Family gardening

I know we’ve all heard about how if kids grow their own food they are much more likely to try it and eat it.  While I’m no green thumb at ALL, I certainly did find this to be true as over the past two years as we’ve attempted to grow food in the summer.  This is our first year going all out, really making an effort to get the yield that we need to actually feed our family for some meals, not just provide a handful of snap peas to snack on.  The kids could not understand how the snap peas we grew could taste so much better than ones from the store, but they do!

While I’m pretty tied up with a new baby (and the rest of our crew), we had a friend help build us some square foot garden boxes so we could utilize the small yard we have in the best possible way.  They are are far less maintenance than traditional row gardening, the whole system is really quite ingenious.  It puts gardening within reach even for people with a condo patio or a tiny yard.  We didn’t have time or space to grow any seeds inside the house so we are using small plant starts for the slow growers and planting seeds directly outside for the rest.

We may be dreadfully behind in history homeschool but we ARE learning about seed germination times, why certain things don’t grow well here and why we space veggies certain distance apart….along with lots of other fun facts.  My grand plan which I truly doubted would come to fruition given these past two months, was that each child would have their own box and they would map out each square foot to hold what they chose to grow.  They would be responsible for weeding, watering and harvesting.  They have been more than a little excited about this.  Hand mixing our own custom dirt mix was a highlight for Caleb (and me really!).

After our trip to the garden store last week, we were finally ready to get to planting.  It was a rainy, windy day and Phineas wailed the whole time but I was determined not to say “no, wait till I get the baby calmed down” for the hundredth time.  So we persevered and it was so fun for the kids.

It was a wonderful chance to practice reading a map and they carefully consulted their paper to make sure the right things went in the right squares.  We’ve stocked up on garden tools very economically at the thrift store or the local dollar store, everyone seems to need a shovel at exactly the same time!

By the time we got inside I needed a massage from wielding the crying babe and plants and giving lessons on hole spacing and the kids need cocoa because their hands were frozen.  Their maps had disintegrated in the rain which was a bummer.  Such is a nature of gardening in the Pacific NW.

I decided to pull out my laminator and print out maps to laminate.  I used heavy laminating sheets that would hopefully hold up well then bought cheap 2 foot garden stakes.  I was pretty sure without a map we wouldn’t remember which seeds had been planted in each square.  They turned out great –

Though it was pretty late when we finished, Audrey still made time to water the primroses in her pajamas and boots!

Now if we could just muster up some sunshine and warmer days, we hope to see lots of yummy things growing soon.  I made sure each kid planted radishes not because they love to eat them but because they will quickly pop out of the ground and be the first food they get to harvest!



SFG is how I found your blog. So exciting to see your family gardening. This is our first year of doing any kind of gardening and we made a SFG of sorts for our yard. The box had a to be long and narrow and my husband ran out of steam before he put the lattice down. BUT, at least we are planted, a step that we have never been able to get to before!

I love your idea of having each of the kids have their own garden. I would love to make that a reality for next year!! But small baby steps 🙂

Have fun!

Jill Cook

Oh my goodness Karissa, it never ceases to amaze me the things you do with your 5 kids! You are such an inspiration to me and always have been. I can only hope to be as creative as you are and have the patience to pull it off! Your an awesome mom!

Jon Sween

So fun to stay caught up on family stuff from Dallas. I helped mom with our garden boxes but had a bad attitude so it wasn’t as much fun.