In March, the kids and I planted a ridiculous number of seeds. I have never in my entire life grown anything from seeds before, so I didn’t expect much. Lo and behold, we ended up with a ridiculous number of seedlings. And now, we have a CRAZY ridiculous garden.
The kids are always in there poking around for peas and beans, or anything at all that looks pick-able. They don’t actually eat these things, though. They’ll grab handfuls of the freshest gorgeous veggies, and basically, torture them.
Babygirl pulls apart all the peas and beans and plays with the little round insides. Babyboy will slice it all up with his plastic knife, and enthusiastically concoct a “soup”: he’ll root around in the fridge and pour in some soy sauce and chicken broth, then sprinkle on random spices from the pantry. He’ll proudly serve this up to us. Hubby and I pretend to eat it. (Trust me, you’d want to pretend.)
It’s great that they’ve been a key part of this whole process. They picked out the seed packets; they helped to plant all the funny-looking seeds in egg carton “greenhouses”; they watered, and spritzed; they’ve watched minuscule sprouts grow into a giant overcrowded garden… and they are thrilled. Which was the whole point.
But now that there are actual, real, edible, BEAUTIFUL vegetables and herbs, I find myself becoming kind of protective. Like, Hey! I want to eat these vegetables and herbs! I don’t want everything to be squandered in play.
So Hubby and I have been trying to curb the harvesting enthusiasm. When Babyboy picked this baby turnip (below) and started to saw at it, I rescued it. I learned that a baby turnip is very much like a mellow radish: the texture and the taste are softer, gentler. Like a shallot is to an onion. I washed it off well, sliced it up very thin, and added it to a salad. I also have a bowl of rescued beans and peas in the fridge (also see below), waiting for me to steam them up.
I feel a little bad, as the kids are wondering why I’m all of a sudden negotiating for peas, begging for beans, or simply snatching basil away. But, I also feel like part of the lesson should be that food is important and precious, and not for playing.
How do I keep them engaged and enjoying The Garden Project, without letting them waste any more of our hard-earned food?