We’re constantly warned from the day they are born – by moms and dads who know – because they’ve been where we are now – “they grow up so fast”. But in the moment, when you haven’t slept through a night for 5 months, or haven’t had a thought to yourself for 6 days or haven’t heard please or thank-you attached to the demands all day, or when you haven’t been to the bathroom alone in 2 years… it doesn’t seem like it’s happening fast. Then you stumble across your screen saver image from the holidays or the pics from last year at this time, or from five or ten years ago – and you realize… my god – they grow up so fast. Don’t they?
I’m constantly torn between just wanting to hug them and stare at their little faces, and wanting to take as many pictures as humanly possible to remember each special moment … and just being in it – experiencing it, and from time to time still dreaming of going to the bathroom on my own.
Our little ones are ‘discerning’ eaters (read: picky). They love fruit and veggies, especially carrots, corn, peas, peppers, apples, pears and cantaloupe. But they are fickle, and have no reason to place value on food – since they have whatever they need each day. So we decided as we watch them grow so quickly, we wanted to share the magic of growing with them this summer, and maybe even teach them a little about the effort that goes in to their food in the process. We’re growing our own veggie garden.
Cam, my uber-amazing husband – began wielding a drill and circular saw – and came up with this box to start our gardening adventures.
I was ready to order something to simply assemble and was blown away (and secretly super excited by what this means for future projects!) He measured the space and built the box from cedar two-by-fours (which I learned are actually 2 by 3.5’s … who knew) – ours is 6 feet long by 3.5 feet wide. Many boxes we found online don’t have bottoms – but he attached slats so that we could move the box if we want to later. Then he attached fabric to the bottom and sides to keep the dirt where we want in – in the garden.
We made an adventure out of picking the plants – we all went together to a real, big, green house in the country and everyone got to pick one thing they wanted to grow. Matty being the oldest is in charge this year, and also got to pick one extra plant to grow.
Charlie chose carrots, which we planted from seeds. Matty chose cherry-tomatoes, and Kate chose peas, Cam wanted green beans too – so we purchased the starter plants for all of those. Matt chose peppers as his last plant, which we also planted from seeds and we’re off to pick up some lettuce this weekend.
We also grabbed some strawberry plants and a couple of big, thorn-free raspberry plants – which we planted separately as they are known to take over, and we wanted to keep the veggies separate.
The kids learned about plants and roots and soil, and what size of hole to dig, and the importance of water and sunshine though the whole process. They also noticed our two resident rabbits eying up the veggies, so Dad built a little protective fencing around the box to keep out ‘predators’.
Last weekend we made filmo veggies – and cooked them so that they became hard. This weekend we’ll attach them to little signs so that we have neat home-made stakes for each veggie. My very creative friend Lori did this with her daughter in their garden and I loved what they looked like, but even more, I love that this was another step to make and create together. Thanks for lending us the idea, Lori!
I grew up planting veggie gardens with my Dad in our back yard – I still remember the excitement of the day that the carrots were big enough to start pulling, and the pride of eating our very own peas in our salad. We went and grabbed a few big buckets of soil from my Mom and Dad’s old compost heap/soil pile that we used in our gardens growing up. It’s very fun for me to have a piece of that memory from my childhood live on at our new home in this way. I hope the kids will look forward to doing it each year (and that they have the patience to wait out the next two months of care for the veggies before we actually get edible wares). The picture below is their ‘grow’ dance/hike immediately after planting. We’ll keep you posted. In the mean time if you have any favorite veggies to grow we still have one row left to plant and would love to hear your ideas!