I come from a long line of Mennonite farmers, on both sides of the family. My mom's early years were spent on a peanut farm in Paraguay and my dad grew up on a farm near Tofield. Some of my earliest spring memories are of my parents planting up our big garden in the backyard, of my dad digging up the soil, and of course, of screeching at any worms he came to show my sister and me.
I didn't have much interest in gardening when I was younger, although I did enjoy picking chokecherries and noshing on those weird mouth-drying berries.
One time I tried growing flowers from seed in my bedroom, but their colossal failure to grow useful stems convinced me that I had the very opposite of a green thumb.
But somewhere along the way I discovered that I wasn't as black-thumbed as I thought...that somewhere inside me lay a long-latent green thumb. I started with houseplants and graduated to small potted tomatoes. Then through a sees of rental houses I started growing ever larger gardens. I even took a botany class in my second-last semester of university, and discovered to my chagrin that it was way more interesting than my chosen specialization! Oh retrospect, how I love thee.
Along the way I discovered the joy of making things grow. I'm an avid reader so much of my gardening knowledge comes from books, but I couldn't have done it well without my dad. His way of gardening hearkens back to the days before square foot gardening, raised beds, permaculture, and all the other gardening gimmicks shouting for our attention. He (mostly) just puts seeds in the garden and waits for them to grow. And grow they do. Cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, dill, potatoes, zucchini and even corn, they all grow and produce a wonderful harvest. He gardens because he enjoys it, and he makes it look easy.
So on this Father's Day, and his birthday, I'd like to take a moment to say Thank You to my Dad. Thanks for teaching by example, for answering my questions, for not saying "I told you so" when my experiments go awry, and even for letting some of my crazy schemes influence your own gardening style.
Happy Father's Day, and Happy Birthday Dad!