Our first veggie garden - vegetables & children



Today was the day... we pulled our first carrots!! Ive never had success with a vegetable garden (honestly I've never wanted to put in all that effort) but we currently have a few veggies growing quite happily in a sunny retainer wall garden bed.
This year we planted together from seed:

Carrots
Corn
Chilli
Leeks
Butternut pumpkin
Lettuce
Capsicum
Out of all of those, the only ones that have survived the heat are the corn, carrots and pumpkin. But thats more than Ive ever managed to grow. Especially in our poor soil that we have to work on alot.
We also planted small plants of:

Basil
Chives
Strawberries
Parsley
Tomatoes
Cuecumber
Zucchini
All except the cuecumber are growing well!! Three of the four zucchini plants died because the spot I put them in is just too hot, but one gets a bit of shade and is starting to flower, yay!!
Of all these so far I'd say the most rewarding to grow are the corn and tomatoes. Corn just looks amazing at every stage of growth. Its so green, and it gets so tall,  and with each stage it has a new feature. I love it they look amazing, cant wait till we have actual corn! The tomatoes are great because they seem to have grown quickly and you can watch the fruit go from tiny yellow flowers, to a little green circle to a big juicy red tomato! And they get nice and tall and bushy so kids seem to love that.
Our first "harvest" is the carrot. We only pulled two as I think they are a bit on the small side and need a few more weeks. Curly Girl enjoyed pulling them from the ground so much! She was awed and wanted to try it immediately. We went inside to wash the dirt off and we both took a bite...... YUCK!! Oh dear.... we both screwed our noses up. It was actually quite bitter. What a shame!! My daughter's very first try of a homegrown vegetable and it wasnt nice... I wonder where we went wrong? Not one to be easily defeated, tomorrow we are going to google it to find out WHY they dont taste like normal yummy sweet carrots. So, we are still learning from it.
I think thats a huge part of gardening. Especially vegetable gardening. Its all trial and error and you learn so much along the way! My 4 year old not only understands where real food comes from but shes also learned to be patient to reap the rewards, that seed becomes something marvelous, that plants need water and sunshine to grow (but not too much sunshine!!) That growing your own food is WORK but also can be FUN!


Confession: I dont like gardening...at all. I think I get it from my mum. She despised gardening and the only time we ever got out into the garden was when we would spend entire days weeding our rentals before inspection. Not a nice Intro to gardening I suppose. Although my Nanna enjoys gardening and has always had a lovely garden with roses, petunias very green grass and so on. For me, as much as I admire a pretty garden and appreciate the work that's gone Into it, if im going to bother getting out there in the sun and dirt I want it to be useful. A vegetable garden ticks that box. It pays me back with organic, delicious food and  gives me something to look forward to.
My daughter has no idea that I dont like gardening. I dont want her to know. All she sees is mum enthusiastically saying "lets go water the veggies and check for bugs!". She doesn't know that id much rather be finishing up an Indoor chore... or taking a phone call from a telemarketer or pretty much anything besides gardening!! You see I so WANT to enjoy it. I'm trying to train myself to, for my own sake and more so for my kids. I want them to enjoy every aspect of the great outdoors unlike myself. Since I have to lead by example I decided that a veggie garden was the go.
5 reasons to have a go at growing veggies with young children:
1. Its a great long-term project and a practical application for a whole lot of learning areas. We have loosely covered health and nutrition, nature studies, agriculture, seasons, plant life, insects and more! We have also had to exercise patience, dilligence and being careful. As Livi was only just 4 when we started, which in Aus is pre-kindy, I didnt do worksheets or anything of the sort. But more discussion, answering questions and hands on caring for the veggies.
2. It gets you out in the sunshine! Great for all the family to be out in the fresh air, messing with soil and water, getting a little bit of exercise!

3. It gets kids interested in good food. Sometimes all it takes is the thought "I grew that!!" For them to try something new! Or just getting them involved in the cooking process. I often send my 4yr old out to the herb bed to pick some parsley or basil to add to our meal. It gets her involved and aware of whats In her food and makes her more interested in eating!

4. It makes kids a bit more mindful of the environment and resourcefulness. We have a compost and Livi helps me bring the scraps to it. She is aware that the parts we dont eat or anything thats too old to eat, goes in the compost to break down and make us good soil for more veggies. She understands that nothing is wasted.
5. Its a confidence booster. Weather its a stocking end in a cup growing grass hair or a giant prized pumpkin, if you planted it, watered it,  and it grew, its gonna feel good!

I leave you with the words of Dirtgirl: "Get grubby!"