One of the things I've loved most about writing here is hearing your answers and advice. Something came up repeatedly in the comments on my most recent post about buying organic food, and I took it as a bit of a sign. You see, in response to a question I raised in my post focused on buying organic food, a number of people referenced GROWING their own fruits and vegetables. And like that, a light bulb went off...
I grew up in the suburbs, and my parents had a fantastic garden that they carefully tended to each spring and summer. We also had a cherry tree, and a strawberry patch. It was amazing, and I have a lot of happy memories from my childhood, helping to plant, weed, and of course eat the produce we had helped to grow.
I moved to New York City for college, and right into a cramped apartment. This became my new normal for nearly the next ten years. My husband and I got married, and both of our kids spent their first few years in apartments. We moved to our first house less than a year ago. It's been great for all the obvious reasons, and we've spent the past months making it ours. Now, we're ready to move on to the "extras;" the fun stuff like redecorating, and prettying up, and not the responsible, boring essentials you know, "OMG WE MUST REPLACE THIS AGED TOILET ASAP."
One of those "extras" about which I'm now fantasizing is a garden. I remember how much fun it was as a kid, and I'd love to have that same experience with my own children. It would be a wonderful way to teach them some basic responsibility, and give them a sense of where food comes from. It would also be a great way to get even more fresh fruits and vegetables into our diet without a ton of extra expense or effort. We even have a perfect corner in our backyard that I have my eye on.
But about that effort...for the gardeners among you, where do we begin? What are the hardest fruit and vegetables to kill? Given our location (New Jersey), I know we're not going to have much luck with a lemon grove or an avocado tree, but I would think that strawberries (like the ones I had growing up), tomatoes, and cucumbers (all of which my kids love to eat) should be (relatively) straightforward to get going. Am...am I right? Or am I underestimating this whole undertaking?
Do you have a garden? Do your kids participate with it? Are there any other recommendations (specific things that are easy to grow, timing, practical advice, etc.) that you have for us?
I had a garden during the years that the kids were small. They were not happy about helping in it. I even made them each a small garden and got them child-sized gardening tools and easy to grow veggies, but they had no interest. Easy to grow veggies are lettuce, beets, radishes, beans, squash, cherry tomatoes.
We are starting a garden thanks to a cooking class my son and I attended. It was a grdening 101 class where the kids learned to make a fresh tomato/cucumber salsa and tehn they planted mini gardens. We are growing, spinach, cherry tomatoes, brandywine tomatoes, beets and chard.