Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (1)

I’m gonna try and keep up with a blog carnival over here called KinderGARDENS. This is a little introductory post – it looks like fun, come join us over at Kim’s blog!

Tell us about your family. What are your plans for this year? Well, our gardening adventures this year will include our one-year-old son, Bean, and our teeny-tiny daughter, Sprout. We will be adventuring at our community garden plot, which is 10x20 yards, and at home in our yard, which has a 4x12 foot veggie plot and several flower beds. Sprout will probably just be carted around in various carriers and strollers, guarded from too much sun, but otherwise left to the whims of fresh air and passing bugs. Bean has already proven to be a fun age to have in the garden. And by fun, I mean destructive, wild, and very very messy. Whatever tool we’re using, he wants to try it (and run away with it.) He has no regard for things like staying out of the beds, staying out of the dirt, staying out of... everywhere but the grass. And he likes to pick up handfuls of dirt and throw them around – which is preferable to when he picks up rabbit droppings and crushes them between his fingers. He hasn’t started pulling up plants yet (unwanted or otherwise) but it’ll happen eventually. And I don’t know what to do about that. Ideas?

Are you a first time gardener who needs help and encouragement or are you a veteran gardener that can help others here? We are neither n00bs nor L33ts at gardening – but clearly, we are nerds! Outside in the sunshine may not be the natural habitat of nerds (trust me, our internet basement haven is still perfectly functional) but Papa Bean decided we should grow more of our food, for economical reasons. Which, now that I think of it, may be a suitably nerdy reason to get outside after all :) This will be our third year growing veggies.

Are you going to expand on last year’s ideas or are you going a whole different route? Mmm, I dunno... we’re tweaking. At the large garden, we’re planting half the area with potatoes, about three varieties. This will be more than a hundred plants, way more taters than we need, so lots will be donated to the food bank. We’re doing this to a) let the tubers break up the heavy, clay soil with the Power of Plants, b) gain some measure of weed control (we’re hoping the plants crowd out some weeds, the leaves self mulch a bit, and maybe coordinate some digging efforts vis a vis quack grass control) and c) be lazy. Potatoes don’t take much work, comparatively. They just grow and grow all summer, you hill the dirt around them occasionally, you pick some baby ‘tots in late summer for tasty tasty eats, and then there’s the motherlode harvest in the fall. Yay potatoes! (Boo potato beetles! Not sure what our strategy for them will be this year...)

We have succumbed in the past couple years to trying to grow too many varieties, because all the seed packets look so fun, and everything seems like something we might plausibly eat, and we have so much room to fill, and we’re just plain silly. I’m hoping to keep it simple this year, to things we know we’ll eat in abundance, and things that require little maintenance, because our kinders are just not at an age conducive to complicated gardening. We’re anticipating that only one adult will ever be really available to do actual gardening work, while the other wrangles the beast Bean. We’ll be growing squash (pumpkin, acorn or butternut, yellow and green zucchini) because we like to eat it in soups, and they take up lots of room. If it’s not too rainy/is nice and sunny, we’ll grow a few rows of corn, to act as a windbreak across the north end of the plot (the field is subject to high winds.) We’ll have peas and beans, two types of cucumber, two types of onions, and carrots. I want to keep the backyard plot for easy-pickings, i.e. greens. Lettuce and chard, maybe some more peas. We have a rabbit that has lived in our yard since we moved in – it decimated our mugho pine over the winter, so the gloves are coming off! We don’t want to kill/trap it, we can’t get a dog, so we’re gonna try sprinkling hair around the garden as a repellent. I’ve also been tipped off to a type of smelly coleus that keeps animals away. Any other advice is appreciated!

Our kids are kind of little to be too involved in the planning of actual work of gardening, so I suspect I’ll mostly be reporting what we-the-adults are doing, with cute pictures of little people surrounded by leaves. Or pictures of vegetables compared to how big Sprout is lol. This spring has brought record flooding to our area, though it doesn’t really affect us here in the city. I know the ground is very wet. We haven’t had too much rain yet, but we’ll see what the rest of May brings us. Last year was just dismally rainy, so I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed for a sunnier year. Happy Kindergardening, everybody!


  1. At our "real" home we have problems with rabbits too, so I'll be interested to see how the coleus and hair works for you. I also don't want to kill them, just discourage them from eating my plants! I never thought about how planting potatoes can do alot of the work for you, I may be planting alot next time I have a new plot to break up!

  2. Our Lilly is 14 months and this year she is trying to specialize in dirt eating. I think she will get the "fruits of our labor."

  3. LOVE the thought of photos comparing the size of your sweet Sprout with the vegetables! Your babies are adorable. Happy Kindergardening!

  4. Sounds like fun! Looking forward to watching your garden grow! :)