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The Family Kitchen: Digging in the Dirt

The coronavirus has afforded families the “opportunity” to spend a lot of time together. A lot. Screen time is up. Patience is down. On top of that, everyone (I can’t be the only one, can I?) eating more junk than they should. Let me urge you, then, particularly if you have children at home, to improve both these situations: choose, prepare, and cook food together. It’s a chance to spend enjoyable time together; and kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods when they’ve helped make them.

There has never been a better time in this century to grow your own vegetables. If you have any outdoor space at all – even a sunny terrace or patio – do give gardening a try. It’s magical for kids (and adults, for that matter) to watch the process of seeds developing into mature plants. An added bonus if you have children is that they’ll be highly interested in food they’ve grown themselves.

During this time, I don’t recommend going shopping anywhere. There are lots of seed companies that still have available seeds and supplies for shipping, though; and there are many websites offering information about choosing and planting seeds, along with caring for and harvesting the plants as they mature.

If you don’t have much space, or if you don’t want to deal with weeds and pests, then consider planting your seeds in containers.

Some Suggestions for Gardening with Children

  • Make it fun
  • Make it easy
  • Don’t have unrealistic expectations
  • Let them participate as much as is age-appropriate
    • Looking at pictures/reading/choosing seeds from website catalogs
    • Sowing seeds
    • Watering
    • Thinning
    • Harvesting
    • Choosing recipes
    • Cooking

The “Victory Garden” my daughter and I planted is coming along. Our lettuce seeds have germinated into plants that are now big enough to be considered, well, visible. And the spinach, shown in the picture (with pansies, because what’s a garden without purple flowers?) is divine. Granted, our “harvest” thus far might be more aptly described as “garnish,” but it’s still early.

In a few weeks, it will be warm enough to plant little tomato plants – and then, there’ll be no stopping us!

Tell me about your garden – and share pictures!