Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Annual Vegetable Garden Post!

With summer only days away I feel compelled to discuss a topic I broached last spring.  Gardening.  I love it.  And my goal is to have my girls love it too.
Last year we planted our first real vegetable garden.  I’ve worked on farms and I’ve had flower gardens and certainly I’ve grown deck gardens that included herbs and tomatoes in pots, but as for a proper GARDEN - garden, last year’s was the first.

It was such a huge hit with my girls.  Not only did they help plant and tend the garden (at least until the novelty of weeding waned) but they also enjoyed the fruits of their labour. They had a great time playing in the back yard then heading over to the carrot patch or the tomato plants at their leisure and pulling or plucking the treat of their choosing.  There is something strangely satisfying about extracting a vegetable from the ground - a vegetable that you’ve grown yourself!  It’s right up there with collecting eggs from a hen house or feeding a baby goat - two experiences my girls have been fortunate enough to have had. 

So, in light of last year’s success, we’ve expanded our vegetable garden and included a few veggies we didn’t try last year.  We dedicated one whole plot to potatoes.  And my goodness are those potatoes happy!

We are also attempting beets again this year.  Last year’s beet crop failed.  I’m not entirely sure why but I suspect it resulted from a prolonged heat wave that hit around the same time we were on vacation and the garden didn’t get the watering it should have.  This year’s crop seems to be faring better.  In fact I have recently pulled the very first official beet myself, washed it and eaten it, greens included, standing right there in the garden.  It was delicious. 
We are also growing onions, radishes, lettuces, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic (love garlic!) and of course carrots. 
The great thing about the garden is it’s sort of like a “diabetes-free zone”.  Jenna is allowed to eat at will with no pre-snack check (unless I suspect a high or low, of course) and no bolus.  Yes, I realize that certain veggies have significant amounts of carbs in them, but this is just one sacred area I like to minimize her diabetic burden. There really is no better way to turn a kid on to vegetables than to have them eat them freshly picked.  So, to awaken the vegetable-lover in each of my girls I try to keep the garden as positive and as free a place as possible.  Besides, when she’s outside, Jenna is active - running through sprinklers, skipping, playing tag.  She is more apt to burn through the few carbs she might get from her garden snacking.  So it balances out, usually.
And speaking of carbs balancing activity,  I’d like to share a couple of pictures I took in the garden this week of a creature that burns the sugar it’s diet is chiefly comprised of as it is eaten!  This little hummingbird really took to the camera and allowed me to get several amazing shots as it fed on the nectar in my Red Valerian

Thanks for photo-op, little hummingbird!  

Happy gardening!

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