It is finally Spring in Toronto (garden time) and the snow has finally all melted and what do I notice in the back of my backyard? 5 pieces of lumber that were left over from our deck project last summer. These pieces were too warped or cracked to be put in the deck but I had another idea, an idea that all of my Pinterest searches gave me the confidence to tackle. I was going to finally build a raised garden bed in the backyard and transfer my windowsill garden outside where it belonged.
I did what any DIY’er would do, grabbed the measuring tape , circle saw, and all the wood and got ready to go to work. This was at 7 AM on Easter Friday. I measured the cuts (1 long piece cut into 4 smaller pieces for the sides) and waited patiently while the kids woke up. Finally at 9 AM I got the courage to plug in the saw and cut. Can I tell you those were the fastest three cuts I ever did because I was scared my husband would wake up and freak out that I was waking him up on a long weekend. He doesn’t really care what I do to the house and I am forever thankful that he just lets me do what I want when it comes to these “projects” I have. I think he gets upset when I need him to do the heavy lifting though. At this point my son asked to help and since I had put the saw away and all that needed to be done was screwing the wood together we got to work.
I always let my kids help me when it comes to working with tools and putting together furniture. I am almost positive that in another year my son and daughter will be able to follow instructions enough to put together something from Ikea. They have helped my put together everything in our house and I use it as a teaching opportunity. They sort out all of the screws and other things and I make sure I explain what I am doing and why. They see that I am following the instructions and are so proud of what they built. Now at 4 and 5 years old they replace batteries in their toys themselves and they know that not everything has to be bought at a store, they are capable of building things as well. So we basically put three long deck screws into each corner to keep the box together ( he put his hands over mine while we did this together), and we did this twice because I wanted this garden bed to be a little bit taller.
That was the easy part, in between the baby’s naps I had to totally dismantle my rotted out garden box at the side of my house and bring the soil to the back.
I used my kids wagon to do this and I think I owe them a new one as the weight of the soil made the tire buckle, but oh well. After 6 trips my husband woke up and noticed a humongous pile of dirt in the backyard as well as a new garden. He smiled for a second until he realized he had to put the soil into the box. So I went in to get lunch ready and when I came out to bar-b-q he had most of it in the box, yay!
There was still some dirt left on the grass and I am not above child labour so my kids got to work while we cooked.
Honestly, they dug and dug and in hindsight I should have asked my husband to just help me lift the wagon and dump the dirt into the boxes but now I have some dirt on my grass that I will have to hose off.
So since the weekend we have bought some compost and triple mix for the soil and we have mixed it all up so next came the best part, the seeds. My son is growing a some sort of pea or bean on his window sill for his Senior Kindergarten school project and I wanted my daughter to get an opportunity to have a plant as well. So we have spent some time in the past week planting seeds in egg cartons and muffin pans so we can transfer them outside when the weather gets a little bit warmer.
This is a great way to show your kids where there food comes from and some of the seeds we planted actually look like the food they will grow into so they were so thrilled to put them into the soil. My daughter planted some organic corn and it was a dried kernal she put in the soil. It has been 5 days and this is what we have sprouting.
I decided I wanted to try out some Carrot seed tape that I found and it may be my new favourite way to plant tiny seeds. It takes all of the guess work out of spacing out the seeds you just water and they sprout up these beautiful delicate leaves.
I saw somewhere on Pinterest to start seedlings in muffin tins but my experience was horrible and time consuming. I found that I flooded the little cups with too much water and had to add more soil after my daughter planted all the seeds. I also got her to write everything that we were planting on Popsicle sticks so that she could practice her spelling and penmanship.
All in all I think doing this garden with my kids has given me the opportunity to reap the benefits with them for many years to come. My children like many others their age will not willingly eat a veggie unless it is cucumber slices. I have some cilantro, parsley and green onion growing on my window sills and I catch the kids picking the parsley and cilantro and eating it. I want my children to know where their food comes from, that it is not just something that we buy from a store, but something that takes time and patience to grow. Hopefully when they harvest the fruits (and veggies) of their labor they will be more inclined to eat them and appreciate them. I know that I am not a perfect parent and I have no idea how my choices today will affect my children when they grow up. I hope that I give them enough skills, knowledge and love that they will be happy and successful in life, but in the end nothing I do will matter if they do not put the effort in themselves.