Notions of a small space can greatly vary depending on your perspective, but whether you have a balcony or a small garden, there is always the potential for growing something. Sometimes I fantasize about a larger yard in order to expand my veggie beds and grow a true cut-flower garden, but to be honest, making what I have work to my heart’s content is plenty challenging every year—and bigger spaces tend to overwhelm me. When you have growing kids in tow, a tiny garden is a perfect garden!
I always find it interesting to think about the way living things grow. As humans, we control and consume what’s good for us (for the most part), and we have found endless ways to destroy that which is in our way in the name of our own betterment and growth. But if, for a minute, we disassociate ourselves from our extreme practices as humans (who are undoubtedly plundering the Earth) and we look at this from a more basic level, all living things go through a process of give and take and exert forces on other living organisms for their own survival. Even in a seemingly benign practice like gardening, we are always confronted with this reality. How do I protect the things I help grow from other living and breathing things that would otherwise destroy them?
Tomatoes are by no doubt one of my favorite things to grow in the garden. They are relatively easy to manage and an exciting home-grown snack for adults and kids alike. One of my favorite memories from last summer was watching Luci carefully inspect her little tomatoes and eat them right off the stem as soon as they’d ripened. For a two year old growing up in the city, it was one of the first hands-on experiences of learning that food doesn’t just appear on our plates but takes time and care to mature, and we can play a vital role in its creation. She was often eager to water HER plants and began to take ownership, as much as a two year old can, in the process of growing her own little snacks. It’s also worth noting that she hardly ate tomatoes when they were served on a plate with a meal, but she would eat every last red fruit straight from the stem. So if you want your kids to eat veggies, try growing them!
For years, I have thought about composting, but the task somehow seemed too overwhelming. Given the small space I have, it was always easy to put this on the back burner and just buy compost from the local garden store when needed. But, in an effort to reduce my own impact on the environment and also to be more in touch with natural processes, I recently decided to dig in to this and am happy to say it is not nearly as cumbersome as I otherwise assumed! I am no agriculture expert, but I figured by sharing my little journey and what I have learned, it might inspire you to reduce your own waste footprint in your kitchen, as well as save you money in enriching your little green friends.
One of my favorite things about gardening is being a witness to life unfolding right in front of my eyes. Of course this is a lot less consequential than growing humans, but if you have kids this can be a micro scale experiment, with a lot less consequences, but none the less of similar nature. As an architect I tend to feel similarly about my building projects at times, so perhaps this goes into saying that anything you put your heart into and watch come to life, from a seedling, to a business to an actual human is an opportunity not to just be a witness, but to grow and learn from this experience in ways that are sometimes well beyond our initial imagination.
For Nané’s First Birthday, I really wanted to bring some living flora indoors for celebration, so I decided to make floral monograms with her name. It’s a super easy and fun project that the girls actually participated in and I loved the outcome. I bought my supplies (except for the flowers) on amazon and have linked the products here, but really you can get these at almost any craft store.
Welcome to this little corner of the digital world that i have carved out for reflection and sharing. I figured I should start off with sharing a little bit about my personal journey in cyberspace to put things in perspective. If someone told me a year ago that I would be starting a blog and sharing so much of my life publicly, I would have told them they’re crazy, but here i am.