By Di Pritchard, Wodonga
One of my earliest memories as a little girl in Peakhurst, a suburb of Sydney, was my grandpa and I picking carrots from his vegetable garden. In those days (early 1950’s) Peakhurst was an outer suburb of Sydney and grandpa had a small farm there with vegetables and a dairy cow. His son, my father, was also a gardener during the depression and in the second world war he was contracted by the US army to grow carrots for the soldiers.
So a vegetable patch was always a part of my family home and spinach, beans, lettuce. carrots, tomatoes, cauliflowers and onions, fresh from the garden were part of every meal and the excess given away to family, neighbours and friends or swapped for fresh eggs.
My father lived until he was 99 years old and one of my last memories of him at about 97 was watering his vegetables garden even though the watering can could only be half full as his strength had decreased but not his determination to grow things. I now have his watering can in my vegie patch and my grandchildren use it to water my vegies.
What a legacy, we as grandparents can give to our grandchildren just by getting them to do a few things in our gardens. My three year old grandson recently discovered earthworms and loves to dig for them now and watch them wiggle. My five year old grandson loves to water the garden and watch things grow especially the strawberries which never see a plate but go from the bush straight to his mouth. My seven year old grandson likes to pull carrots but eyes the broccoli with suspicion.
What a pleasure it is to see them in the garden with me and even if they have been a bit bored inside on a visit, just taking them outside changes everything and there is always something interesting to discover like the taste of mint or the web of the golden orb spider or the big green caterpillar on the grapevine.
In a world where our food security is a challenge because of growing population and where vegetable and fruit costs are rising, we have a great opportunity as grandparents to give this gift of knowledge and opportunity to our grand- children. Parents can often be too busy for spending gardening time but grandparents can be the key.