My mother swears that I got the “gardening gene” form her side of the family. My mother grew up in rural Ohio on her grandfather’s farm. My father grew up in Queens and I don’t think I got it from him. She may be on to something.

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It is true, I do have a green thumb. My flowers grow and my gardens produce pounds of produce every year. Each spring I take the time to cultivate the soil and create a great environment for my produce to flourish.  I enjoy taking something and making it beautiful.

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When we moved into our house three years ago, the yard was ready for an overhaul and I went nuts. I planted three strawberry patches, 10 blueberry trees,  two kiwi plants, two peach trees, an apple tree and a raised vegetable garden. This summer we grew raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers, snap peas, and the tomatoes and peppers are still going strong. In July we planted a bunch of pumpkin seeds that we had taken from our pumpkins the year before. Over the last six weeks, we watched some of the seeds germinate and grow. Some even have flowers on them, and it is exciting.

The kids like it when we go out to the garden and collect our bounty. It’s like a little magic trick, we planted the seed in the ground and they grew to make food. Wow. Food doesn’t just come from the store. What a concept.   The quality of the veggies is better than the grocery store and it is organic and pesticide free. Plus it is cheaper. Have to subsidize five kids somehow.

IMG_2666I like that it teaches the kids to take care of something. And if you take the time to nourish something, sometimes it gives back to you. I say sometimes, because our zucchini and squash got infected by bugs and I had to rip them all out of the garden. So we threw in some pumpkin seeds and they are growing into a large pumpkin patch. Pumpkin seeds are easy to sow and a great place to exercise your green thumb; throw them in the ground and they grow. And sometimes, the rotting pumpkin that you threw in the yard last year, makes a surprise appearance the following year.

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“Mom, we can’t wait until we can pick the pumpkins,” they say every time we water them. I agree with a little sadness, because the pumpkins are the last thing we will grow before winter and then we have to wait until spring to start again. “They’ll be ready by Halloween”, I tell them, and with the thoughts of Costumes, candy and Jack-o-lanterns dancing in their heads, they are content waiting.

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Shari M

Shari M

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My Name is Shari. I was born & raised on Long Island and spent 18 years in NJ. So, I am a NY/NJ hybrid. Not only will I mess you up, but I’ll bury you in someone’s yard. We moved to MD 2.5 years ago and that has been a journey. We have 5 kids, 3 boys ages 6,8 & 10 and twin girls almost 4. SO I guess you can say,for the last 10 years, I have kept myself out of trouble. The three boys are Autistic which presents it’s challenges. Especially because there is nothing about the diagnosis that is “one size fits all”. Each child on the Autism spectrum wears his condition differently and mine are about as different from each other as it gets. When I meet people, they ask me how I do it. Well, you need a wicked sense of humor to start and the genetic Jewish logic of “things could always be worse” to be floating in my mind at all times. We have moments of frustration, celebration and laughter. I hope to share some stories that will make you laugh and not feel alone in the journey.