I am notorious for my black thumb, which is why it was surprising to everyone, especially me, when I decided that I wanted to try my hand at a garden this summer. It all started when my Mom sent the girls a little seed starting kit in early spring. It came in an egg carton and was filled with six different types of flower seeds, the soil to plant them, markers to identify them as they grew, and a paper and pencil to track their growth over time. Here’s the one she got us - the Kaleidoscope Flower Garden, but it turns out they come in all kinds of fun varieties!
To be honest, I really didn’t expect much mainly because I’ve tried to grow seeds before and I either forget to water them completely or I shower them with attention and inadvertently overwater them… either way they die. But the kids were so excited that they watered them consistently and fairly appropriately daily as soon as we got home from school. Sure enough, in only about 5 days, the seeds germinated and started to grow. It was amazing – and they were soooo excited and involved in the process over the next few weeks that I wanted to give them more, so we decided to start some vegetable seeds – pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, and beans to be exact. And they grew!
So we decided to start a garden. J, of course, did a bunch of research on the best way to go about building a garden and our initial plan was to keep it small. We bought two round galvanized metal tubs that way we could keep the garden mobile since we didn’t really know what we were doing and were worried we would pick a spot with too much or too little sun. I still think that would have been a really great idea…had we not gone to Home Depot to get them and walked through the Garden Section first.
We went to get the tubs and some tomato and pepper plants - that way the kids had some bigger plants in case the seeds didn’t pan out. However, some of us (ME, it was ME!) got really excited about all the vegetable options they had, so we ended up coming home with tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, beans, asparagus, sweet potatoes, watermelon, oregano, and thyme… At which point we decided that we needed a bigger garden. We ultimately referenced this article and built a raised bed. We got the kids some cool gardening equipment and got to planting.
I definitely overcrowded my plants (go figure) and even though my mom (who is an avid gardener) came and did some rearranging/thinning for us, we did end up losing most of the carrots, the thyme, and the oregano. But we did end up with tons of beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers which is pretty much the coolest thing EVER.
The kids like to come home from school, go see what they can pick in the garden, and then wash it and snack on it.
They ate an entire yellow pepper this week. We’re pretty excited to see what happens with the sweet potatoes and the WATERMELON! We have two tiny watermelons that I’m really hoping grow up. Fingers crossed!
So anyway, this post is definitely not a ‘how to’ of gardening…in fact, as soon as I get done writing it I’ll be googling ‘how to know when your sweet potatoes are ready to harvest’. BUT I will say that it was been a really fun experience and a great activity that not only kept them occupied for reasonably long periods of time but also got them really engaged in their dinner and specifically their vegetables. So, if you too have a black thumb and are on the fence about trying your hands at a garden with your kids, I say GO FOR IT! It's a great experience and they honestly would have been happy even if we had only gotten one bean