Several months ago I decided to turn this blog’s focus primarily to food, and that decision has been well received. What we eat reaches into every aspect of our lives, so you will see posts about gatherings with friends involving food and you will read memories about my family and what they taught me about feeding myself and others. When we lose the aspect of sharing that cooking takes on almost automatically, we lose a large measure of the joy. So, whether it is via this blog or via a quick trip to a friend’s house with fresh-baked bread or a pan of lasagna, in my world, food is about sharing.

The way I grew up gardening was about sharing too. The work was shared, the harvest was shared, the resulting canned goods and meals were shared. I’m glad to see so many people starting gardens for their families. Anything you grow yourself just seems to taste better, and there’s something about a meal whose major components traveled only a few hundred yards and spent less than an hour from plant to plate. The sweat equity is not only good for us, it helps us realize and appreciate what hard work farmers do for us, especially those who strive to feed their community the same quality they feed their family.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t appreciate growing up with a huge garden until I had tried to grow herbs in a dorm window sill or, later, grow everything I wanted to in a postage stamp-sized city yard. I didn’t appreciate the hours Mom spent at her canner until I tasted what passed for a green bean in a tin from the grocery store. Now I take every opportunity to abandon asphalt and turn down that country gravel road to spend a few quality hours with both the parents and their gorgeous garden. I know it’s not enough to warrant the bounty they send home with me, but parents are like that. Mine have always given more than they would ever think of taking.

Come December, many an evening at my home is spent drooling over glossy seed catalogues, making wish lists and then paring them down severely to what will fit in my available space and sun. It never seems like much, but what is there is truly satisfying. I have a few friends, and their number is growing, who have expressed an interest in gardening. We share tips, plants, and recipes. As with cooking, this sharing adds its own special flavor. For those who are interested, I plan to share this year’s garden journal online. I’d love to welcome you to the conversation. Let me know what you are doing, what you are growing, and even what I’m doing wrong if you like. I’ll look forward to sharing.