As I mentioned in my previous article, the kids and I recently designed the 2011 vegetable garden. They were excited to impress upon me how many different veggies they are willing to plant and try; however, they were just as quick to point out what they did not want.
What about daikon radish? No. Wait. What is it? Um, still no.
Potatoes? An immediate no from my daughter more on this a little later.
But they do get excited about numerous other crops more than enough for our small garden space.
Carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes (notice a flavor trend here?), lettuce, beans, cucumbers and squash will quickly fill out the beds. We have learned that, despite my horticultural background that forces me to buy way too many new or unique varieties every season, our garden needs to be filled with stuff that we will all enjoy.
For example, our kids ages 5 and 7 can eat as many carrots as bugs. Hence, Stone Free and Homegrown Farms are guaranteed to get a portion of my paycheck every Saturday at the Durango Farmers Market.
Their carrots like almost all of those to partake from at the market are amazing. But my goal is to keep them as supplements: only available when supplies run low at home.
Back to the potatoes. My daughter, who has a picky palette, is not a supporter of the spud. Understandable, but heres the rub: A couple hundred years ago, a French gentleman by the name of Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who for the sake of this story was most definitely an ancestor of mine, championed the potato as food fit for kings instead of its up-to-then use as animal feed.
In fact, in 1772, the Paris Faculty of Medicine (I am assuming they were important) declared that potatoes were, in fact, edible.
Unfortunately, my daughter has yet to give credibility to this institution, as she thinks they taste like the dirt from which they came. So her disdain, coupled with the fact that potatoes got me into and through graduate school, has me on a quest to one day change her mind.
But until that time, my family will work off the same premise I tell those who take a class from me: Grow what you enjoy, and enjoy what you grow. I wont make my daughter eat potatoes because I want her to enjoy all the other parts of the garden that she does like.
I also want her and her little brother to understand and enjoy everything else that comes along with gardening. The bugs, earthworms and dirt will always bring a smile.
Yet more importantly, at least I hope so as this is my first try at parenting, is to impress upon them how cool it is to watch a plant complete its life cycle; or the reason why we grow some of our own food (my son still wishes that we could grow hot-dog plants); and maybe best of all, that the garden is a place for all of us to enjoy.
Isnt that what its all about?
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.