How do you get a three year old to eat his vegetables? Grow a garden!
I kid you not folks, this little munchkin here can be pretty picky about his food. I fortunately have a few nutritious recipes up my sleeve that are just yummy enough my little guy can miraculously overlook the colorful cooked veggies within. But when it comes to fresh, raw, straight up vegetables, I assure you that this child has never willingly obliged. That is… until yesterday.
As we were doing our daily inspection of our growing seedlings, he curiously pulled a precious kale seedling from its pod, root and all. Immediately saddened at the loss of a future kale plant, my first reaction was an urgent “No! Don’t pull that out!” His little eyes looked up at me, assuredly curious (and perhaps a little concerned) if mommy was now grumpy.
If I’m being honest, I was a little. But being the clever gal that I am, I put on my “I’m a cool, easy going mom” hat and spun around the situation. I explained how the seedlings need soil to grow, when we pull them out they can’t grow anymore, but since it’s already pulled out, guess what we can do with it?!
I pinched off the root of my little lacinato kale seedling, and popped the newly germinated green ends into my mouth. I’m pretty sure his jaw dropped. That. Was. Amazing.
And there you have it folks, my garden’s fate solidified in that very moment. If I thought growing little seedlings was the easy part of gardening, I was sadly mistaken. I now have to ward off grubby little fingers from pulling up every single one of my seedlings and devouring them. Who knew?!
By the end of our gardening that day, I was both delighted and admittedly very grumpy. He wouldn’t stop sneaking over to the greenhouse shelf and gobbling up all the seedlings! Oh, the irony. I was trying to celebrate that he was happily munching on vegetables while simultaneously intercepting his every attempt to steal another bite. If memory serves correctly, I had to physically remove him from the backyard and subsequently lecture him on how we need to be good gardeners, and good gardeners don’t eat all their baby plants!
I have a feeling this will not be the end of the struggles involved in gardening with a toddler. Good news is that I am not gardening for the vegetables alone. In full disclosure here, half the reason we built this raised bed, purchased the seeds, and started this garden, was to encourage our little bot to enjoy and learn from some of the fundamentals of life here on earth. Dirt, Sunshine, and Vegetables! (I also whole heartedly believe that those fundamentals are good for me too!)
Gardening, it’s not just for the vegetables at the end, but they sure are a delightful treat to look forward to! And as it turns out, even my little three year old will enjoy them!