Why we make this organic garden grow

Little gardeners
We are just now getting our little garden started again for this year. We have been lucky to not have the horrific weather that has been affecting so much of the country lately, but we have also not had the best gardening-with-small-children weather.

Let’s face it, I am not about to get out and work in the yard in the rain and the cold.

We are amateur gardeners at best. Some of us like to dig in the dirt and feel the mud oozing through our fingers. Some of us like to learn about the plants. Some of us like to eat. We all enjoy the garden.

Our garden is not about growing and saving for the winter -not yet anyway. Our garden is not about reducing our grocery bills, although that would be a nice benefit. Our garden isn’t even about a love of gardening, although if we all learn a bit more of that along the way, it would be a good thing.

We have a garden to simply teach our children about growing and caring for plants, understanding that food comes from hard work, fortunate weather, and the earth – whether that is in our own backyard, the local farm, or a large cooperative of farms farther removed from our daily lives. Food does not come from the store. Let me rephrase, food does not originate at the store.

We have an organic garden so our children can run barefoot in the yard, in the dirt and in the grass. So they can stand in the raspberry bushes and pluck the juicy berries with muddy little fingers and enjoy the sun-ripened goodness right then and there without a thought that they should not.

Muddy hands eating berries

We have a garden because of then I can hear my 7 year old tell my 5 year old in his knowing voice that the tomatoes that we grow in our garden taste so much better than the ones that we get from the store. It amazes me to hear two boys that ordinarily would not willingly eat tomatoes become excited about the tomato plants that we have growing out back and look forward to the fruit they will bear.

We have a garden to try vegetables that might otherwise be passed over in the store or varieties that are simply not available there. I might not love Brussels sprouts, but we are going to grow them and I’ll eat them! They might not love broccoli, but we are going to grow it and they’ll try it. Planting heirloom varieties you don’t see everywhere is fun and exciting and lends itself to more adventurous eating on all of our parts.

We have a garden to experience it in all the triumphs and failures, in all the deliciousness of the fruits of their labor and the healthfulness of the vegetables we grow despite how we may really feel about them, the patience and work, the learning and careful tending. There are life lessons to be learned here and I hope to let my children find them as they’re growing.

Tell me about your garden! Why do you have one and what do you grow?


Why we make this organic garden grow — 39 Comments

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  6. That is beautiful. I have the same feelings — sometimes a twinge of regret or guilt that our garden doesn’t do those things, like give us produce to store away all winter (not that we have anywhere to store it in our little condo!), or cost sooo much less than produce we can buy (because, all things considered, it doesn’t!) — but I just really enjoy the whole act of growing food. And even when my son’s kind of hesitant about jumping in, I like that it’s being presented to him as matter of fact — that we grow food, that it’s interesting and exciting and mundane all at the same time. And, yes, I hope it does inspire me to eat some veggies I otherwise wouldn’t. :)

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  8. How lovely is the chat about tomatoes? We are renting and just moved to this house. We don’t have a veggies and fruits as such, but we are planting flowers and a few herbs, strawberries and tomotoes in pots. My daughter is very excited about them.

  9. I wish we could cultivate berries here… but we’ll have to do with the banana’s and papaya’s. I love my daughter’s marvel when she’s in the garden too, the way she is naturally compelled to help and find bugs and pull weeds and sprinkle water. It’s important to maintain that connection to nature, like you say

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  13. Your 7 year old is right. Homegrown tomatoes are so much better!! We garden for the exact same reasons you described. But, mainly, I want my kids to know that food doesn’t come straight from the store and that love and hardwork makes vegetables taste even better :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. What a great perspective! I totally agree that the benefits of a garden go way beyond the obvious.

    I remember picking whatever I could find outside when I was little and pretending to make things with it (because usually it wasn’t edible since there wasn’t a garden in our back yard). I also remember eating wild blackberries and raspberries on my aunt and uncle’s farm.

    I think I would have eaten even more vegetables as a child if they had grown in our garden (namely carrots, which I always “hated” and recently realized I love fresh)!

  15. I think I have a garden because I’m trying to channel Ma in the Little House on the Prairie books. Now there’s a woman who knew about growing vegetables!

    If only my children would show more interest in eating vegetables!

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  19. You know, when I started my first garden, I had these grandiose plans of reducing food bills, eating home grown (fresh and canned) all year round, etc. etc. Now I’m more in line with what you’ve written here – it’s about sharing time outside with my family, teaching Kieran where food comes from, and enjoying the dirt. Thank you for sharing your story!

  20. This made me smile all the way through. Like Dionna, I had grandiose plans, and we’ve even gone so far as to take veggies to market… but really, we mostly grow so that we do, whether it makes sense financially or not. It’s a matter of education, and priorities, and acknowledging how important food is in the world and life. Although right this minute, I’m looking forward to my first asparagus. Ever. After 5 attempts! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

    Lovely post!

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  22. This will be my first garden and I am so excited. One half is a traditional veggie garden with the other side being a medicine wheel garden (these are absolutely beautiful – check out The Medicine Wheel Garden-Creating Sacred Space by Kavasch). The rest of my garden will be au natural scattered over 10 acres – beans growing on the fenceline – garlic, peppers, etc. growing in the terrace of a 2-tier rock wall and fruit trees, willow, cat-tails scattered throughout. Will be working with indiginous plants as much as possible. Not only are the people who live here happy but so is the land that we share!

  23. Great post. I will share this to my eldest, 11 y.o. who absolutely loves not only loves gardening but reading!

    We do not have a garden where we are now here in the Netherlands, only a balcony where we can have the flowers of the season.

    But the girl’s fraternal grandmother has a house, in South Germany, where they spend a lot of school holiday breaks; it has a huge garden that grows different vegetables, different flowers all throughout the different seasons, and fruit bearing trees.

    Hopefully, we will find a home here soon with a front and a backgarden because I find it avery positive influence in the growth of children to experience nature with all their senses.

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  25. Hi Brenna, I really enjoyed reading your post on why we make this organic garden grow well done. I myself would share the same values for I have two little ones as well, and grew up on a farm learning the real values of gardening.

    I think that it is very important to teach our children all the fundamentals of gardening as well a healthier way of life.

    Amazing site you have keep up the great work :-)

  26. I love your explanation of why you chose to go organic. It still amazes me that people willingly pour chemicals into the earth. Such is life though. Have you gotten to harvest much since this post?

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  29. My children have certainly missed out on gardening…it is truly one of life’s simple pleasures. This made me smile all the way through.

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