I don't remember growing up around gardening in California. I remember my great grandparents having a big garden out back, but I only remember corn. Actually, I don't remember vegetables playing a part in my childhood at all.
On the other hand, my husband grew up gardening here in Idaho. Even now his dad still maintains their garden.
When we lived in the university apartments when we were first married, they offered small garden plots for rent on the property. We could see the vegetable gardens from our 3rd story window, and I always wondered why anyone would take the time and money to do a garden.
But after we moved out and got a place in the country, we started gardening. My husband knew all about it. I knew nothing. Nothing about planting, watering, making rows. I didn't even know how some things grew. In the ground? On a bush? Not a clue.
Over the years, I've gotten the hang of it. I'm the one mapping out the garden plot. I know radishes and peas come out first, spinach and arugula get multiple plantings, and it's okay to start digging potatoes when the blooms have died off.
Just when I think I know it all, I learn something new. I knew tomato plants need cages, but...if you plant beefsteak tomatoes (which most of ours are) and water, fertilize, and weed properly (which most years we get a bit lazy with), the metal cages you buy at the store won't work. Because each one of those beefsteak tomato plants, when tended to properly (like this year) will produce dozens of huge tomatoes. Too many for the metal cages to hold them and the cages will wind up flat on the ground from the weight. Although they are just as tasty, just as bright, and go great in fresh salsa.
From the garden today came a jalapeno pepper, a serrano chili pepper, and some beefsteaks. Chopped an onion, threw in a bit of chili powder and garlic, and added a bit of fresh squeezed lime juice and salt.
Yum! After giving it a taste, next time I'll go with one chili pepper instead of two. It was mighty hot.