Backyard Gardening – Part 2

A few months ago I did a blog post called Grow Your Own all about starting a backyard veggie garden. This was a project that my family did for the first time and now that we’re inching towards the end of summer, I can say it’s been a huge success! A few fumbles along the way but overall an experience that we have all learned and benefitted from.

We built raised beds and planted beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, kale, spinach, carrots and potatoes. We chose these vegetables because they were common enough items that we use a lot of. Whether it’s salads, chopped veggies or in full recipes, these are veggies are staples in our house. Plus we had been told that these veggies were foolproof. Plant and be done. I was definitely looking for veggies that didn’t need a lot tending to.

We did start our season a bit late. We only planted in June so our harvesting is only JUST happening now. Next year we will plant in May. At first the tomato plants went into shock. We planted them and they looked great for about a day. The next morning we woke up to sad, droopy tomato plants. Despite sun and water they remained like that for over a week. We actually thought about throwing them out. Then one day they perked up and began to grow like crazy. We have so many tomatoes, we can barely keep up. Now that the plants are heavy, they do need help standing up. We even pick some tomatoes before they are ripe and then let them ripen in the sun on our deck. This helps both the plants to not be pulled down too much with heavy tomatoes and it helps to keep our friendly groundhog away.

Cucumbers have been a challenge. The plants have grown enormous yet not produced a lot of actual veggies. Bell peppers are going well just very slow to grow. Finally they are big enough to eat but now we wait for them to turn red. Kale has been the easiest by far. Other than being a favorite of the local wildlife, it grows bigger and bigger each day and seems to grow faster every time we pick it. We’ve had kale smoothies, salads, kale chips and even just munched on kale right off the plant itself. Even the potatoes have been easy. Every week we find a few more that we dig out of the ground. They are red baby potatoes and they have a flavor unlike any potatoes we’ve bought from the store.

Sadly we lost our spinach though; this one never seemed to take. It grew a few leaves then wilted, tried again and wilted again. The carrots we do have left are doing well but have by far the slowest growth of all the veggies we planted. Didn’t help that my son picked them to see how they were doing and replanted them afterwards…..yep it killed them. Turns out replanting carrots are a no go.

All in all, our first attempt at backyard gardening has been a success and I highly recommend it. The veggies don’t take that much work and the taste is incredible. Veggies from the grocery store are bland compared what you can grow yourself with very little effort. Backyard gardening is a great way to teach your kids where their food comes from and how to eat healthy. If they have a hand in planting and taking care of it, they also really want to eat it. Even if they don’t end up loving each veggie and eating it every day, they are more inclined to try new things because they were a part of the process. Plus knowing that there are no pesticides or herbicides on your food is amazing! 

Health and fitness coach, runner and blogger at Montreal Runner Mom, Jennifer’s easy and simple approach to clean eating makes living a healthy lifestyle manageable for busy moms on-the-go. Follow Jennifer to learn how making basic changes in your meal planning can be both delicious and nutritious.

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