I’ve always had a bit of a romantic idea of gardening. Vegetables and flowers and loveliness steps from my door, huge harvests of delicious food magically appearing. I started my foray into the garden world just after my husband and I married. A tiny little patch of dirt in the corner of our patio, not even 3×3 in size. It was not a successful garden by any means. Things got slightly better after moving into our second home which had an actual yard, a very small yard, but a yard nonetheless. Each year our garden got a little better. As my baby grew into a toddler the garden became a place for us to play and learn. We spent time pulling weeds together. Toting a small yellow and blue plastic ducky watering can my daughter would water flowers, and almost always herself on accident. We searched high and low for fruit and vegetable treasures to snack on or cook with. My little garden was lovely. I loved gardening with my sweet girl.
As our family grew a larger home was in order. With our new house came a huge backyard with plenty of room for a large garden, or two, or three. My husband and I jumped right in and spent last winter planning the amazing vegetable garden that was in our future. We spent the spring getting the garden ready, prepping the soil, filling it with plants and seeds and setting up the drip-lines. Then we spent early summer snuggling our brand new baby, changing diapers, welcoming guests, figuring out how to care for two children and attempting to get some sleep. By mid-summer, as we began to come out of our postpartum haze, we were plagued with the faint memory of a garden we were supposed to be tending to all along. After weeks of neglect the vegetable garden that had so much promise was not doing so well. Not well at all. We spent what was left of the growing season trying to revive our fruits, veggies and flowers. Let’s just say the harvest was not as bountiful as we had hoped.
It’s another year and we’re back to garden planning. We’ve started some seeds indoors to get a head start. We’ve tended to the soil and planned out what we’ll be planting in the weeks to come. Most importantly we’ve learned our lesson from last year. We’ve learned that sometimes it is hard to balance the needs of a bountiful garden and the needs of a tiny baby and energetic five-year-old. We know our limits. This year I’m looking forward to a bountiful harvest and I’m looking forward to enjoying my garden with my girls. I love the opportunity to teach them about plants, food, cooking and more in my own backyard.
Do you garden with your children? What is your family’s favorite thing to grow?