Planting for Health & Fun with the Family

It was all play for my kids!
Planting vegetables has been on my mind lately. Particularly because better family health is a goal I want to accomplish, and also having the kids involved in the process of planting the food they will harvest and hopefully eat sounds like a lot of fun too.

Like most of Asian families, planting veggies in the backyard is a norm. Yes, even here in the Chicago’s cemented backyards. You’ll find makeshift pots (soy sauce buckets, cans, etc...) with the biggest winter melons growing in our Chinatown community. Truly amazing.

Just the other day I was talking to my girlfriend Kristen Holub; EcoActivista. She and her husband started planting and growing their own veggies on their porch. The more I think about it, it makes so much sense. Why spend the money on growing flowers this summer while you can grow your own veggies instead. That was it for me. I knew we had to do it too. We’ll eat healthier, have fun, and save some money!

Ok, I’ve never ever tried planting before so I could not even tell what color thumb I have (haha). But I did grow up with my Dad planting our own vegetables (does that matter?) like tomatoes, eggplants, bittermelons, and okras (a true "Ilocano pinakbet" plantation - for those Filipinos just like my Dad). He also had onions, cassava roots, beans, mustard greens, more Asian melons, etc…I remember hating it when my dad would make us go out and water or harvest veggies. Maybe because we were never part of the planting process so we didn't value it as much as we should've. Now, looking back…WOW! I want to do the same with my kids too. This time, they'll be involved with it from the beginning. We shall see how they react to the chores later on.

The boys really got into it
So yesterday while my 2 older boys were in school, my daughter and I spent all morning shopping for veggie plants. We even bought planters, and soil too. At the store I was quite overwhelmed. The more I think about it, I should’ve probably read online first. How much water, how much sunlight, how much space? I carefully read labels and went with my instinct. I left the store with a tomato plant, yellow peppers, Asian eggplants, and tons of herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, etc...

When we got home and after reading online, I realized I needed more pots. And so off we went again and this time with all 3 kids in tow. The kids enjoyed every minute of the planting and they are so excited to see them grow. I just hope they will be eating them too.
All done! 
Hey, maybe next year's crop will be bigger!


Gina L. said…
Sounds like fun! I may have to steal this idea. Like you, I've never planted before, but you are certainly giving me some motivation to start.
Geraldine said…
LOL.. this is one thing I never expected MJ to do.. Good for you. When its time to harvest, you will enjoy it. Don't worry if you kill any, its OK, they are just plants not human.
Good for you, MJ! That was a lot of work. Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast and watch out for frost until the end of May. If there is a frost or freeze advisory you will need to cover your plants at night. You never know in Chicago!
Linda S said…
Looks like a lot of fun! good luck with the plants.
CTmom said…
Hiya MJ!

I see you've been busy! I love reading your blog, can I maybe get you to write more often like before? Hihihi Jus hopin' dats all.
kristen said…
Great job, MJ! I'm so glad that you involved the kids and that they had so much fun! That's what it's all about. :) So glad to have inspired you. Yay!

Kristen - EcoActivista
Jade said…
Oh that sounds like a very fun family activity! I can't wait to start planting also but for me it would have to wait till I give birth.

Thanks for visiting me:)
Mommy Liz said…
I tried planting this year, but like you, I am not sure what color of thumb I have, but for sure, it's not green.

We cannot grow veggies here, there's not enough sunlight, our house is surrounded with trees and most of the plants that we have are perennials that survive in shady places. I would love to have veggies (for pakbet, yum!)
Beautiful job! I love the way the kids are involved. I never looked at it that way...intead of flowers plant what we can eat. This is our second year with a larger garden & that's only because my DH is doing it. You have enough because often it can go to waste if we do too much. Now I need to learn how to store it properly so we'll get our money worth.