Recently, while working on a magazine article about canning vegetables, I interviewed a woman named Deborah Lewis from Muncie, Indiana, who’s been growing vegetables and canning them for years. When I asked her what she likes most about canning, she said: “I love how canning requires you to slow down; you just can’t be in a rush when you are slipping tomato skins or snapping green beans.”
She’s exactly right. And I think the sentiment extends to gardening as well as canning and preserving. A couple of days ago, my boys and I spent part of the morning in the garden picking English peas. I had other work to do and they wanted to go swimming, but we had to take it slow or we’d miss one (or several) of the fat, ripened pods. You just can’t hurry through picking peas. Or planting them. Or shelling them.
Maybe that’s one of the valuable things about gardening. It makes us slow down, take our time, and enjoy the labor (or at least the fruits of it). Couldn’t we all use a good reason to slow down?
With baseball games, homework, laundry, work deadlines, and other commitments pulling our families in various directions at all times, it can seem like an impossibility to spend a morning, afternoon, or sometimes an entire day in the garden, or in the kitchen with the produce we’ve grown or purchased. But during that time, we’re usually talking, laughing, learning — and at the end of it, we have that satisfied feeling of having accomplished something important. After all, what’s more important than feeding your family good, wholesome foods?
Does gardening help your family slow down? What other lessons does it teach you?
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