Now that Peyton is older and she’s helping in the kitchen more I thought it would be a good idea to try our hand at gardening this summer. The past few summers I have tried to do a garden bed but the bunnies, deer, ants and other wild life took it over. They treated my gardens like they were buffets and cleaned them out overnight! I even tried purchasing vegetable plants and planting them. The deer really appreciated that! Took them 2 days to eat all the plants down to nothing.This year I purchased a raised garden bed. I was determined to have my little garden. We planted some corn, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, lettuce and cucumbers. It was a whole new experience for us. But I really wanted to give Peyton the farm to table experience in our back yard. The only problem is I am not a farmer. So things went a little sideways. At first, our garden looked amazing! Within a few days of planting our seeds, we started to see growth. Within a few weeks, we started to see plants! I thought for sure we would have some veggies soon.
Then the cucumbers started to flourish. I had no clue a cucumber grew on a vine! I know, maybe I should have done a little research before I started planting. But it all came in a seed kit so I thought they would be ok to grow together. After seeing the results of our work, I’m thinking the cucumber should have never been planted in our raised bed with the other veggies.
The cucumbers took over! They choked out all my other veggies because they hogged the water. We did get some huge cucumbers out of our garden. And we learned that cucumbers are prickly! Who knew? Whenever we purchase them in the store they are smooth. So at least Peyton got to learn about cucumbers. We learned they spread and take up a lot of room when they grow, they need lots and lots of water and love sunlight.
Another way I have tried to show Peyton what a farm to table experience is like is through a CSA. Last summer we were a member of a local CSA. I thought we were going to grow our own veggies this summer so I didn’t sign up. After seeing our garden fiasco I kinda wish we would’ve signed up. But I did sign up with a local farmer to purchase peaches, cherries and blueberries. That was a great decision!
The farm to table movement is a great idea. It teaches us to eat local, which helps us support our local farmers, try vegetables that grow close by so we can have fresh, vegetables. There is a big difference between the vegetables purchased locally versus vegetables shipped in from different regions or countries.
Many of our local farmers have pick your own options. Earlier this year Peyton and I picked our own strawberries and next month we are going to pick our own apples. This is a great way to get your child out to a farm and see first hand how our foods are grown. Plus you get to bring home some fresh fruit. And some farms even have fresh tasty treats!
This weekend I am taking Peyton to the Minnesota State Fair where we are going to have a little one on one time with a farmer! I’m hoping they can help us learn a little more about the art of growing crops. Even though we are only growing 2-4 of each vegetable I’m sure they can give us a few pointers. After all, the raise acres and acres of vegetables!
Farmers work incredibly hard to bring fresh foods to our tables. I used to spend summers in Montana at my Great Great Uncle Harold’s farm. I remember plenty of summer afternoons heading out into the field with him and falling a sleep behind his seat on the combine. There’s nothing like the hum of a motor to knock a kid out!
If you are thinking about starting your own garden, want to learn more about what a farmer does or the crops we have in Minnesota take a few minutes out of your day and stop by at the Minnesota State Fair. You will be amazed to see how many different types of farms we have here in Minnesota.
We have beef farmers, dairy farmers, crop farmers and more. We have organic farmers. There are so many different types of farm and different techniques it’s really fascinating.
So if you are out at the fair on Saturday be sure to stop by and meet a farmer. You may even see Peyton and I there too!