The Benefits of a Family Garden

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By Martha Lee

Let me preface this post by saying, “This is my first garden. Ever.”

So I am uncertain as to whether I have a green thumb or brown thumb yet, but that’s okay! I’m determined to learn as we go and have fun with it. Gardening can be intimidating for newcomers like me, but it can also be a great lesson learned for the whole family. We’re diving in head first, and I hope you’ll join us and throw us a few pointers along the way.

The Goodness of Gardening
Family, school, and community gardens are popping up all over the nation, and for good reason too. We all share a central theme: we want our children to know about our food. We want them to know where it comes from and how it’s grown. We want them to be excited about the healthy food that they eat.  We want to teach our children that responsibility can pay off in big ways, and we can teach this through nurturing the little helpers within them and igniting a love for helping others.

Practice Makes Perfect
“Omi do it!” exclaims our almost three-year-old daughter as she runs to grab her Little Tikes shovel to help dig holes.  She’s bursting with joy just to be a part of the scene – eager to help. Even though children’s help at this age and stage is often times more messy than helpful, they are developing and practicing their fine and gross motor skills and learning big roles in responsibility.

She helps in the garden, and she’s helping me with an important role in helping the plants grow. She gets to watch the plants thrive under her care, and she gets excited! Kids love to get outside and get their hands dirty, so what better way to encourage our little helpers than by starting a garden. 

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Fresh Produce, at Your Fingertips!
We have a raised bed this year in a sunny location where Omi (short for Naomi) helped me pour a mixture of composted soil and dirt. Next, we separated the plants and got to planting! We have vegetables like squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and collards.  We also planted a little herb garden with parsley, mint, and basil too - some of my favorites to cook with.

Omi loves caring for the garden and constantly wants to water the plants and check on their growth. How awesome is it to get kids participating in growing their own food?!


Precious Bonding Time
I am excited to share a new bond with her. Growing a garden helps to do that. It also helps kids get excited about eating what they grow! Picky eaters may not be so picky anymore when they are tending it themselves.  They learn just where their food comes from, the satisfaction of knowing they grew it themselves, and they get to enjoy the pickin’ and eatin’ – the best part of all.

So if you’re considering growing a garden this year with the kids, give it a go!  It’s a learning experience for us all, and it’s a great excuse to get out there together and nurture the sprouts all the while nurturing each other. If it doesn’t pan out right this year, well then we know more for next year. Growing food that we know will be good for us and knowing how and where it’s grown – we can all get behind that!

Martha Lee and her husband began working for Paula Deen Enterprises in 2006 until Martha left to pursue a degree in Special Education. She takes a cue from her 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, leaving tiny footprints on the planet. Her blog shares practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. Born and raised in beautiful, soulful Macon, GA, Martha and her family now lives in Savannah, where she can be found outside hula-hooping and performing handstands daily.
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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm