Gardening with Kids: October 2018 edition

I admit, we are in a season when I really can’t justify the garden being “one more thing.” Sometimes hobbies that are non-essential can quickly become overwhelming in seasons when we have little time or energy to spare (such as life with a newborn!). That’s why this month, I want to encourage each of you to remember:

It is okay to start small.

It is okay to go slow.

It is okay to embrace “this is a season.”

Just as gardens require fertile soil, constant watering, pruning, and pest control, we all know motherhood does so similarly. That’s why I am challenging myself as well as any of you with an interest in these monthly posts to be willing to take on only what you can to bear fruit.

If gardening is one of those things that ultimately won’t bear fruit (literally or figuratively!) to your family in this season, rain check these ideas until the time is right. However, if you find your family looking for a healthy, hands on opportunity to connect with real food and spend time learning about “healthy food” (which is MUCH more effective than talking about it with kids!), maybe you could consider what kind of garden makes sense for your family.

Then, get dirty and let it metaphorically remind you that the messes of motherhood are MANDATORY for true growth to occur. Our garden is an ongoing work in progress and trial and error process...also much like motherhood. So while I love the yield it sometimes brings (by way of fresh veggies), it is also such a small and subtle reminder for me in the way gardening parallels motherhood.

How could a garden encourage versus overwhelm you in the upcoming season?

 
 Our newest little gardener dressed for the part on our first day of Fall planting!

Our newest little gardener dressed for the part on our first day of Fall planting!

 

Areas of Growth in the Garden

Garden Yields Update

Total seasonal yield to date: 
None yet for Fall, as our Fall crops are going in this month! Due to some feedback we got at our local nursery, we are trying some less traditional “Fall produce” to see if they grow and how they do!

Plot 1: Green beans, sugar snap peas, and cucumbers

Plot 2: Kale, Spinach, and Swiss Chard

Plot 3: Fall cherry tomatoes, carrots, and beets

Plot 4: Waiting to plant broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts once it cools off

Herb Garden: We are also finally starting our herb garden up closer to the house. For this, we have cilantro, parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, and rosemary.

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New Feeding Wins or Progress via Food Play

This is the second Fall garden we have done, but I can honestly say the first gardening season so far that my oldest daughter has actually been into participating very much (out of the total of four seasons).

She tends to be my child who is not terribly amused by my ideas or interests. While my two year old finds everything I am doing fascinating and always wants to “help",” my oldest daughter tends to be much more independent, spirited, and deeply engaged in her own interests. While I love this independence in her and try to foster an environment for her to pursue her own interests (rather than pushing my own), I would be lying if I said sometimes I didn’t wish she would take a genuine interest in the activities I have planned for us - like our garden.

That’s why this Fall I am so excited she suddenly is excited about our garden. She was eager to mix the new soil, write our new plot sticks, plant the seeds, and daily go out to water our immature plants. For the first time, this is all on her accord. That’s what makes it so exciting to me!

Similar to how we should approach feeding our children in those weeks, months, and even years it takes to establish healthy relationships with eating (more on that here) and for them to “learn to like” new foods (more on that here), I am reminded of the patience versus pressure required in other areas (like gardening) as well. I have tried at times to talk my oldest into “how much fun this (gardening) is” when she didn’t show much of an interest. The same could easily be said for trying to tell our kids “this tastes so good” for a food they’d otherwise pass on. But what I am remembering this month is that continuing to expose our kids to these healthy habits is a seed-planting-process.

I don’t know if my oldest will stay this enthusiastic about our garden all Fall, but what I do know is that we are planting seeds for such enthusiasm towards healthy lifestyle habits at a young age and as part of her overall development into ultimately becoming an adult someday. She may not learn to like gardening as a kid or ever, but I am confident that planting the seeds for this being a part of our life now is something that she will be able to sow from later in life.

The same can be said for the “learning it foods” and family meals we offer now that seemingly “get wasted.” While not every seed will produce fruit, I think again we can be reminded of the overall parallel planting such seeds has for creating the foundation our kids learn how to eat from.

So although it might be the postpartum hormones that have me particularly sentimental in this month’s gardening post, I think the metaphor of planting seeds, watering our garden, and waiting on the harvest is a particularly fitting reminder for how we should approach feeding and raising our kids in general. I hope it encourages you to reflect on this as much as it does me!


Veggie of the Month: Pumpkin

I am honored to be a monthly contributor to Veggie Buds Club. Intended for children ages 3-6, Veggie Buds Club offers activities that empower kids to Learn + Cook + Play + Create + Grow with a monthly vegetable. Through fun, pressure-free ideas, Veggie Buds Club helps expose your child to a variety of vegetables in age-appropriate and engaging ways.

If you are interested in checking out Veggie Buds Club for your family (or to gift a friend!), I encourage you to hop on over today! Monthly registration closes at midnight on the first of the month, so be sure to sign up so you get this month's box - complete with a tip sheet featuring the advice I share below!

Images from past month's Veggie Buds Club.

Tips shared in this month’s Veggie Buds Club: Pumpkin

We often forget about pumpkin until summer starts turning to fall and we start planning for seasonal staples like jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie. Pumpkins hold so much potential however as produce with a subtle flavor that packs important nutrition. Fall is a great time to both introduce pumpkin and find ways that your family enjoys eating it so you can continue to include it in your diets year round.

Since canned pumpkin packing as many vitamins, minerals, and fiber as its fresh counterpart, there is no need to stress over making your own puree (unless of course your prefer the taste or the process). Either way, these gourds are very good for you! Consider how you can add in the health benefits of beta carotene (what gives pumpkins their bright orange color!), vitamin C (to help combat cold season!), and fiber (to keep your family both full and regular!) to any meal or snack by using some of the following ideas:

Breakfast

Bake pumpkin muffins

Add pumpkin puree to smoothies

Mix pumpkin in pancake or waffle batter

Lunch

Stir pumpkin into spreads like cream cheese to smear on a sandwich

Make hummus with pumpkin for a fun flavored dip

Make pumpkin soup to enjoy as “soup & salad” or “soup & sandwich” combos

Dinner

Mix pureed pumpkin into sauces, like spaghetti

Add pumpkin to chili

Look for pumpkin-filled pastas (like ravioli or tortellini)

Snacks

Roast pumpkin seeds

Bake healthy pumpkin cookies

Roll up some pumpkin energy bites

For more recipe ideas, be sure to try out each of the recipe cards included in this month’s Veggie Buds Club! Also remember to check out Veggie Buds Club before 12/midnight on the first of every month if you aren't already a subscriber. Then you can still order this month's box and veggie in time to participate!


Want More Actionable Ideas on How to Turn Your Veggie Averse Kid Into A Gardener?

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