Today my daughter and I planted seeds in our new seed starting kits. This is in preparation for our container garden we’ve got planned for our back deck this spring and summer.

We’ll be growing strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, basil, green onions, cilantro, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and nasturtiums. We’ll plant the cucumbers and carrots directly outside in spring, but everything else was planted to start inside now. 

My daughter absolutely loves nature and all things science, so gardening is right up her alley. Cooking is another interest that makes gardening exciting for her. She also likes to take charge and learn by doing, so this was a little bit of a battle of wills between what I thought was the best plan of action and what she wanted to do. But it was a learning and bonding experience. She expressed after we’d filled about a third of the cells with soil that this was boring (is it possible to be excited and bored simultaneously? Or within minutes of each other? Guess so!). I talked with her about how gardening is a lesson in patience because it takes a lot of work up front and ongoing, and it takes months to get the outcome of fruits and vegetables. So there is excitement, but it takes a lot of work to get there. She listened and she stayed very engaged with the process after that talk. She loved seeing what each type of seed looked like. Basil seeds are tiny and black, nasturtium seeds are big and look kind of like a brain, tomato and strawberry seeds look just like they do inside the fruit. We are starting a type of strawberry from seed which most people don’t do because it’s difficult. I let her know that we are going to do our best with that one, but if it doesn’t work out that we shouldn’t let it disappoint us too much.

Sometimes when I talk to my kids about things like this, I feel like I’m talking directly to myself. I know I have high hopes for delicious sweet home grown strawberries and if our seeds don’t grow I’ll be disappointed. But I also know in that case I can go buy strawberry plants to fill the garden. A couple of examples of past failures include the fact that whenever I’ve grown basil before, it gets little white flies all over it whether it is indoors or outdoors. I also remember as a kid growing broccoli and there always being little green worms on it (which you pick off and hope you get them all) and bugs just loving the greens. My dad confirmed recently that he’s never been able to grow broccoli or cauliflower well. But he’s always got a bevy of other delicious crops he shares with us. You figure out what works and go with it.

Another issue that’s already come up before we planted today is that my daughter asked why we aren’t growing snow peas and green beans. This was after I’d selected too many seeds in the first place for a person who hasn’t grown a garden since having kids and even then my main source of knowledge and experience is how my parents did it when I was a kid. I don’t have any business trying to take on as much as I am, and the truth was that I forgot those are two of the veggies she would actually eat most. Had I thought of it at the time I totally would have planned on growing them instead of other plants. So alas, I’m not the perfect mother nor garden-planner. Today as an after thought of the strawberry conversation, I said that this year is all about learning what grows well in our garden for us, and taking that forward. We don’t have to feel like we have to have a perfect garden or that everything has to grow perfectly to feel like it was a worthwhile experience. We also made a deal with my mom and my dad who both garden to grow some peas and green beans for us. They both were happy to oblige.

Gardening is a life skill, a way to eat healthy, and there are so many other positives about it. I can’t wait to share our garden experience with you all this year. 

Do you garden? What are your favorite fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, etc. to grow? Any tips for me? Do you have a plot of land or do you container garden like us? Do you compost? Please share!