How does your garden grow?

We here at HSWT prefer to do our shopping discreetly to avoid causing a media frenzy.

We here at HSWT prefer to do our shopping discreetly to avoid causing a media frenzy.

Mother’s Day weekend at Casa Kelly was filled with everything you might come to expect from our household– multiple trips to multiple home improvement stores, stuffing a tree into our backseat, and hauling enough paver bricks to make us sweat.  As I was swinging a hatchet on Mother’s Day afternoon at a dead elm when other moms were guzzling mimosas at the spa, I couldn’t help but laugh. They say that little girls slowly become their mothers; if there is any truth to that statement, then I am well on my way.  And when I got caught in a huge downpour after planting our brussels sprouts and tomatoes? I was relieved that I didn’t have to water my latest additions to Alexander’s garden– the weather took care of it for me!

For those of you interested in the planting lineup for Alexander’s edible garden thus far, here goes:

  • Bright Lights Swiss Chard: beautifully and colorfully veined greens
  • Nasturtium: peppery-tasting flowers with circular leaves, often added to salads
  • Asparagus: generally takes two years to sprout
  • Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Genovese basil
  • Purple basil
  • Thai basil
  • Jade Cross brussels sprouts
  • Mammoth dill
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Dianthus (carnations)
  • Spearmint and Peppermint (in a pot)
  • Lavender
  • Beets (chioggia variety)
  • Spinach
  • Arugula (rocket variety)
  • Mesclun mix of greens

Though the list sounds quite impressive, the garden is mostly looking like a large dirt pile. I did edge the garden with bullet pavers this afternoon (which helps contain the garden soil) but it’s still looking fairly sad. With the spring rains today, I hope to see more of the seeds sprouting.

For those of you reading this and thinking “Yeah right, I don’t have time for this,” I recommend checking out a product called Seed Bombs. I had a box in reserve from a previous stocking stuffer, and Alexander put them to good use this afternoon. They are basically seed mixes combined with a starter/fertilizer into a compact ball. I handed each herb ball to Alexander, and he happily hurled them into his garden. We did some minor watering, but the instructions indicated that even without rain, with time the seeds would sprout. I’ll give a full review on this as things start to grow, but as of now, they were a no-mess hit for my favorite toddler.

Rain won't keep this young gardener down. He's sharpening his skills until the skies clear.

Rain won’t keep this young gardener down. He’s sharpening his skills until the skies clear.

I can’t emphasize enough how much fun this gardening project has been for both myself and Alexander. During a rainy weekday, I watched him take his play gardening gear, his kitchen sink, and some play flowers and set up shop on our coffee table. He “filled” his watering can in his sink, potted up his plastic flowers in a small box, then proceeded to water them with his watering can. Today, after an energetic play session with his water table outside, he took a few cupfuls of water over to his new rosemary plant without any prompting.  It’s a true joy to watch him blossom along with his garden!  Mother’s Day gifts are nice, but watching my son find pleasure in exploring nature is incredible.

Tiny Green Thumbs

After what seems like an incredibly long winter, HSWT has dusted off its wheels, donned its rain canopy, and is strolling headfirst into spring.  Rather than park it in front of my laptop during nap (which is oh-so-tempting), I’ve been schlepping topsoil and mulch for the latest and greatest Kelly landscaping project. Brian continues to cheer me on as I reduce his mowing time with every bag of soil, and this project takes a notable chunk out of our back yard.

I'm pretty sure our neighbors think I'm crazy...

I’m pretty sure our neighbors think I’m crazy…

As we continue to work with Alexander on increasing his sensory tolerance, I had the idea to create a special garden just for him. We decided to expand from our raised beds with mulch walkways and a lower, fenceless  area perfect for toddler exploration. I’ve had great fun researching plants that are completely edible so that Alexander can touch, sniff, and nibble on everything planted.  Even though he was initially skeptical wandering into his new garden, he is warming up to inspecting the tiny swiss chard seedlings and poking his hands into the dirt. Just yesterday, Alexander pulled me over to a large pot of spearmint and peppermint in the corner of his garden. While he poked around the pot, I pulled a leaf, rubbed it a little, and sniffed it in front of him. He took it from me, gave it a sniff, and broke out into a huge smile. After a little more exploration, he toddled over to his rosemary plant (which is not faring so well considering the snow we received after it was planted) and carefully stroked its leaves and sniffed his hand.

Alexander's landscaping service-- he is happy to take payment in the form of puffs and fruit pouches.

Alexander’s landscaping service– he is happy to take payment in the form of puffs and fruit pouches.

While we know that we will need to supervise Alexander in the other facets of our gardens, we really look forward to letting him romp in his new flower, veggie, and herb beds.  I plan to share photos of Alexander’s garden as it evolves from a pile-o-dirt to a lush landscape. The nasturtiums and bright lights variety swiss chard are already poking through. Last night, as we wrangled Alexander inside after an afternoon play session, Brian noted that our little guy had grass stains on his jeans. I couldn’t be more proud.

Postscript- I am always soliciting new ideas of plants to add to Alexander’s garden. We’re hoping to keep it almost entirely edible. Please feel free to comment with ideas– we could use them!