Posts tagged gardening

Is that something green in your teeth (and thumb)? PLUS a discount offer on a great product

Part of the ongoing challenge of feeding kids well is getting the balance right between educating them about food but not making nutrition into such a big issue that they’ll grow into teenagers who rebel and reject us and our quaint “here, have a carrot stick” ways. I think I sometimes do tip into the food-nazi zone. Like when my 6-year-old pushed his spoon through his noodle soup and questioned, “Where’s the protein?” it seemed obvious that we’d had one healthy food lecture, too many.

Luckily, there are more subtle ways of making food education part of the every day. Growing stuff is a perfect way to educate kids quietly. A nice way to practice what you preach.

Problem is though, that some of us have green thumbs and others don’t. I don’t. I’m too sporadic with watering, too forgetful. I’ve got possums and snails and caterpillars that love to party, gorging their green little asses on my outdoor sweat & tears.

All of which adds up to making me a perfect guinea pig for Matt, who offered me a bit of Vegepod salvation.

Generally I avoid PR posts and I’m proud to say that I don’t get paid to talk about anything on this blog (I make a coin by selling my products, instead). So if I do, it’s because it’s a product I like, generally from a small, local business that is working hard with minimal budget to promote big ideas.

Rather than blabber about the Vegepod itself (you can visit the website and find out all about it, instead), I’ll just show you this pic of what I’ve managed to grow in just over 5 weeks. With my little microclimate under the hood, I’ve even got late season basil underway, long after my other stuff in pots has all gone to seed.

Hand clap!

Hand clap!

Best yet, is that the kids are totally excited about the more exotic stuff that we’re now managing to grow. I’m always astonished at how much more enthusiastic they are about eating something that they’ve picked themselves. This silverbeet is a perfect example.

And if you’re interested in a Vegepod, Matt has offered VS readers a 10% discount by entering “smugglers” into the coupon field. Offer expires April 6.

Thanks Matt & hope you sell heaps of Vegepods!

You don't have to hide vegies, so long as they're delicious!

You don’t have to hide vegies, so long as they’re delicious!

Creamed spinach

1 bunch silverbeet, washed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
150ml pouring cream
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
pinch of ground nutmeg

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Drop in the silverbeet, a few leaves at a time. Use tongs to remove them after about 30 seconds. Transfer to a colander. Continue until the whole bunch is cooked. Set aside to cool slightly.
Squeeze out the excess water from the silverbeet, slice the leaves off the stems (discard stems) and roughly chop the leaves.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 6-8 minutes or until golden and soft. Toss in the spinach leaves and cream. Stir until hot, mix through the cheddar and sprinkle over the nutmeg. Season with pepper.

SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS as a side dish

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How not to grow weed(s).

All around me little buds are popping open and there’s the unmistakable smell in the air of Spring. Each year at this time I’m filled with optimism about how self-sufficient I will be throughout the coming summer. You know, with plants and stuff that I can grow and eat, cause there’s no better way to educate your kids on where food comes from than by growing a bit of your own.

Somehow through the winter fog, I forget that I am possibly the world’s most well intentioned but flakey gardener. Rather than dwelling on all the dead plants I’ve pulled and chucked, I think back fondly to my success with eggplants and am sure that THIS YEAR will be the year when I don’t kill everything. Diligently this winter I’ve gotten my Bokashi bucket back into use and there’s some terribly lovely soil waiting for use.

Joining in the fun, Miss F has taken advantage of a freebie sent from Stihl, promoting their “Get real, get outdoors” program. They’re running a range of programs, including assistance for your school working bee and a ‘my green wall’ in-school program, that shows kids how to look after plants. Ever the industrious lass, Miss F had the kit underway before I knew anything about it. Proudly she led me outside to see her handiwork.

Miss F was proud of her hard work.

Miss F was proud of her hard work.

‘Excellent!’ I exclaimed. ‘Did you get the soil from the new compost, Miss F?’
No she said, she just found some dirt laying around, unneeded in the garden. And when I turned around, it was fairly obvious where she’d found it.

Dirt apparently just laying around, doing nothing.

Dirt apparently just laying around, doing nothing.

Anyway. I’ll keep you posted on how we go with our Spring project. Has the start of Spring got you hatching some new outdoors scheme? I’d love to know about it. And if you’ve got any good tips for gardening-for-brown-thumbs, let me know. Last year I even killed mint, which is apparently almost impossible.

The good news is that the baby beets are underway.

The good news is that her baby beets are underway.

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Spring has sprung (time to get digging)

Happiness is... spring flowers of any kind.

From late August, much of Australia can cheer up considerably and return outdoors. I’ve written before about the benefits of growing stuff when it comes to educating your kids about where food comes from. And I’ve also admitted that I am possibly the crappiest of slap-dash gardeners, but this year I’m going to give it a super-good try. I’ve found some new, fantastic resources that I’m following. There’s Gardening4Kids which offers great activities (and a shop), The Little Veggie Patch Co has a stack of info too (plus a super cute logo). If you’re getting more technical and serious, then Sustainable Gardening Australia is another good resource.

Generally, I stick to basic herbs, beans and cherry tomatoes. I find I can manage them well. The kids can see results and enjoy picking and eating them straight from the vines. I’ve had some disheartening disasters with larger vegies, but I’m sure once I get settled in this new house I’ll be inspired to get digging. I’ve got my favourite gardening books on hand – Lolo Houbein’s ‘One Magic Square’ and Alan Buckinghan’s ‘Vegie Patch’. This second one in particular is a good beginner book, telling me exactly what to do each month of the year. His advice for late August/early September is promising – plant in some strawberries, peas, carrots and lettuces. I reckon I can manage that. How about you?

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