I Grew This!

Written by : Posted on April 25, 2017 : Comments Off on I Grew This!

I Grew This!

Welcome to the first installment of the “I Grew This” Beanstalk Seeds blog!

My name is Rob Shoffner and I’m the Media Coordinator / Website Manager for Beanstalk Seeds and Kansas City Community Gardens. This blog will document my successes and failures at growing a children’s garden with my 6 year-old son, Eli (pictured above).

I’ve been working for Beanstalk Seeds & KCCG for a little over a year and I consider myself a casual gardener. In the past, I’ve been able to grow potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and radishes with moderate success. Now, after a year under my belt working with professional gardeners, I decided to use Beanstalk Seeds this spring to create a children’s garden with my son to hopefully teach him how to grow his own garden.

What Are Beanstalk Seeds?

With so many indoor distractions like video games and mobile devices, it’s a challenge for parents to get kids to play outside. And I’m not innocent when it comes to putting my son in front of a screen. His favorite show, Paw Patrol on Nick Jr., is a quick and easy babysitter for 22 minutes when I need to get something done. But I’m hoping to find better balance between tv and the outdoors.

KCCG launched Beanstalk Seeds a year ago with the intent to encourage parents like myself to grow gardens with their kids. They can teach them a valuable skill in growing their own food while getting them outdoors at the same time.

Our Garden

Three years ago, my wife and I moved to Overland Park, Kansas and bought a half-acre plot with a great space for a garden with direct sunlight.

Although it’s recommended to add compost or fertilizer to the soil, I decided to just use the existing soil to see how well the seeds will grow for this year’s garden. When this garden is done for the year, I’ll add compost and fertilizer to the soil and compare this year’s garden with next year’s garden to see how much difference it makes.

It is also recommended to build raised beds for gardens but again, I decided to hold off on that this year and just plant straight into the ground. I’ll build raised beds for next year’s garden and will again compare the differences.

For this year’s garden, I’m using one of our “Jack’s Magical Seed Bags” called “Plant A Rainbow”, which includes Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Easter Egg Radishes, Rainbow Blend Carrots, Dragon Tongue Bush Beans, Red & Golden Blend Beets, Benary’s Giant Zinnias, Whirlybird Mix Nasturtium, and Autumn Beauty Sunflowers.

We put together this selection of seeds because of all the vibrant colors displayed in each variety with hopes to capture the imagination of kids.

I’m also planting cucumber, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lettuce, and strawberries which I will also cover in my articles with tips and lessons learned.

Today’s Challenges

I grew up in the 80s before iPads and the internet and kids in those days really had no choice but to spend most days playing outside. I have a lot of fond memories of those days and I’d like to see my son have a similar memories instead of spending most of his time in front of a screen, which doesn’t provide any real experiences or memories.

The real challenge will be to make my son WANT to go outside. So far, he has shown interest in gardening so hopefully I can maintain and maybe even boost that interest as the garden grows. Even if I don’t grow a plentiful bounty of fruits and veggies, I will still consider this a success if I can keep my son’s interest from day one until we harvest.

Wish me luck and stay tuned…


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