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March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid

When I was a little girl, I grew up (just like most other kids) on my fair share of Kraft Mac and Cheese and Chef Boyardee. I also spent a lot of time at my Grandmother’s house. My grandparents didn’t exactly live in the country, but they had enough land for a (to my young eyes) sea of lilac bushes, a towering Weeping Willow and a huge garden.

The garden was my Grandmother’s domain and she grew all sorts of wonderful things. I remember as if it were yesterday the dinner table groaning with a bounty of fresh corn, swiss chard, cabbage, squash and beans. I loved to watch her weed and work with the earth- she knew EVERYTHING about plants and flowers. When we wanted a snack I would pick the reddest, ripest tomatoes I could find and we would sprinkle them with salt and eat them like apples, still warm from the sun.

One weekend I could take it no longer…. I begged her to let me have a garden of my own. She warned me that a proper garden was hard work, but I whined and complained until she let me have my way. My grandpa tilled a patch of earth for me near the driveway. Their house was right on the marsh and my little plot of earth was backed with high grasses and heather. It looked magickal, empty and waiting for me to fill it with lovely growing things.

I got right in there and started planting seeds. I had no idea what needed sun or shade. I didn’t know anything about what should be planted where or how deep. I just put my seeds in wherever I happened to be sitting at the time. When I tended my young plants I was likely to yank out the sprouting seeds along with the weeds. I’m sure my grandmother was highly amused by the whole process. But I didn’t care if anything actually grew. I was enjoying myself!

I loved digging in the earth, and I had a grand old time planting seeds and digging out rocks. But then I began to notice something. This earth wasn’t always clean and brown and beautiful. Instead of stones and pebbles I started finding tin cans, broken combs, and bottles. It was gross and fascinating. I turned up at the back door with the weirdest things. My grandpa said that the people who lived there before us must have used that part of the yard to bury their garbage. He then explained to me that some things take a really long time to decompose. I started thinking about all the trash we put out every week, and how long it would take for that stuff to break down in a landfill.


After that experience I was very careful with what went into our trash bags. I made lists of things that were recyclable and I would get upset if my mother didn’t put something in the proper bin. I worried about every bag of garbage that left our house- and I’m still the same way. I try to put out as little for the garbage truck as I can. Our blue recycle bins are always filled. I post our unwanted but usable things up on freecycle, and I try to find things we need there too before we buy new.

We use cloth diapers, wipes, grocery bags, napkins and kitchen towels, and I’ve saved and reused all my children’s clothing and toys. I compost everything that is compostable. We use glass instead of plastic bottles and containers- and we even have our milk delivered in glass bottles that are reused. We drink tap water instead of bottled- although I am looking to buy a filter system for our water.

I have a garden now- and I confess that I’m not the best gardener ever. But it fills my greenish brown thumb and greener heart with joy each time I see one of my children hunting for the nicest looking tomato and then eating the sun-warmed fruit fresh off the vine.

Nature’s candy.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Code Name: Mama and Hobo MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.

(This list will be updated March 9 with all the carnival links.)

16 Responses to March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid

  1. I remember when I was in elementary school and everyone in the class planted something and kept them in class under lights while they sprouted. Mine was tomatoes and when I brought them home my mom planted them in the front yard, one on either side of the front porch. When my parents moved, my mom dug up the tomatoes and brought them with us. We still eat tomatoes from those plants nearly two decades later. One of my favorite things in summer is eating tomatoes still warm from the sun.

  2. Claire- I love that you have kept your plants going for twenty years. That is pretty awesome. My grandmother has a spider plant that was my dad’s- it is a huge monster now (he died in 1982).

  3. I have this fantasy of growing my own vegetables but currently do not have the space for one. I also wish i had a green thumb and less of a fear of worms. I might conquer these barriers with some form of an indoor garden. Hmmm, there’s another project to ponder.
    .-= NavelgazingBajan´s last blog ..Green or Die! =-.

    • I’m not a fan of bugs- that part was hard to get past! My kids however LOVE the wormy parts of gardening! Its amazing what you can do with just a few feet of space…

      My first garden was about six feet by four feet, but produced a ton of veg!

    • Dionna- I agree!

      I try to support my kids in whatever hobbies or interests they find! It is so important!

      My grandma is awesome for always helping me find ways to do what I want to do.


  4. First off – holy cow! Your daughter looks just like you, and ya’ll are both ADORABLE!

    As for the gardening, I’m jealous. It looks awesome, and I’m sure it tastes even better. There’s nothing in the world like fresh picked food, especially if you grow it yourself. I grew a watermelon once when I was a kid, and I was so bummed when it cracked halfway through growing. Great post – I tweeted it!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Natural Parenting Carnival – Green Living =-.

  5. I’m glad you were able to start gardening so early, even if you weren’t an instant master of the art! I also was always bugging my parents to let me garden or start a compost pile or whatever it was, and they would patiently go along with it, even when I failed miserably because, for instance, I planted vegetables underneath a forest of shading evergreens. Hmmm… Gardening definitely doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s so much fun to try!
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last blog ..March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green =-.

  6. More power to you! I’m a terrible gardener, in fact I’ve been nicknamed ‘plant killer’ by several people. But I think I’m at least going to give a little herb garden and some tomatoes a try this year. It’s worth it.
    .-= the Grumbles´s last blog ..six months old! =-.

  7. Nothing beats fresh picked tomatoes in the middle of summer, or digging in and smelling the soil as you weed. My son loved it just as much as I did last year, and I can’t wait for the small garden we’ll have this year!

  8. Love the pictures! My grandparents also gardened huge crops and canned miles of shelves of food. I was always so reluctant to help and learn from them and now I want more than anything to grow my own food. Alas my grandmother can’t even remember her own name now (Alzheimer’s) and I missed out on such an important opportunity!
    .-= Paige´s last blog ..Ending Is Better Than Mending? =-.

  9. Fresh picked tomatoes with salt was also my favorite summer snack as a child. In fact, even now I can only eat a uncooked tomatoes out of a garden. The ones from supermarkets don’t have the same taste at all. As soon as we had room for a garden, I began to get to work. Vegetables, herbs, edible flowers. You feel such a direct connection to the earth when you are planting and picking and weeding. Spending late afternoons hard at work, I recalled all of the faeries I’d seen as a child nestled in amongst the plants. It is really a magical experience even when you don’t know what you’re doing which is usually the case with me. Every kitchen witch needs at least a small space to grow her potions, lotions and remedies.
    .-= michelle´s last blog ..mourning =-.

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