Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Time to Sow

Occasionally I wonder why my kids actually will eat vegetables mostly willingly. I have lots of hypotheses, but one of those ideas is particularly timely this week.

Our own vegetable garden.

Last year, we planted tomatoes in very large containers, reused from Home Depot. Maybe they were 5 gallon size? We also planted in medium size pots some of our frequently eaten vegetables - cucumbers, peppers, beans. Along the back fence we planted strawberry plants and blueberry bushes. We also planted a bunch of basil ina flower box. We enjoyed our meager harvest, though it certainly could not sustain us on its own.

Still I considered last year a success by any measure that mattered to me. We actually enjoyed fruit/vegetable from our plants (except for blueberries - more later). We got tomatoes which were unaffected by last year's blight. We had enough basil to make several batches of pesto. We made salads and added beans to our plates. Equally important to consuming our produce was the act of planting and tending to it.

Caleb watered our garden almost daily last summer. He came to see when there were new flowers on the plants. He showed friends and neighbors our garden. He saw how strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes start out green and eventually become red. He picked beans and cucumbers to bring to our kitchen. I think he even felt a sense of pride about these actions. His curiosity about the world encouraged him to eat the thing he had helped to produce.

We just started to plant for this year. Two weekends ago, we planted basil and sunflowers. Last weekend, we planted beans. About a month ago (maybe more?), Aaron purchased 2 fruit trees - an apple and a peach tree. We are starting to see buds and leaves on them. Caleb has started his watering duties again and is delighted to see the changes to our plants. The strawberries have spread like wildfire and are standing tall. The blueberries are showing their first flowers. It's wonderful to hear him talking about and to the plants - "ooh, those flowers are going to be fruit soon!"

How could he not eat the fruit of his labors?

I'm excited for Ellie to join in the act of sowing, tending, and reaping this year. She hasn't shown interest yet, but it's hard for a 2 year old to be excited about such small changes. I think she'll be on board once she sees bigger changes to the garden.

Now that planting has begun, I imagine I'll have more to report here!

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