I have always been a gardener. I have loved to tend to plants. For about 30 years, my gardening focused on beautiful flower beds and rose bushes, and I knew the rules.
About 3 years ago, my husband rocked my world….again, when he introduced me to vegetable gardening. I immediately fell in love with it. My love was not only for the results that it produced, but also I loved what my husband thought of me as I was working up a sweat, getting all dirty….ahem. Sorry I got distracted.
Shortly after learning the ways of the garden, I was also taught how to can and preserve the fruits….and vegetables of my labors and save them all year long.
Fast forward to last year. I have learned that there are some things about gardening that not everyone knows. In particular, there is an unspoken list of rules of etiquette that pertain to a vegetable gardener.
1. If you are ever given vegetables, jams, jellies, in a mason jar (canned) from a gardener, when you have finished with the contents, please return the jar. Just doing this may get you another jar full of goodies.
2. If you offer to help someone in their garden, be mindful. This is their sanctuary. Be careful not to tromp around the garden, be careful where you step and what you pull up. Also, if you have offered help and do show up, it is best to not bring children with you unless you plan on supervising them. You may see it as a fun day in the dirt, but to the gardener, it is an art.
3. If you would like something from the garden, just ask. You will probably receive. Remember that this is someone’s personal garden, not a commercial one, or your personal farmer’s market, so it is probably best to be humble. Once, someone asked me for watermelon. I said, “Sure.” When the day came that they were ready. I called her and she said, “Great, I need you to bring over 9.”
4. Gardening is hard work. It takes a lot of time, money, sweat, tears, and often at least a little bit of blood (stupid tomato cages). Treat the gardener with respect.
5. Consume what you receive, or if you don’t like it find someone who does, don’t let that precious labor go to waste.
If you need me I’ll be out pollinating the cucumber with a paintbrush. Happy Spring and Happy Gardening.
Rachel Hough blogs at Domestic Artiste and she gardens whenever and wherever she can.