Kid Gardening

I saw a garden stone once that said, “I tried, but it died”. I didn’t buy it then, but I should have. You could say my thumbs are more red- lots of plant death on these hands. But hey, the weeds love me!

We are going to try, even if it dies! My other garden motto is- A garden gone wild still has more tasty treats than no garden.

With all joking aside, I want to try to prioritize gardening this year, and I believe I can by keeping it simple and making it one of our “mommy and me activities” with Abe. One of my sisters in Korea, where land is scarce being a small country with a high population, has a SMALL plot in a community garden area. She is a good gardener, and she produces probably about 10 times as much as I do through the season and with about a half as much garden area.

In our new home, we are going to start SMALL and SIMPLE kid friendly garden.

Why Gardening is Important to Me?

Back a few years ago, I took a course on gardening, and I toured some organic farms and Amish farms. It was an amazing experience. During this course, I also learned about the “Dirty Dozen” which I looked up again recently and it has become more like the “Dirty Double Dozen”. I am not going to lie- I don’t get mommy guilt too much, but I do have mommy guilt on not buying organic foods. I enjoy the “deals” too much.

Still, it is always on my mind that we live in a food producing world where emphasis is on production/money, not safety; and convenience, not health. I think there is a correlation with all of the chemicals, pollutants, and short cuts used and the rising amount of allergies, health issues-mental and physical, and cancers.

There are so many studies and findings out there about this correlation of chemicals in our food leading to health issues:

Food Allergies Linked to Pesticides

Are the Chemicals We Encounter Every Day Making Us Sick

Food Additives, Contaminants, Carcinogens, and Mutagens

I want to instill in my children that it may be a lot of work, but there is value in good, clean foods that they can grow. I want my children to think it is normal and worth it to work hard and reap the awards of putting their own food on the table.

April Planting Steps

If you are in Iowa, NOW IS THE TIME TO START PLANTING AND PLANNING! I feel like every year I read the seed package instructions for something, and I learn I should have planted it a month ago.

Down below I have a couple of links to the resources I am using to help us plant on a proper timeline. Being the end of March and beginning of April, Abe and I started to get pumped up for our gardening mission.

I told Abe he could pick out seeds he wanted, and I would also pick out seeds for the plants we wanted to grow in our back yard. He was very excited to do this.

We went to the store, and Abe picked out corn, cucumbers, peas, and carrots.

I picked out tomatoes, lettuce, and bell peppers.

I also had herbs (basil and cilantro) as well as zucchini from years before.

Then, we had the exciting day of playing in dirt, which I have some video clips of us doing this down at the bottom.

My husband also planted asparagus and onions a couple days ago as a surprise for me when I was away with the boys for an evening.

What Went Directly into the Ground

The cold weather plants: lettuces, spinach, and herbs (onions)

We have a lot of landscaping work to do on our home, but we have a terraced back yard area where we will be planting our garden. It is close to our home, and some parts of it get shade and some full sunlight. We placed the spinach and lettuce in the kind of partial sun areas, for they do okay there. We put the herbs in full light and some of our planters.

What We Started Inside

The warm weather plants we bought: bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and herbs

We used egg containers and yogurt cups to start these plants. We did about 8 of each just for ensuring we have enough to plant into the ground.

I would also love to have some herb gardens everywhere, so we planted a lot of those.

We placed these starters on a towel and plastic trays in a north facing window to get as much sunlight as possible in the baby’s room. The door is usually closed to his room because we have a cat. Now, we really don’t want the cat, who one year ate all of the heads off my basil starters (I about had a mental breakdown- I happened to be pretty stressed that year). We will have fun watering them and watching them grow there until they are ready to plant. I will probably make this into a paid chore to create more responsibility out of it.

The rest, the corn, carrots, and zucchini we will plant more towards the end of April or beginning of May when there is no more risk of snow/frost.

Resources for Iowa Planters

We live in Iowa, zone 5 according to the on the
USDA Hardiness Zone Map Better Home and Gardens website.

I also used our state’s planting calendar to guide us through starting all that we are.

Image result for what is my planting zone

As always, thanks for reading! I would love to hear about any gardening adventures and goodness knows I could always any advice!



    1. I bet you had great gardens. I love to hear there is success in gardening with the little ones!

      So far, my three year old is pretty excited. I just need to present it right, I think- make it fun for him with the dirt and the watering. I’ll do the weeding (ugh!) myself for now, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the timing of this post!

    And I too have a lot of blood on my hands. At some point in time, I was growing flowers and herbs in my humble balcony garden, but then some unfortunate incident occurred and I just stopped caring for them; they all died of course, and I kind of lost the motivation to start all over again.

    But recently I have added gardening on my list as something I need to get back to again.

    I haven’t really tried planting actual food (once tried strawberries but it didn’t work out for some reason). I will probably need to do some reading first as to which types of veg/fruits that can planted in pots.


    “..we live in a food producing world where emphasis is on production/money, not safety; and convenience, not health. I think there is a correlation with all of the chemicals, pollutants, and short cuts used and the rising amount of allergies, health issues-mental and physical, and cancers.”

    No truer words have ever been spoken.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, my fellow red thumb gardener! Haha! I will have to get you one of the “I tried, but it died” stones too if I ever come across them again.

      I know if you like tomatoes or peppers of any kind, my grandma used to do those in pots. They were great too. I bet you could do anything in a pot if you had a green thumb… Let’s try to change our thumb color together.

      With this all said, I really do hope we are not causing the damage I fear with foods we are putting in our bodies from our current food production systems. Take care, Ray. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post and agree wholeheartedly on the correlation with cancer and what is being put in our foods to make more money and boost crops. I do try and buy a lot of organic. If you have a Trader Joe’s, their prices on organic produce are very good! I don’t do gardening but my husband does – it is a family tradition on his side. My mom is a big gardener but we lived in an apartment most of my growing years so, it didn’t catch on to me. I do, however, cook all that fresh food! I make lots of pesto with the basil and this past year I discovered Caponata with the Japanese eggplant and small tomatoes. He also grows cucumbers, green beans, and zucchini. I love that you are doing this with Abe because you will be instilling this in him and I believe knowing more about the earth and how things grow is so important and is a dying tradition. Matter of fact, I am going to talk to my husband about doing it with Joe this year! Great Post, Erin! xoxo


    1. Thank you, Sandy. It makes me so happy you liked it. I was kind of excited to document gardening with Abe. We really had a fun time with this project.

      That is a good deal to have a husband who likes to garden. You can reap the rewards! Oh! Your cooking sounds amazing. I looked up Caponata just now. I had never heard of it, but it looks really good. I love eggplant.

      I hope Joe takes to it with your husband, and it can be a fun activity for both of them to do together. Our garden looks a little wonky, and it is really unprofessional, but it has been a lot of fun. Abe keeps asking to go plant more, and I am thinking- we need to keep it small, so it doesn’t all die!!


  3. Thanks Erin, I used to have lots of plants until I had children. Now I keep children alive 😂. The inside plants all died one – by – one.
    I like to have an outside garden because it’s kind of magical to watch them push up from the ground. We have so much work to do this year. Hopefully it will be a good garden this year.

    Take care,



    1. Hey, Natalie! Yes. Unfortunately, we also nurture the one-by-one, slow death of the plants. Haha! I laugh, but I do always feel really badly when we chuck the wasted away plant back to the earth. Gardens are surely magical with the right work! Good luck!
      Thank you for reading!


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