Fall Garden Ideas for Mom

2 min read

When we talk about mom-friendly anything (recipes, make-up, diet plans, you name it), what are we actually saying? 

  • Easy as pie
  • Can do it while carrying a small child
  • Requires minimal effort and produces immediate results

And it doesn't hurt if it's something that can 

  •  save money or a trip to the store
  •  can even save a busy mom from having to think up ways to fill those long hours when the kids are restless and in need of some sort of distraction.

Well, many things in my life are mom-friendly just because they have to be! What about you?

One-pot meals I can cook one-handed (and even while breastfeeding, as dangerous and crazy as it sounds)?Check

Reducing my make-up routine to 35 seconds while I deftly keep the foundation tube out of my baby's grabbing hands? Check

Eating a bite or two of whatever meal my kids won't finish while standing, walking or running after said kids? Check

Though that last one is certainly not something I'd call a diet plan. And actually, all of these things kind of suck. It's just what I've gotten used to. When you have small kids you have to change the way you do things. And that's okay, for now. Things change so fast that before I know it, we'll all be sitting at the big table eating nicely and conversing politely (I hope..).

But in the meantime, there are many things that qualify as mom-friendly and definitely don't suck. 

One of them is MY GARDEN, though it must be said that I am not the main gardener in our family, having neither skills nor time. But anyway, the parts I enjoy the most are the ones that require the least upkeep and effort and that can't be a coincidence. This time of year we get to reap the rewards of all that not-very-hard work.

I'm talking about things that are really easy to grow and can handle some severe neglect, even abuse at the hands of small children who like to "garden" by breaking stems, pulling plants out by their roots and then even shovelling some delicious mouthfuls of soil into their unsupervised jaws. IT HAPPENS (Don’t judge).

If you want a "mom-friendly" and maybe even "kid-friendly" fall garden, you have to start in the spring.

Plant some sunflower seeds (not the kind you can eat, though. Those won't grow. But my kids did plant a whole bunch of sunflower seeds we bought as bird feed one winter and surprisingly, a lot of them turned into huge flowers) in a row somewhere by a fence.

They can be pretty close together and will then make a kind of wall of their own, or you can space them apart by a hand's width or two.

You can plant some pumpkin seeds anywhere you have some extra room (pumpkins and squash grow on vines, so they need somewhere to roam).

The secret is to make a kind of mound in the ground, then plant about three seeds in a hole in the top and then pat it all down so it looks like a not-very-steep volcano with a wide crater at the top. And pumpkins need a lot of water (and like hot weather and sunshine), so when you do water, the little crater will keep the water in the right place.

Another thing I really love in my garden is New Zealand spinach.

It tastes just like regular spinach, but the leaves grow on a kind of long stalk. My kids love to help me pick it too, which makes it easier to actually use, and who doesn't love cooking stuff from their own garden? We usually pick as many stalks as we can carry, park somewhere on the grass and then snip off the leaves into a bucket. This is for kids who can use scissors, obviously.

You can also just tear them off. Then, fill the bucket with water and swish the leaves around (empty it and do it again a few times), and then lay all the leaves out to dry on a towel. Once they're dry you can keep them in the fridge (if you do it with some paper towels lining the container, that usually absorbs extra moisture and makes it last longer) for a week or two.

New Zealand spinach is better cooked, though the younger leaves can be good in salad, too. Here it grows like a weed and is currently threatening to annex the whole south-eastern section of our backyard. But that's good, because again, mom-friendly and requires no extra work on my part. The other good thing is that there aren't any bugs that eat it over here (as opposed to New Zealand, I imagine), so I definitely don't have to worry about having bug-eaten spinach leaves (we don't spray anything, so even if there were bugs we wouldn't spray them).

For me, mom-friendly has a lot to do with saving time so I can do other things. And what saves more time than growing your own food? All I need now is someone to cook it for me!

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