As I was racing to get everything (finally) into the ground this week, I remembered the garden we had growing up.
It was huge - there were seven of us, and we had two huge chest freezers to fill to feed us through the winter. Late May, early June evenings found us all out in the garden planting multiple 30 foot (more?) rows of green beans, string beans, sweet corn, beets, carrots, tomatoes. I don't remember growing lettuce, but there was spinach, and chard, and some years cabbages or potatoes or cauliflower. Dad would move down the field with his rototiller, and we'd follow putting seeds in the ground, a hand's width apart, someone would go along at the tail end, covering the seeds and giving each one a soup can full of water out of the 10 gallon bucket one of my brothers would fill and carry. It really was a family task, and it was expected that everyone available would help until it was done. As the plants came up, weeding and then harvesting was a daily chore, and again, everyone helped.
We had raspberries and fruit trees and black and red currants too, but I don't recall how those got harvested. I think mom did most of it (I have one memory of her in the currant bushes in a bikini top, teenaged me MORTIFIED that someone might drive by and see her.)
I mostly garden by myself. My space is smallish (four 6'x12' raised beds) and my freezer is tiny. I like being out there alone with my thoughts and my ipod. I wonder though, if I'm depriving my kids of a life skill. I mean, how with they know the difference between the beans and the weeds if I deny them the experience of hours of weed pulling? They'll manage, I suspect.