The tomatoes have arrived!
So, for a few weeks anyway, no more preparing snacks. I can happily send out my two little offspring to pluck away and fill their cheeks. As most gardeners who are also parents know, there is no better way to get your children to eat vegetables and fruit than to grow them yourself. Watching a two year old plucking ripe tomatoes with two hands, and stuffing them into his face until the seeds drip down his shirt is probably worth the effort.
We have had mixed luck with tomato-growing. Last year, all the leaves turned yellow and fell off, and the fruit was bland. The year before, however, some sort of magical cross pollination accident surprised us with delicious yellow candy-like tomatoes that we had most certainly not planted.
This year, my husband went all out. He put in about 12 plants of different varieties, and even looked up how to properly string them up and deal with suckers. He put all the labels in so we would know which we liked best. (Unfortunately, 2-year-olds have little regard for things like “information” and removed every tag.) The cherry tomatoes have grown like weeds, and are at least eight feet tall. Now, they are starting to ripen in buckets.
During a recent neighbourhood barbecue, I found my older son with his friend sitting in the living room surrounded by a circle of kale and parsley, happily nibbling away. Forget about the hot dogs, chips and cupcakes outside. Why were they doing this? The kale and parsley had come from Grandma’s garden. I do suspect that grocery store kale and parsley could not possibly have played a role in this strange game.
There are many things to eat in Grandma’s garden. This particular little bear cub learned to explore the berry patch last year.
So, even if you have to fight off the real wildlife to keep some produce for you and your family, it is probably worth your time. Next year, chipmunks, be ready. Our strawberry patch will not be so easily defeated.
So what is the one step to get your kids to eat healthy food? Grow your own produce. (Ok, admittedly, you’re going to have to prepare the soil, water and weed and stuff. I guess that’s more than one step, but maybe you wouldn’t have opened this link if you knew that.)