to their home.
My own experience in my grandparents garden is not a unique one, but one that I share with my brother and cousins as well. I was babysat by my grandparents often just like my relatives and in this time I would learn everything I know today about gardening. My favorite part was heading out to the garden with my grandma on a hot summer day rummaging through all sorts of vines and plants to find the biggest, roundest, and reddest tomatoes to pick. Once I found around five perfect tomatoes I would move on to the biggest, greenest, shiniest peppers I could find. After roughly five of the peppers, covered in dirt and sweat I would then move to cucumbers and finally bring my picks of the bunch to my grandmother to inspect in Shaws bags. She would select the ones to bring inside for herself and I got to lay out the rest on their “free” cart that she had parked right next to the garden. Here neighbors and friends could stop by and grab anything they wanted from the cart. This was my favorite part. I loved watching people come stop by to take the vegetables that I picked myself.
My grandparents were a huge influence on my family as far as gardening and giving us all the gift of a green thumb. They even created a family holiday just for us called “planting day” where we would all meet in the spring to plant the seeds for their huge garden. This collectively was one of everyone in my extended family’s holidays. It meant so much to me and more than my grandparents could have imagined.
Written by Marj Tobin