There is just something about dirty soil-covered toes that I love. To me it says exploration and adventure. It says these feet are at one with nature. It says we're at home in our vegetable garden.
Over on our side of the world (Toronto, Canada) summer is almost over. Of course its always spring/summer somewhere so I want to share this post with you.
Do you love fresh seasonal vegetables? Love going to farmers markets, to fill your wicker basket or bags with this week's harvest?
How about this? If you could just step into your back garden and collect and eat your own homegrown vegetables and herbs! Planted, grown and harvested by you.
Mmm that's sounds exciting! you're thinking. But just as quickly you think surely it's not something a busy mum is able to take on. It's too complicated, too time consuming and labour intensive.
Well trust me, it doesn't have to be.
We truly have a postage stamp backyard, but this summer I was determined to grow more than just tomatoes and basil. I felt it was high time to get more adventurous.
Tonight I made delicious vegan burgers from my fav new Cook Book (Super Fresh by Jennifer Houston). I used fresh parsley and basil from our herb garden, and laid the burgers on a deep nest of homegrown lettuce in the bun, it felt so good.
Let's dig a vegetable garden
No experience necessary.
Possible for those with even the tiniest of tiny gardens.
With just a little investment of time and energy, you too, can be the proud owner of homegrown delicious herbs and vegetables. Did I mention the excitement when you serve a friend a homegrown salad, or a mojito with fresh mint from your garden? It feels amazing.
A little recommendation (from experience)
Before any actual digging takes place be sure to pop a bottle of wine in the fridge. You may need it tonight, to congratulate yourself on your efforts, to de-stress or aid recovery from aching body parts.
What do you say? To the garden we go!
So on the outset it is a little labour intensive.
Take a look at your space, decide what you would love to grow and eat.
Grab yourselves some little seedlings or seeds, whichever you prefer. I went with the seedling option (faster results and easier for kids to help with) from our local garden centre. Helpfully, ours came with very simply planting instructions, i.e., planting depth, spacing distance, light, etc.
Give the little people spades and enjoy a bit of hard digging. This can double as your daily exercise and fresh air intake/ all while keeping the kids entertained. You're multi-tasking, so you really can’t go wrong.
Let them dig till their little hearts' content, exploring/finding/playing with bugs and worms is all part of the fun. When their attention wavers give them the hose, water, dirt and kids is like mummies, wine and chocolate.
Dig. Read seeding directions. Plant. Water. Feel all smug and earthy.
Having a vegetable garden gives me a similar pleasure to using my slow cooker. It requires a little prep, but then things actually progress by themselves. While you cook/clean/sleep/tend to the 101 things you do as a busy mum, they soak up the sun and rain and grow all alone out there in the garden. Just water daily.
5 reasons why digging a vegetable garden will make you feel like a rockstar mum
1. The digging, getting your hands in the earth is relaxing and therapeutic. Kids love to garden. It’s a fab, cheap multi-sensory activity, connecting them to the land and nature.
I will admit, it may at times be a little stressful. After several hours of this:
“Mummy. Indi ate another worm.”
‘Mum, Isla just covered my shoes in dirt."
‘Mummy, Theo keeps digging where we just planted the seeds."
If you reach this point you may decide to take a little break. Return to the garden when your little people are sleeping. Being alone in your garden - the smell of the freshly watered earth and the silence - is blissful. Best experienced with a cold glass of wine.
(Just you and the bloody squirrels, who you can almost hear licking their lips about the prospect of fresh seedlings for dinner.)
2. Planting vegetable from seeds and seedlings is a great learning opportunity for the kids. Talk to them about what plants need to grow and survive. Give kids ownership of a little area, theirs to water and weed (under supervision of course).
3. Watch your veggies grow. Talk to your kids about the ripening process.
4. Great for the environment, Growing your own vegetables means no packaging and no transportation (carbon footprint) required.
5. If kids plant it, water it, grow it, they are more inclined to eat it. Connect kids to the land and the food they eat. It's so important for healthy eating habits. Fresh homegrown goodness for your little people’s plates and they learn that food doesn't come from a grocery store. Just imagine the delicious things you can cook. Homemade pesto is my kiddies fav.
Inspired……. Happy gardening folks. Would love to hear about your efforts in the garden.
I'll leave you with a little quote from Miss Isla BOO
‘Mummy, that damn squirrel ate my strawberries!”
The sweet words of my little gardening enthusiast. Aged 3.
Did make me chuckle. If you would like to see more pictures of our outdoor adventures why not check out our Instagram feed.
Thanks for popping in