Posts Tagged ‘victory garden’

Foodie Tots in the Garden: Planning & Planting

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Our first year kitchen garden experiment didn’t yield a whole lot in terms of edibles, but the pride in the four-year-old’s face as he told people (family, neighbors, total strangers in the garden store…) about his garden made it all worthwhile. He may not have liked the sungold cherry tomatoes, but he loved to pick them whenever we had company and pass them around.

This year we’ve got a head start with strawberries already flowering! A rhubarb plant I was sure I had killed — let’s just say it never quite made it out of its plastic pot on the deck last summer… — grew back this spring and is more than ready for a permanent home. I tasked the boy with choosing his four plants for this year, and here’s what he drew:

foodie tots kitchen garden

In case you’re wondering, that’s a hot dog plant between the sunflowers and strawberries. The fourth plant is peas.

We’ll plant the sunflowers elsewhere around the yard, and together we’ve come up with the following list for our garden bed:

  • strawberries
  • multi-colored carrots
  • peas (a warm-weather variety this year)
  • French breakfast radishes (my choice)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil
  • peppers

I have a pot on the deck to replant with mint and rosemary, plus my window sill box for the rest of our herbs. I’d also like to put a few berry plants in but we’re still figuring out what to do about our rolling hillside gently-sloping backyard. Also, I’m pretty sure we have a resident groundhog (??) about, as something got through my bunny fence last fall and made of with the carrots while we were out of town.

Have you planted seeds yet this spring? What are you growing? (And don’t forget, there’s just about 24 hours left to enter to win your own copy of The Whole Family Cookbook.)

In the Garden: Sprouts and Critters

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Our seeds began to sprout within a week, and I’m not sure whether the Foodie Tot or I was more surprised. Now that we’ve moved in to the new house, we’re able to check on the garden daily. The boy is always so excited to go see how much things have grown.

We’ll have some thinning to do, as my seed planting assistant had a heavy hand in scattering the seeds.

Of more pressing concern, however, is putting up some chicken wire around the garden. Something has nibbled our first two ripening strawberries, and been pawing around in the beets and peas.

The prime suspect? A healthy looking rabbit we spotted hopping through the backyard one evening. Hopefully the chicken wire will solve that problem!

Shared with Grow Cook Eat at goodLife {eats} — visit Katie’s post to learn about extension services for home gardeners.

Welcome to the FoodieTots Kitchen Garden

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

As we traveled down the path of eating more locally, it was hard to escape the feeling that maybe we should try growing some of our own food, too. Because we weren’t planning to stay in our current house as long as we have, I never broke ground for a garden and just made do with an herb pot last summer. We closed on our new house on Friday, though – perfectly timed with the last frost date for our area. So what did we do Saturday? Put in our starter garden bed. (Normal people might pack or move first, but I was afraid it would be too late by the time we got settled in.)

In the past I’ve had a small blueberry bush and a very prolific raspberry patch, so I know I *can* grow something. As we’re expecting baby #2 in just two more months, I tried to start small. We (namely the husband) made a 4’x6’ bed, with 10” wide planks. The bottom is lined with cardboard, and then filled with 6 bags of organic soil and 1 bag of organic compost (the compost was unintentional, I wasn’t paying attention when the garden center employees loaded the car).

I set aside an end row for the boy, and let him pick his crops. Aside from the requested “cheeseburger plant,” we were able to plant the rest of his wishlist: carrots (orange & purple), broccoli, strawberries, and a pumpkin. My rows contain more of the carrots, French radishes, beets, and a low-growing pea, with an open space for cherry tomatoes and peppers to come later. (Why are we gardening? When I showed him my pea seeds, the boy said, “But peas don’t grow on plants! They come from the store!” The husband asked where the store gets them from, and he said, “New York!”)

Of course, I’ve already made a couple rookie mistakes: namely, trying to buy garden supplies on the first day of planting season – and a gorgeous, sunny, mid-60s day to boot. We wound up with fir planks rather than the cedar I wanted – I’d read that cedar is a natural pest deterrent. I can only assume it’s my punishment for going to Home Depot rather than an independent lumber dealer … the characteristically helpful service from Home Depot (note sarcasm) prompted me to proclaim on Facebook that I wanted to take on a new challenge: a year without Home Depot. We did go to an independent garden center for the rest of the supplies (organic soil, seeds, a window box for herbs, and the strawberry plants) – and we have at least two independent hardware stores near the new house which we will be checking out soon. The broccoli and beet seedlings came from our new neighborhood’s farmers market. Between the cost of the wood, organic soil ($14/bag) and those pricey strawberry plants ($3.99/each), I’m not sure we’ll break even on our garden this year. But it’s a learning experience, right?

