When it comes to freshness, there is nothing better than eating a tomato fresh from the garden. Something about the warmth of freshly picked tomato, just really makes the flavor burst in your mouth. I think that this is probably my key driver in planting a garden. There is no other way to experience this taste explosion (although, I had fried green tomatoes for the first time last night and aside from the added fat and calories of breading and frying, they did deliver on that warm tomato, burst of flavor that I love about fresh picked tomatoes.)
Every spring, the kids and I head out and pick up vegetable plants. We never start from seeds, although I suppose that we could. We plant many of the same vegetables each year, but sometimes we throw in a few new things. The kids really enjoy helping me prep and plant the garden, and they love to eat the vegetables that we plant. The same kids that complain about tomatoes in dishes, will eat them fresh from the vine - go figure! Gardens can expand the food experience for children. There is something about growing your own vegetables in a garden that leads kids to want to eat those vegetables.
This year, we have a few new vegetables and a few that we haven't planted in a while. We have 3 cherry/grape tomato plants, 3 regular tomato plants, 40 - 50 onions, 3 bell pepper plants (red and yellow), 2 hot peppers, 1 eggplant, 1 cucumber (I like to plant them in pairs, but there was only one left) and Romaine lettuce. Lettuce is a new adventure for me. We will see how that one turns out.
(anyone know what's going on with this onion? I've never seen this before - should I cut this off?)
It is a small garden, but with the options I had for putting in a garden, it is really the best we could do. Someday, I would like to have a larger one. I want to have a row of strawberries, maybe some potato plants, and maybe even some puhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifmpkins. For now, we enjoy what we grow and pick up the other stuff at local farmer's markets.
Watching a garden grow is a great lesson in life cycle for children. They get to see the seeds sprout and start to grow (well, if you use seeds, that is). They get to see the fruits/vegetables develop and watch them grow and ripen. They get to pick the fruits/vegetables when they are ripe and experience fresh, homegrown vegetables. They get to see the plants die off as the frost hits and watch us turn them under to fertilize the ground. They learn about how it takes water and sunshine for a garden to grow.
A garden is a great learning opportunity for children and a frugal way to enjoy fresh produce in the summer, and beyond if you can/freeze the vegetables. This works for my family.
This post shared at Works For Me Wednesday.
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