I count a garden resident a success if it can suck the kids in and keep their interest. In our garden, the potatoes are king.
You wouldn't think it, since they grow underground, so are invisible to the ultimate "out of sight, out of mind" demographic, but these have been the favorite vegetable to check progress on throughout the summer. The fact that they have lovely flowers didn't hurt with my girls.
I sacrificed about one plant every week so that Hannah could check the size and renew her confidence that Mother may actually know what she's talking about.
When we started getting potatoes big enough to do stuff in the kitchen with, I had to fend off requests to get more potatoes almost every night. I gave in most of the time. I'd rather keep her excitement about gardening alive and buy potatoes this winter than kill her desire to be involved. So at least three times a week, you'd see us heading down the driveway, Ainsley with the bucket, Hannah with the shovel, Chinde with the kind of optimistic hope that only a labrador can have that maybe *this* time we're digging up a bone for her.
So, notes for next year. PLANT MORE POTATOES. And different varieties. Fingerlings and blues to go with the reds and yellows. Even if Hannah has no interest next year, her sister more than likely will be much more aware, and probably will be interested in more than how many ladybugs she can catch. Not that that's not a worthy interest. In fact, notes for next year - introduce more ladybugs to the garden. They not only control the aphid population, they attract beneficials, like toddlers, to the garden. Notes for this year, stop tearing up every time you say 'toddler' because you realize that your little redhead is more 'girl' than 'toddler' now. Stop it. That's not dignified. *sniff*
With all of the freezes we've been having, our potato plants are almost completely dead on top and we'll be digging the rest of them up soon. Hannah wants to throw a potato themed party. I wish I were kidding. I'm an Oklahoma girl at heart - I don't understand these Idaho kids.
Here's our bounty for one evening's dinner - complete with the obligatory two carrots.
Life is good.