At any rate, here’s week one of the FoodieTots Kitchen Garden:

See more photos of the construction at Flickr. And stay tuned for progress reports throughout the season.

Do you have a kitchen garden? What are you growing?

This post is part of GrowCookEat at ~ visit the roundup to learn more about kitchen gardening.

White House Organic Garden to Feed Local School Kids

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I’ve been offline most of the week, but am catching up on the Victory Gardenersflurry in response to today’s groundbreaking by First Lady Michelle Obama of the White House organic vegetable garden. While walking that fine political line of supporting organic, local foods without offending the industrial farming complex, the Obamas have lately signaled their interest in promoting healthy food, especially for kids. During a February tour of the White House kitchen, Mrs. Obama was quoted as saying,

“And when you’re dealing with kids, for example, you want to get them to try that carrot. Well, if it tastes like a real carrot and it’s really sweet, they’re going to think that it’s a piece of candy. So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they’re fresh and local and delicious.”

Their own daughters eat local, organic, sustainable lunches at their exclusive Washington private school, while the farm-to-school effort in the District’s public schools is still in its infancy. So we’re thrilled to see today’s ceremony included local elementary school children, who will be involved in the garden from planting to harvesting. For those interested in replicating the White House garden at home, you can view the plans here. And if you were one of the thousands who signed the “Eat the View” petition to the First Family, be sure to sign the thank you petition too.

For those of us also concerned about the plight of the honeybee, Obama Foodorama reports that the White House will also maintain working beehives.

Our kudos to Mrs. Obama and all involved! (Now about that Food Safety Working Group …. )

Holiday Treats with Pamela of Red, White & Grew

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

The next foodie parent I’m pleased to feature in our holiday treats series is Pamela Price of Red, White & Grew. She writes about growing her own food and the revival of the Victory Garden, and is a proponent of the “Eat the View” campaign which is advocating for the Obama family to plant an edible garden on the White House lawn. As someone who has yet to keep a plant alive other than herbs, I enjoy reading Pamela’s blog for inspiration and hope you will too!  Pamela has a two-year-old son, known on the web as “Tater Tot,” and writes to us from Central Texas.

What was your first cooking experience?

Oh, golly. I remember sugar cookies pretty vividly. My mom collects cookie cutters, so that was always big at major holidays. I remember cutting out cookies at 3 or 4, I think.

There’s a photo in my baby book of me with apples and a pan of flour in our garage. I must have been almost a year old. There’s a black cat in the picture, too. He was my sous chef! Unfortunately, I can’t get the picture to budge from my baby book, but I did locate this later photo of me “cooking” at age two. I’m not sure if the basketball was an ingredient, a utensil or just for decoration

What is your greatest challenge in cooking for your son?

Keeping it interesting. When he was a baby–and before I started working again, every day seemed open to culinary adventure. Now I feel like I’m lucky if I can keep a running tally of his week’s worth of veggies, using colors as my guide. Have we had enough orange? Enough green? What about blue?

What is your son’s favorite dish?

For breakfast, it’s eggs with a bit of garden-fresh swiss chard. For dinner, he likes broccoli steamed with a bit of lemon juice and garlic–though I’ve neglected making that of late. Unfortunately, he inherited my sweet tooth. Ack! He loves organic raisins mixed with a few semi-sweet chocolate morsels–not too awful, I guess.

Is there any food your son just will not eat?


What is your family’s favorite holiday treat?

Classic middle-class, all-American holiday goodies: sausage balls, cheese balls, Chex Mix, sugar cookies…stuff like that. I have a secret family recipe for pound cake that my mother made me swear we’d keep in the family! I like to make mini-cakes and give them to friends.

When we lived in Louisiana, I used to make steamed shrimp (from Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge) for New Year’s Eve. I miss those shrimp (and Tony’s!).

Pamela also shares with us her blog’s official muffin recipe, which I look forward to trying with some of my freezer stash of blueberries (my son’s favorite food) and zucchini.

Red, White & GREW-berry Muffins
By Pamela Price, (reprinted by permission)

  • 1 C. sugar
  • 3/4 C. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 C. canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 C. grated zucchini
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 C. oat bran (or substitute with oatmeal pulsed in food processor)
  • 1 & 1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 C. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Instructions: Mix sugar through vanilla in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except blueberries. Mix well. Add berries. Scoop into lined muffin tins (I use a 2 T. coffee scoop). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and enjoy.

Thanks so much, Pamela, for sharing with us!
Photos by Pamela Price,, used by permission.