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Our little patch of dirt

When we bought our house a few years ago, one of the things I was most looking forward to was being able to have a backyard vegetable garden.  Growing up, my siblings and I (with varying levels of interest depending on our age) would help my dad with his garden so when we bought a house with a big backyard, it was a given I would carry on the tradition. This will be our second year with a family garden and I’m learning to appreciate just how involved kids can be with this project!

Planning the garden and picking out what to grow was a family decision.  Over dinner one night, we each took turns suggesting the vegetables we’d like to grow.  It actually ended up being a pretty fair combination of everyone’s ideas.  This year, we are growing: tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, peas, butternut squash and string beans.  I had also hoped to plant a small herb garden outside the kitchen window but alas, that will probably not happen this year.

My patch of dirt, reading to go.
My patch of dirt, reading to go.

Last week, we went to a local nursery to buy our starter plants and then M and I took advantage of J’s nap time one afternoon and planted everything!  M wasn’t really into planting the vegetables but did have fun digging in the dirt alongside me.  She takes the garden very seriously though.

Making sure the plants are just right.
Making sure the plants are just right.

Each day, she runs over to “see if the plants have grown” and she likes to be in charge of watering.  As the garden starts to grow, she is also a big help with weeding and once the vegetables start to come in, she absolutely LOVES picking the vegetables from the vines.  Last year, we hardly got any vegetables into the house as she would eat them as she picked.  I guess I can’t complain when your kid wants to eat fresh vegetables 🙂

She has been asking a lot of questions this year, wanting to know why we need to water, why the weeds need to get picked out and how long it will take to see vegetables.  I’m going to take advantage of this curiosity and mix in some educational activities this summer about how seeds grow to help her answer these questions.

Our family garden
Our family garden

Planting a garden is a really great way to get your kids outside and involved in what they eat.  My kids are much more likely to eat their vegetables when they have picked them fresh.  We are fortunate to have a backyard that allows us to have a pretty decent size garden but you can plant your own regardless of the space you have.  For some plants (like tomatoes!), you can grow them in only a medium sized pot!

family garden

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