We deliberated for weeks. Should we clear out some plants that we didn’t love and do some of our own gardening? Every plant I’ve tried to keep alive in our house has died, except for a very small cactus that I water maybe once a month (actually, my 4-year-old son is the one who remembers to water it). I was worried the task would be too overwhelming, and that our garden wouldn’t look good.

We decided to try it, mostly because my son had been learning a lot about plants and gardening in school and he seemed genuinely interested in helping us cultivate our own garden. He gave me some very good advice– “Mommy, we just have to water it every day.” That was his only advice… and I’d say that’s been the most important part of keeping up with our gardens! Children really get it sometimes.

We set aside a weekend to do our planting. Everything took longer than we thought it would. We went to a local nursery with our 1-year-old and 4-year-old, and after spending an hour there and not making one decision, we brought our fussy kids home for lunch and naps. I went back out solo, this time to Home Depot because it was so much less expensive than the local spot. I almost fled from the large, crowded parking-lot-turned-nursery several times because I found the task of picking out shrubs, perennials and annuals from endless choices extremely overwhelming. Returning home empty-handed was not an option, so after reminding myself that this was supposed to be fun, and that all these people in this overcrowded Home Depot lot must actually like to garden, I picked out a few things and loaded up the trunk.

This post should really be titled “ZachEllaDad” because my husband did basically all the work– digging holes for shrubs and perennials, building a box for the garden, dumping heavy bags of soil– he pretty much did everything. I directed and supervised. The kids mostly hung out and played in the dirt and with our outdoor toys. It actually wound up being a really enjoyable few days outside creating our garden.

Building the box for the vegetable garden with Daddy.

Building the box for the vegetable garden with Daddy.

This is what the kids did most of the time.

This is what the kids did most of the time.

Zach's favorite part of gardening was definitely the tools.

Zach’s favorite part of gardening was definitely the tools.

Keeping up with it has been relatively easy. My son and I usually water it while my daughter takes her afternoon nap. The “10-minute” aspect of this post relates to the daily maintenance of the garden (and not the planting, which took about 10×100 minutes : ). I’ve done a little bit of “weeding” and “deadheading” for the first time in my life. Zach’s been picking the cherry tomatoes as they turn red. Ella’s been talking to the plants and learning to be “gentle” and not pick leaves and petals and green tomatoes.

Picking some tomatoes and oregano.

Picking some tomatoes and oregano.

Checking the tomatoes.

Checking the tomatoes.

Now I understand why the Home Depot lot was so crowded that day. Gardening has been really enjoyable–rewarding, relaxing, and centering for all of us. We got to spend time together as a family, enjoy the weather, appreciate nature, see our plants grow and eat some of what we planted. I’m grateful that I didn’t let my anxiety about doing something I’ve never done before prevent us from gardening. There is an open space next to the vegetable garden, and next year we plan to fill it with something. I can say with certainty that I will be looking forward to our gardening weekend next spring.  We grew some beautiful plants and flowers, and created something else beautiful too.

Zach watering the garden.

Zach watering the garden.

 

Caught some morning sunshine while watering the garden.

Caught some morning sunshine while watering the garden.

Declaring victory. The tomato plants were by far our biggest success, which was awesome because my children both LOVE tomatoes!

Declaring victory. The tomato plants were by far our biggest success, which was awesome because my children both LOVE tomatoes!

I’d been planning to put our gardening pictures and story into a post to share with family and friends, but it didn’t move to the top of my priority list until recently. I was thrilled to see this week’s beauty detox blogger assignment! Here is the link: http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2014/08/13/new-beauty-detox-blogger-assignment-pics-didnt-happen/