Growing family food: Our first veggie patch

first-veggie-patch-with-children

what-to-grow-in-our-first-veggie-patch

Growing my own food has always been something that appeals; I like gardening and I love how different it tastes to shop bought food. I loved watching Alys Fowlers gardening show The Edible Garden when it was on and grew what I could in our little east facing garden; I grew my own peas, strawberries and chillies and they did well. It was her adorable little jack russell that finally convinced Stu that was the breed for us but it also left me thinking I wanted to grow more. Having had the taste of food fresh from the garden, I wanted a proper veggie patch.

I’ve been on the allotment waiting list for three years, ready to grow as much of my own food as time will allow now that I have two little ones. The waiting list here was 3 1/2 years when I joined but it’s now 6 years long. During a run last week I stumbled across a community garden project offering free beds so I jumped at the chance, it’s not as secure as an allotment but it has a nice friendly feel. I spent the weekend digging out some space and planted some seeds and small plants.

I tried to choose fruits and vegetables that I use regularly so I’ve started with:

  • courgettes
  • peas
  • swiss chard
  • strawberries
  • lettuce
  • sweetcorn
  • spinach
  • pak choi
  • sunflowers

I know I might be a bit late for some of them but it was worth risking for the price of some seeds. There’s also a little woodlands area that needs a little bit of love so I’m growing foxgloves and primula from seed too. All of them have popped up so I just have to wait and see how they all grow.

family-veggie-patch

Gardening is something that I love doing with Annie, we’ve planted sunflowers and sweetpeas at home for the past few years and she helps out with the watering of all our plants. Evan’s just that little bit too young yet but helps out with watering too, though he prefers getting muddy and jumping in puddles. I took him to see the veggie patch with Annie and she was showing him what everyone was growing while he was shouting ‘Wow’ at it all, but his favourite part was walking up the lane to see a horse and finding a few big puddles to jump in.

Getting Annie involved with our first family veggie patch is something I’m aiming for and I like that her first experience of it will be with lots of different types of people all trying to grow together. She loved getting to know everyone and seeing what they’re all growing, she’s been helping me water the plants and spotting new seedlings. Who knows, I might even succeed in getting her to eat some of it!

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child-friendly-allotment-garden

puddle-jumping

28 Comments

  1. 4 July, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Having a garden is priceless for me. Love when I can put a whole meal on the table just from what we have grown.

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:14 pm

      That’s my aim, I’d love my own garden to be big enough but this will do for now 🙂

  2. 5 July, 2016 / 12:43 am

    We have a huge garden on our property and it is what makes it so we can go three weeks without going shopping. I love the pictures! Particularly the little boy in the puddle 🙂

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      I’d love to have a huge garden of my own one day, ours is a decent size for a play area for the kids and some flowers but it doesn’t stretch to veggies. The community garden will do for now! Thank you, he was having a great time.

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:18 pm

      The most work was digging the plot to start with, once that was done I’ve just been checking on it daily. Little and often is the key once the plants are in, so I’ve heard! I’ll let you know when they get bigger 🙂

  3. 5 July, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    This is so neat! 🙂 I grew up with a garden. My parents always had fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and corn. We’re in a condo right now, so don’t have much yard space, however, once we get a house later this year, I definitely plan to check out that book you’re using…There’s something special about growing you own food.

  4. 5 July, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    ohhh gosh! I am soo jealous!! I hope to have my own garden one day!! For now I have my veggies delivered

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:19 pm

      This isn’t mine, it’s a community garden where I’ve dug out a bit of space for myself – maybe you could see if there’s something similar in your area!

  5. 5 July, 2016 / 10:47 pm

    This is so wonderful!! I have always been so sad that I don’t seem to possess any resemblance of a green thumb! I think it such an important skill for us as well as our children to know! Luckily my mother-in-law is a wonderful gardener so I am hoping she can help me to instill these virtues into my babies 🙂

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:20 pm

      Haha at least you have someone passing on the green thumb, maybe they’ll keep you in veggies one day 🙂

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:21 pm

      Do it! Get your name down on the allotment waiting list, you’d love it.

  6. 6 July, 2016 / 12:53 am

    Congrats on your garden! How fun! I am excited to see how all your veggies progress. =) Thanks for sharing “The Edible Garden” book. It looks really helpful!

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      It’s very inspiring I loved the TV show and the book.

  7. 6 July, 2016 / 2:21 am

    Gardening is such a rewarding experience. I hope you have a lot of delicious things to eat from your garden this summer!

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you, me too 🙂

  8. Rachel Quenzer
    6 July, 2016 / 2:47 am

    We love gardening! Thank you for sharing this. Your pictures are adorable and I love the setting near you. It looks perfect for a garden!

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you, I love it too.

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:27 pm

      Me too, I can’t wait to get something on my table that I’ve grown myself!

  9. 6 July, 2016 / 7:06 pm

    Your patch sounds lovely. I enjoyed the edible gardener too. We have a fair size garden but it had only a tree when we bought it last year. I added a small flower patch at the front last year and lots of pots. This year we have a newborn so the garden is sadly neglected. I’d love to grow more flowers and also fruit and vegetables. I think my eldest would love it. I think it is good to get children involved.

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:28 pm

      I totally neglected gardening both times my babies were newborn, it’s hard to find the time or energy. But now my youngest is 18 months I’m enjoying it again. You could maybe put some bits in the ground this Autumn that will grow for you next summer 🙂

    • Alison
      7 July, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      My daughter loves seeing things pop up its so cute. It’s nice to have a helper to water the plants too!

  10. 11 July, 2016 / 2:39 pm

    That looks like so much fun for them! One of my fondest memories of growing up was hanging out in my Pop’s veggie garden and helping him pick things. It was so satisfying, and then eating it all afterwards was the best part!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Alison
      14 July, 2016 / 4:12 pm

      Ahh that’s such a sweet memory!

  11. 2 August, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    Your little ones look like they’re really enjoying the gardening process! I am hoping to get ours running again next year since we took a break this year while having our baby boy. Did you start with all seeds? We had a harder time when we used seeds and we are thinking about starting with small starter plants next year. Also, basil and squash are a couple of our favorites since it was more hardy and came back each year. Hope you enjoy your harvesting!

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