As you might already know, I love gardening.  My dad and bonus mama, introduced me to it last year and it’s something I’ve really grown to enjoy tremendously. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s what’s growing in my garden this year.


I’m a proud mama.  This year, I’ve grown vegetable, lots of flowers and even put in my first rose bush.  But, more than I’m proud of anything, I’m happy that my family is getting involved.  My younger sons (4 and 5) planted sweat pea seeds in our quest to create a privacy fence and my hubby is keeping the grass low and digging lots of holes for me.  Now my oldest son, well he’s really blossoming.  He’s even created his own mini-garden on the side of our garage.  Gardening is also teaching him a lot of life lessons.  Here are some things you can teach your tween if you manage to get them in the dirt too.

1. Enjoy growth!

When my son and I first began gardening we were impatient. We couldn’t wait to see the red, purples and pinks that would sprout from our newly planted buds.  So, we were both disappointed when it didn’t happen immediately. But, the more we watered and talked to our plants we began to find the joy in watching a plant grow.  Through this experience we both learned how to enjoy growth.  The highlight of gardening is definitely seeing your plant come to fruition with a flower, but the beauty of gardening comes from knowing you are an integral part in the growth of something other than yourself. It’s the same thing with kids. It’s great to watch them go to the prom and graduate from high school, but when you think back about it I loved seeing my sons take their first steps, fumble over their first words and grow peach fuzz on their faces.

2. Everything Needs a Little Dirt!

I used to hate getting dirt. I think that may have been one of the main reasons I didn’t try gardening up until a year ago.  But my son of course, dug right in.  He would dig a whole with or without gardening gloves.  And the more I got dirty the more I realized how integral dirt is to plants.  Some plants can go days, or even weeks without water.  Other plants need very little, or a whole lot of sunshine, but EVERY plant needs dirt.

God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt! – My mama


It’s the same in parenting and family life.  When my relationships with my husband first began it was rocky.  My husband and I struggled in our marriage at first.  But through the ‘dirt’ of learning and loving, We’ve emerged a better people.  Just like my  plants, dirt provided me with the nourishment I needed to grow.

3. Good friends give and take!

Jair and I recently started learning about companion planting.  He’s doing a bit of it in the small patch of dirt he calls his garden. Companion planting is when you sow plants with other plants that will assist their growth and protect them from intruders like disease and certain types of bugs.  For example, strawberries and onions make great companions.  Onions protect plants because most bugs don’t like the smell they give off and stay away.  Onions also are a natural antibiotic so it assist the strawberry in fighting disease.  While planting chamomile with onions and strawberries will make both plants more flavorful.  This taught us both that good companions have something to offer as well as something to gain from one another.  Good frienships are not about politics or material possessions, they are about each person being willing to enter into a symbiotic relationship that gives as much as it takes.

Thanks for reading mamas.  What about you?  Do you get your hands dirty in the garden?  If so, what have you learned?  If not, why?


Cynthia Mendoza

Hello. Welcome to a blog for Black moms looking to thrive while raising kids in this hectic world and the headquarters for Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a Pittsburgh support group for Black moms. Here I write about raising my three boys, living in and loving Pittsburgh, dating my husband, gardening and all kinds of other stuff. Thanks for visiting. Stay long & come often!

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