Gardening with Kids- The Heirloom Life Gardener Review

I am a mom who is trying to grow a garden in her small backyard because...
  • I want my children to know where food comes from. 
  • I want them to eat healthier. 
  • I want them to understand the value of hard work and the concept of patience. 
  • I want to give them the gift of having a family garden, just like my parents have done for me.
Now, I want to grow more heirlooms.
I have to admit, I don't know a ton about gardening.  My parents and their parents were gardeners.  My in-laws in Russia have some of the most amazing gardens you have ever seen.  I remember visits to the Dacha in the summer and eating the most delicious fruits and vegetables I have ever tasted.  Their alpine strawberries are out of this world.  But eating from others gardens only teaches you how delightfully tasty food can be, not when or how to plant it. 
Here is a picture of my grandfather in-law and I in Russia, summer of 1999.
 My parents garden in MN is beautiful.  The have one short growing season and try to make the best of it!  We often plan trips there specifically in August so we can help with the harvesting, eating, and canning of all the fruits and vegetables.  They make home-made salsas and sauces, jams and freeze many vegetables.  I can almost taste their tomatoes just thinking about it!

Here is a picture of my Dad and I in their garden, August 2010.

When my hubbie and I moved South, we lived in an apartment, I missed the garden and the fresh produce.  We joined a local organic CSA (Crop Share) and were members for many year.  Every week, we stopped by the Farmers Market to pick up our share of the crop.  We got to know the farmers Michael and Mariana, how they cooked, their favorite veggies and more.  It felt good feeding my family food that was grown locally, naturally, and with love.  We got whatever the farmers had in their fields. I learned how to cook with Kale, Bok Choy, Mustard Greens and more.  I also begin to get an idea about what the growing season is in the south.

So why Amanda are you telling us about your gardening background?  Well, I was given the book, "The Heirloom Life Gardener, The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally," by the team at Baker Creek Heirloom seeds to review.  I've read MANY gardening books, but this one is different. 

Two weeks ago, I placed my first order with their company.  I had been reading some serious gardening forums (very intimidating!) and several people had written about Baker Creek seeds.  I checked them out and the next day a personal friend told me how she was getting close to 100% germination rates from their seeds.  Then, I saw a post on Facebook where the company donated seeds to community gardens for refugees and I went on their site to order my first set of seeds. This is the type of company that I want to support.

Then this beautiful gardening book came for me to review.  Gardening can be overwhelming and I am just a backyard mom gardener who if not afraid to throw some seeds in a container of soil, give it some water and hope it will grow.  This family though has 176 acres and 6 enormous gardens.  I honestly was a little afraid to start reading. 

I shouldn't have been.  I felt like turning the pages of this book was like having a conversation with Jere; I, the reader, was discovering who he is as a gardener.  It is obvious that he is as passionate about seeds and gardening as I am about teaching children.  You can tell that he has found what makes him happy in life and reading his story made me smile.  It also gave me a connection to this amazing family that I just bought my seeds from.  I feel like I know the man who found these seeds, grew the plants in his garden, harvested the seeds, packaged them, and sent them to my doorstep (with lots of help from his family, friends, and co-workers, I am sure!)

Not only does this book let you "get to know your farmer," it has a fantastic section on basic gardening and a growing guide for a vast list of vegetables.  I will have to admit, I am very glad that I get to keep this copy and not give it away (Sorry, you have to go buy your own copy!) because I will be using this resource for many years to come.  In addition to the basic information on how and where to plant the vegetables, it also tells you how to save their seeds.  Which brings me back to why I was sharing my gardening history with you. 

I read this book cover to cover in one day.  It brought back all the memories I had of gardening and reminded me of why I garden.  Gardening has been a part of my family for many years.  My husband joked that he hauled dirt for his grandma's gardens, he hauled dirt for his mother's gardens and when he married an American woman, he thought he was done.  Instead he is hauling dirt for his wife's garden.  And my hope is that one day he will be hauling dirt for his daughter's garden and someday, his grandchildren's gardens too.  Reading this book made me think about ways that I could incorporate a greater variety of vegetables into my gardens.  I am inspired to grow and collect more of our own seeds, so that my children can someday start their gardens from our family seeds. Heirlooms are gifts from generation to generation and I would like to be able to give my children the gift of seeds with a history, seeds that are genetically diverse and have the power to grow into amazingly flavorful fruits and vegetables.  I am inspired to connect history and geography into our gardening lessons.  After reading this book...

I am inspired.

If you are looking for some gardening inspiration, I would encourage you to consider purchasing, "The Heirloom Life Gardener."  It even comes with a year subscription to their magazine!  I could even see this book wrapped up with some seeds for the garden lover in your life for a special occasion or birthday gift.  (Valentine's Day is just around the corner!!!)


*** I received this book courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds to review on this blog, the thoughts and opinions about this book are my own.***

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful post. I come from a rather rich gardening background myself. I will definately will have to put this book on my wish list. (as a side note we got the package in the mail today! we're just about to open it up)

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