In my second year with the Build It Up program, I’ve been on an amazing journey of learning, filled with tasting the results of our hard work! Our garden did great last year, and during the winter we enjoyed eating the veggies we canned. When spring came, the kids were eager to start this year’s garden and cheered for the guy who plowed the soil.

Our family favorite crop to grow is popcorn. It looked cool hanging to dry during the fall, and the kids have fun taking the kernels off the cob and popping them. It is now a regular treat on our movie nights. Another favorite was the salsa that we were able to can from the tomatoes, peppers, and onions we grew.

This year, we faced difficulties such as battling weeds, plant diseases, and pests. Even though squash bugs and Japanese beetles still give us the heebie-jeebies, we’re gradually coming to appreciate the natural rhythm of the garden and the benefits of certain insects, like fireflies and ladybugs.

What’s really neat is how our garden has become a classroom. We’ve learned about planting seeds, watering, picking crops, and cooking with what we grow. Gardening has become a big part of our lives, and we keep adding more plants. Our backyard went from a mostly empty lot to an oasis full of trees, berry bushes and a bountiful garden. Thanks to this program, we’re turning our yard into a place where we can grow lots of delicious food. I can’t wait to see what we’ll be growing in the next few years!

– Sarah Lovelace