I don’t have a “green thumb”. I rarely can keep anything besides a cactus or succulent plant alive in my house for more than 2 months. However, I do like to garden (or attempt to) with my kids. Let me tell you, we have had many, many, many failed years of gardens.
Gardens destroyed by a local gang of bunnies, the herds of deer, insects, etc. Gardening is not easy! But my kids love to attempt to grow veggies and then are always disappointed when we are under attack by the bunnies. Each year, I have gotten smarter about how we garden and a little more aggressive.
When I was a kid, my mom had a huge garden. Most of neighbors did too! I hated picking green beans. However, I do remember my mom canning and eating canned garden produce all year round. But that big garden was a lot of work! I knew I could not have or care for a huge garden.
We now have 3 raised beds that are completely fenced in. The raised beds are only 4 by 4 feet each (so a pretty small space) but it is amazing how much you can grow in a small space if you think it through. My kids each have one garden and I have a garden. Each spring/early summer, I take them to a local store and they pick out what they want to plant in their gardens. The main items they like to grow are sweetcorn, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, and sometimes green peppers.
What is great about this is that they take pride in their little gardens and what they produce. They get so excited to see red tomatoes and green beans growing (even though they don’t like tomatoes). We grow taller items in the middle and can fit in a 4 to 5 rows of plants/seeds. They just enjoy getting to pick them and sharing them with others. I want my children to know where they food comes from and that anyone can grow their own food, even if only in a 4 by 4-foot box.
All it takes a small spot in the ground or some dirt in a flower pot to grow a tomato plant. Then some time, water, sunlight and care. I truly hope my children will garden with their kids or continue with their own gardens when they get older. I also hope the gang of bunnies don’t plaque them like what they have done here. Bunnies may be cute, but they can destroy a garden.
I also like that it keeps our hands in the soil, keeps us connected to the ground and to food production. If we take care of the soil, the soil will take care of us. Below are some pictures from our small gardens this year.
This year’s failures include the attack of the Japanese beetles; cauliflower is really hard to grow; lettuce does not like my little garden. Successes include lots of green beans, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and some herbs. We will take the wins with the loses. Happy gardening!