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The Beginning of Stone Hill Garden and Its Military Ties

Tabatha and Shane head 

shotI grew up in central Pennsylvania where gardening is a family activity. As a child I enjoyed earning a nickel for every potato beetle that I picked from the plants. My favorite part was enjoying the delicious ripe veggies as soon as I picked them and managed to wipe them clean on my shirt.

Tabatha had some exposure to gardening as well when she was a child. She also had some experiences with goats and chickens. Tabatha has always had a ‘green thumb’ and enjoys maintaining indoor plants as well as growing food in the garden.

Now we are all grown up with a family of our own. We started a small kitchen herb garden in 2007 and then decided to establish a potted garden on the patio of the house we were renting in Yuma, Arizona in 2010.

Yuma potted 

At the time we were both on active duty in the Marine Corps. It can be difficult to start or maintain a garden while someone is in the military. You never know when you could be deployed, sent away for an extended period of time for training or even told that it’s time for you to move to a different base.

In 2010 I volunteered to be relocated to southern California. We continued our gardening practices here in California and we have actually ditched the pots and put some tomato and pepper plants in the ground. I talked about gardening while at work, and this has rubbed off on a few of my fellow Marines who have decided to start a small garden as well.

boys celery 

We have involved our children with the gardening since the beginning. Gardening has been both entertaining and educational for all of us. I asked my oldest son to think of a name for our garden recently and he almost immediately responded with Stone Hill Garden. Both of my sons contribute to the gardening effort and they also enjoy eating the rewards that we have been blessed with.

We have recently moved to a new house and have transplanted veggies from our previous house. We transplanted 3 tomato plants and 4 bell pepper plants. Only the fullest tomato plant survived the transplant and continued to produce beautiful red fruit for us. 

Tomatoes 

The pepper plants did much better and we only lost 1 of them after the move. 

Bell Peppers 

My wife and I have been mentally planning out our gardening plots for the house that we have moved into. We have agreed to do more reading and be prepared to plant in the spring instead of just putting some seeds in the dirt on a random day of our choice.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with the GRIT community. Hopefully I can inspire some of the other military families to at least try a small potted garden of their favorite herbs and veggies that they can be proud of and share the rewards with their family or friends.