A few weeks ago, our farm had their Open Farm day, so off we went to the farm for the first time this year! We were super lucky and had great sunny weather in the morning, after being overcast at dawn. The farm is on the same route we take to church, so we were offered a tip from the little talkative navigation expert in the back seat:
J: “Mommy, is this a weekend?”
J: “Are we going to church?”
Me: “No, we’re going to the farm.”
As we near the light for the farm turn-off…
J: “Mommy! We’re on the same road as going to church! Look, the farm! Turn right! Here!”
I’d capitalize everything, but that may deafen you, as it deafened us in the car.
Since Open Farm day is a plant sale + meet up + CSA volunteer hours sign up + children’s activity, we first had to peruse the children’s activities to see if there was something that could keep J busy so I could choose my plants in peace. Unfortunately, he was having none of it. So, LM became the Super Veggie superhero for the day (find me on Instagram). And J walked around with me, trying to pick up every. single. 4 inch pot I was looking at.
Once we got home, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and have some fun family planting time. I wanted to teach J how to work in the garden, aka “how to weed”. Plus, it was high time we cleaned up the raised beds in the backyard.
This year, we decided to not grow any large vegetable plants since we’ve had issues with tomato blight in the past, and are instead sticking with herbs and flowers. That means we won’t be eating Sungolds off the vine, but J can still come out and pick arugula, chives, cilantro, basil and lemongrass for dinner. And if our one sunflower grows successfully, we’ll have one big yellow puffball towering over everything else.
As Daddy got to weeding and tilling, J was trying to decide which gloves he wanted to use. We picked him out my smallest pair, but he only wanted one, a la Michael Jackson. Oh, and it was pink.
After countless instructions and distractions, lost shovels and lots (and lots) of flying dirt, we finally planted our seedlings into the boxes.
The boxes were so full of dirt from last year that we didn’t need to replenish with any new compost or soil, but as the season wears on, we may occasionally add nutrition as needed. Miracle-Gro has several different types of plant food available, but since these are plants that go directly into our food, we’ll most likely use their Organic Choice All-purpose Plant Food to help our seedlings grow big and tall. I can’t help but make the same comparison to our kids. Healthy food grows healthy kids, and our healthy food starts right at home!
Well, good thing we got down and dirty with the dirt. We all spent some quality time together outdoors, and then were stuck indoors later in the afternoon as the thunderclouds rolled in.
Did I learn anything from our first escapade in the garden?
Lesson #1: Just let it go. Like everything else in motherhood, you just gotta let it go. These are the moments, and one day, I’ll miss having dirt fly in my face and rubbed into my shirt.
Lesson #2: Leave a raised bed empty next year just for the kid to play in. They love dirt. And plastic shovels and forks are nothing compared to the real things.
Lesson #3: Make sure the yard is clear of dog poop and poison ivy BEFORE the garden shenanigans. You know, prevention tactics.
What are your tips for family fun in the garden? Share them here in the comments, or head to Gro Something Greater and share with a whole community of garden-minded folks.
More adventures (and flying dirt) to come! Well, at least I hope so, if my seedlings grow!