Gardening with Kids: August 2018 edition

How are we already in the peak heat of Summer? In just weeks, our little man will arrive which is a good thing since this big ol' belly is having a hard time bending over to do much in the garden anymore. We have enjoyed what harvest we have gotten though this summer, are learning from what harvest we didn't yield (yet expected we would), and excited to plan for what's to come for each of the garden beds as we move from Summer to Fall.

Areas of Growth in the Garden

Garden Yields Update

Total seasonal yield to date: 
82 baby tomatoes
7 cucumbers
14 bell peppers
35 beans
7 yellow squash
4 zucchini

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New Feeding Wins or Progress via Food Play

What a great month to be sharing more on tomatoes, considering my youngest decided she has learned to like them this past month!

Admittedly, homegrown tomatoes are worlds better than those you buy from the store, but even still - last summer she would bite into them, feel them burst, then spit them out while this summer, she has started to pop them in her mouth and gobble them up!

Some days, she still decides she doesn't want them and skips them when offered or spits them out when served as part of our meal. More often then not though, she helps me "find the red ones" in the garden, eating them as we go, and then willingly initiates eating them when I put some of them on her plate.

I hope we can keep this momentum as our homegrown tomato supply dies off to the summer eat (and pesky squirrels!) and we go back to buying them at the store in the off-season!

Veggie of the Month: Tomatoes

I am honored to be a monthly contributor to Veggie Buds Club. Intended for children ages 3-6, Veggie Buds Club offers activities that empower kids to Learn + Cook + Play + Create + Grow with a monthly vegetable. Through fun, pressure-free ideas, Veggie Buds Club helps expose your child to a variety of vegetables in age-appropriate and engaging ways.

If you are interested in checking out Veggie Buds Club for your family (or to gift a friend!), I encourage you to hop on over today! Monthly registration closes at midnight on the first of the month, so be sure to sign up so you get this month's box - complete with a tip sheet featuring the advice I share below!

Images from past month's Veggie Buds Club.

Tips shared in this month’s Veggie Buds Club:

There are many kids who are obsessed with ketchup and will use it as a dip for nearly anything. Majority of kids will also chow down on pizza or maybe even spaghetti without any wonder of what the red sauce is made of. Offering a fresh, raw tomato to a child rarely goes over as easily as the above options however.

That's why for this month's tip, I encourage you to expose your child to tomatoes in their many forms and see which ways they might be most interested in trying them. For each, consider talking through with them if they "love," "like," or are "still learning to like" each type of tomato product. You could even draw a scoring guide out on a simple sheet of paper with a happy face, neutral face, and frowning face, or a green circle, a yellow circle, and a red circle for the foods they love, like, and are still learning, respectively. This will give you as the parent a starting place for introducing new foods and the potential for food chaining based on what tomato products your child loves, likes, or is still learning. Making this an engaging "taste test" activity over the course of the month also allows you to continue to bring all these options back to the tomato/veggie of the month itself (which kids may be more receptive to than if you were to just randomly offer any of the following):

  • Ketchup
  • Pizza sauce (on pizza)
  • Marinara sauce (as a dipper, for items like the zucchini dippers from last month!)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Make your own spaghetti sauce and let them help squeeze the whole tomatoes!
  • Salsa
  • Make your own pico de gallo and let them use a kid-safe knife to help cut the tomatoes!
  • Quarter cherry tomatoes to eat raw or in a pasta salad
  • Halve cherry tomatoes with marinated mozzarella balls
  • Skewer cherry tomatoes on kabob sticks for a BLT on a stick
  • Serve beef steak tomato slices with sliced mozzarella and/or olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper
  • Sliced tomatoes (to eat plain with eggs or add to sandwiches, burgers, on top of pizza, etc.)
  • Roast cherry tomatoes or thick slices of tomatoes

What other ways could you offer tomatoes to your kiddos this summer?

Remember to check out Veggie Buds Club before 12/midnight on the first of every month if you aren't already a subscriber. Then you can still order this month's box and veggie in time to participate!

Want More Actionable Ideas on How to Turn Your Veggie Averse Kid Into A Gardener?

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