How I taught my daughter about gardening and got her to eat her vegetables
Have that toddler you have attempted to trick into eating their vegetables? I definitely do - and I have the vivid memories of unwanted food being chucked at me from across the table in a fit of tiny (but very loud) rage. My daughter has fallen into the hot dog, chicken nugget, macaroni rabbit hole of pickiness that I seem to be unable to pull her from. I love to cook, am cooking delicious home cooked meals constantly and am always trying new things - how did this happen? How do I break her from the habit that I inevitably created for her by caving to her every whim? Trust me, I am still trying to figure it out. But I did discover one tiny nugget of gold last year when I, like every one else stuck at home during the pandemic, began to garden.
My neighbor down the road graciously lent his unused garden boxes to me and being several months pregnant and stuck at home with an almost two year old - I was desperate for a way to get out of our house. And so my gardening journey began.
I didn't realize how important it would be to introduce this into our family until our daughter began to garden with me. She went from refusing tomatoes to plucking them straight from the vine and popping them into her mouth. We delighted in the giant "cchinis" and made more zucchini bread than we could eat in one sitting.
This year, my husband took our new hobby and built our own beautiful garden.
“She went from refusing tomatoes to plucking them straight from the vine and popping them into her mouth.”
Now our pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, and lettuce can grow steps away from the front door. We raised ladybugs and butterflies to release into the garden to pollinate our plants and keep the bugs away. We planted a bee, butterfly and hummingbird garden to pick our own table bouquets. And every evening when baby brother gets tucked into bed, my daughter and I go outside to check the tomatoes, pick what's ripe for the day and enjoy the sunset.
She, at three years old, understands that growing vegetables is a special thing to do. She gets just as excited as me when tiny green tomatoes start to appear and her pumpkins start to turn orange.
“I have planted in her the love of gardening and that is something I will cherish forever.”
These moments are so incredibly special and we are so lucky to have the space to grow and explore. I hope we continue to expand her taste buds beyond hot dogs and freshly picked cherry tomatoes - but you win some and you lose some. I do know that I have planted in her the love of gardening and that is something I will cherish forever.