Family Fun: Inside our Mommy & Me Toddler Garden
Let me just start by saying that I have no doubt at all that the only reason we still have a garden that is alive and well nearly six weeks in is that Riley is in complete control of the process…thank God. After we averted a near disaster in the first few days after planting (see below), I figured that it was best for me to take a step back and let her and her cute little green thumb lead the way.
We began our adventure with scouting trips to Lowe’s, Home Depot and our local hardware store (Strosniders) to get a sense of what each store had to offer before we made any purchases. Of the three stores we visited, Lowe’s had the best selection based on what we were looking for; Home Depot had the cutest quote about kids and gardening (see below) and Strosniders had the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff, hands down.
Since we’re working with a balcony garden, we opted to go with four colorful plastic planters in two sizes for the flowers and a wrought iron railing planter for the herbs.
I had no trouble finding stylish gardening gloves for myself, but it took me a while to find a pair that was reasonably close to Riley’s size. I ended up finding a really cute “Hello Kitty” set in Target that with a hat and watering can to match and an adorable little Adirondack chair too (a few pics down). Her shovel and rake came with a bag that I bought from AC Moore that was perfect for her. I took this photo of her doing a dress rehearsal at my parents' house before our big day:
After doing some Googling to find out what types of flowers are the easiest and most fun to grow with children, I decided to start with sunflowers since they grow really fast (and high!) and also because Riley’s favorite color is “yeh-yow.” I chose basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage and thyme for our herb garden since they're all yummy staples in BambinWare kitchen. All of the herbs are organic and we planted everything in organic potting soil.
Even though we had absolutely no clue what we were doing (seriously, none whatsoever!), at least we looked really cute trying to figure it all out!
After we finished for the day, we took a trip to the beautiful Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD so that Riley could get a sense of what to look forward to (maybe?). That night, we also started reading library books that showed her each stage of the growth process in toddler-friendly words and pictures.
On the 4th day after planting, we had to do some reorganizing after a major storm; and apparently, someone forgot to poke holes in the bottom of the planters for drainage. #mommybrain. Here's a look at what our soil soup looked like before we re-potted everything...
After the re-org, I let Riley take over the process. Every morning, she puts her hat on, gathers the watering cans and puts me to work filling them up. Once we get outside, she's completely in charge. I just sit back, relax with my morning tea and marvel at how much the garden has grown; how much it's grown to mean to her; and how much she's grown in the process. Amazing.
Here's a recap of the first four weeks...
Week 1: She takes her job very seriously!
Week 2: We had visitors!
Week 3: They're growing fast!
Week 4: We added a few new (already in full bloom) additions!
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant