The Jackson Family's Orchard 1

Garden Teaches Life Lessons

“You are out of your mind!” or “This is really cool!” are the two expressions I usually get from people who come to see our garden and orchard located just south of Pioneer Road and 1700 East. My wife, Sommer, loves gardening. A number of years ago for Christmas I gave her gardening classes at Thanksgiving Point from Larry Sagers. Those led to more classes and then wanting more space to create and try to grow different plants, trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables. My wife loves Larry Sagers more than me.

Four years ago the Kay Smith family sold to us their land near our house along with their 60-year-old home. We have come to find out there is so much of Draper history associated with this property. It used to be a huge chicken farm and many in Draper had a first job working in some part of the Smith’s poultry business. The modest home was the place where several children were raised despite the fact that the basement was never finished until we finished it after we bought it.

When we first purchased the property we developed a plan for how it would look over time. It now has elevated metal and stone garden boxes along with an orchard of 48 fruit trees. We have several varieties of apple, peach, pear, plum, nectarine and one apricot. We planted most of them as tiny sticks and this will be the first year we will see some significant fruit. We also have raspberry and strawberry boxes and a chicken coop. The center of the garden is unfinished but for the time being we feel like we have plenty to keep us busy. That will be an addition sometime in the future. We also have plans to add a greenhouse but for now we use a temporary tent type greenhouse for starting tomatoes and such.

If you are wondering if this project makes financial sense the answer is a resounding no! It is a fun way to raise kids, though. There is endless weeding.We plant and re-plant some vegetables every year. We have been very good at corn, tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkins.We have failed miserably at watermelon and asparagus. In all we do at the garden there are great life lessons. Gardening is the opposite of instant gratification. We have dealt with animals eating our crops and tiny fruit trees. We have learned not to name our chickens so that when they die there is less trauma. One zucchini plant is enough for an entire neighborhood. Raspberries are worth their weight in gold. Cabbage looks really good in a garden but still tastes like cabbage, even when its fresh. Kale from your own garden in smoothies still tastes bad. Nothing is better than corn on the cob.

Most days our kids enjoy working as a family–but sometimes we get protests. Some people have family fun on boats, at vacation homes or in recreational vehicles. We garden.