Some Things Didn’t Grow…

Some of our garden didn’t grow. It’s important to be honest.

First of all, none of our pumpkins grew. Last year, involuntary pumpkin vines wound around the hill on the backside of our deck. They were the offspring of Halloween pumpkins the boys pushed over the railing when they rotted. Surprise! In the summer, pumpkins grew, and we loved watching them! No such luck this year. This year, we deliberately placed some of those rotting ones in our backyard, to seed and grow naturally. Come summer, nothing. No vines, no pumpkins. Bummer. We were really hoping for a pumpkin patch. We’ll try again next year.

In the boys gardens, we didn’t have much luck with carrots. Rex and Morris both planted carrot seeds. When they pulled on the fine greens to collect what grew below, carrots the size of a pinkie finger came up from under the earth…if we were lucky. Most of the carrots were a hint of orange that was slightly thicker than the stem and about one inch long. We’ll try again next year.

No luck with potatoes either, the veggie Jude was most hoping to grow. He set aside four plots, but none of them prospered. When we pulled on the green, only the original potato we planted was there. Bummer for Jude. We’ll try again next year.

Some veggies weren’t quite the hit we were hoping. As two and four year-olds, Rex and Jude, loved to nibble on chives. They were kind of ignored this year – out-shined by mint and cucumbers – and chives never made it into one veggie dish. We never did anything with Jude’s sage either, even though he reminded me a few times it was hanging out in his garden.

All of these experiences serve as great tips for next year’s planting. Not failures.



Cabbage = Coleslaw

Cabbage was the pride and joy of Morris’ garden. Whenever someone asked him what was growing in his garden, he had one thing to say, and one thing only: “Cabbage.”

I’m not even sure if he ate it much before he decided to grow it, but he definitely knew he wanted to. And I’m not sure he even likes the taste of it very much because there are always leftover pieces whenever I add it to his dinner plate… There’s just something about it, I guess.

Tonight, he pulled a second one from his garden, and we chopped it up for coleslaw. As I was chopping, he was away playing toys… All I had to do was mention that I was ready to use his cabbage, and he ran right to me to help out. So, we made coleslaw together:

1 head of cabbage, finely chopped

½ cup diced onions

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup white or apple cider vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup cilantro (because I love it in everything)

1 tbsp sugar

Morris was very proud of the bowl we placed on the dinner table. He was very proud he grew that cabbage.


Fruit-Fly-Killing Coctail

When produce rests on kitchen counters, annoying fruit flies come to visit. They seem to especially enjoy bananas and our garden tomatoes.

My sister-in-law Amy gave me a great fruit-fly-killing-cocktail recipe!

1.Grab a glass and fill it halfway with apple cider vinegar.

2. Add 2 squirts dish-soap.

3.Dash in some fast-running water so bubbles form on the top.

The apple cider vinegar attracts the little stinkers, which then rest on the bubbles. The soap decreases the vinegar’s surface tension and then causes the flies to sink and drown.

img_1040Jude was fascinated by the collection of at least fifty fruit flies at the bottom of the glass. Thank you, Amy! I’m going to remember this one.

Garden Value Concluded, Sort of…

Early on, I wanted to get a guestimate of how much we earned back from our harvests. In an earlier post I noted that we spent about $110 on plants and seeds (way back in May), and as of July we’d earned about $45 in produce.

I’ve been keeping track (loosely, I confess) on a piece of notebook paper that rests on top of a scale in our kitchen. Tally marks note how many tomatoes Jude has harvested versus Morris, and how many pounds of beans came from each boys’ garden. I put them all together for a total.

Some vegetables are difficult to keep track of, which I note after my total. But, here’s a good guess at the boys’ garden value. Bravo, Boys!

Cost at Store Harvested Value
Cucumbers $1.00 30 $30.00
Green beans $2.69 / 1.35 lbs. 4.69 lbs. $9.35
 -Roma $.25 each 41+ $10.25
 -Cherry $3.79 / 0.95 lbs. 90+/ 2.5lbs. $9.48
 -Big $1.35 each 31+ $41.85
Jalapenos/Chilis $0.30 each 8+ $2.40
Eggplant    $1.99 (for large) 2 small $2.00 (guestimated)
Lettuce $1.99 3 large bowls/heads $6.00
Cabbage $1.86 each 6 $11.16

Basil – $1.99/pkg. (fresh) 8 $15.92

Chives – $2.99/.75 oz. (fresh)

Cilantro – $1.00/bunch (fresh) 2 $2.00

Dill – $1.70/.58 oz. (dried) 3 $5.10

                                                   TOTAL VALUE (as of 9/10)= $145.51*   

*Some items did not grow: potatoes

Some items did not grow well: carrots

Some items yielded a small harvest and did not get figured in: kale

Some items were lost track of because they were picked and given to visitors: green beans

Some items were not harvested but nibbled by children and adults: chives, mint, sage, and many tomatoes.

                                TOTAL VALUE OF LEARNING AND FUN! = PRICELESS!

A Little News

The boys were on the front page of our local newspaper!

A few weeks earlier, a photographer for the paper visited our home and the boys’ gardens for a photo opp. The boys posed inside with an abundance of their produce (and silliness), and then they had pictures taken outside in their gardens.


The following week, a reporter came and interviewed the boys about their favorite plants, unexpected difficulties, and what they learned about gardening.

And then last week, the article was published! We went to the local grocery store and each boy purchased a copy. Then we took the paper to a park to read. The boys were thrilled, and I was asked by a boy more than once if they were famous.

“For one day,” was my response.

This will be a wonderful memory and keepsake for my growing boys.