So, here’s something you didn’t know about me: I don’t have green fingers, but my heart does.

It’s the classic battle between doing and knowing, really.  I love the thought of a beautiful garden, a veggie patch, a herb garden, some sweet peas filling spring with their scent, and roses to beautify the view outside my window.

In truth, however, I don’t know how to switch on a lawnmower.

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


In the last year I’ve really gotten into foraging. I love going for walks in the countryside or parks and finding and picking things that we later then eat. It’s become a love for me, but that’s because it’s easy: God grows it, I just have to pick it.

But, having Ameli – now 19 months old – has brought a change in me. I want to teach her about the edible, the healthy and the origins. I want her to know that chickens don’t come from supermarkets, and cabbages don’t grow on trees.

Picking RamsonsAnd since we’ve started foraging, I’ve rediscovered the beauty of fresh food.  I say rediscovered, because my dad use to grow vegetables and have a few  chickens and other poultry in our garden and I know that for many years we ate fresh out of our garden.

I’ve also realised that growing our own vegetables must save us some money in the long run: for example, a few weeks ago we were making cold meat pitta breads. We didn’t have any salad greens to have with it, so I picked a few Ramsons and we had a really tasty lunch. Had I gone to the shop to buy a bag of greens, I would have spent £1.60 and used just a few leaves. Knowing us, the rest of the bag would have gone off before we had a chance to use it. What a waste.

So, we move in to our new house in three weeks, and there’s a small garden. I intend to plant a herb garden, and a few staple vegetables – courgettes, spring onions, and a few of the  other things that we like to eat but tend to throw a lot away when buying in bulk.  And I’ve not waited till we move either: I’ve bought a few herb pots and so far have basil, courgettes, coriander, spring onions, thyme and  a mixed salad pot growing on the window sill, ready for transplanting – I have no idea how, but will learn.

Every day, Ameli and I look at each of our herb pots and we ‘discus’ what has grown and how much and how it looks different to the day before. And it makes me feel happy. It makes me feel wholesome. It’s ambitious, for me, who can kill a cactus, but I am trying.

I guess that’s why I loved the title of this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting – Growing in the Outdoors – because Ameli is growing, the plants are growing  and as always, I am too.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

  • Get Out! — Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn’t think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? — The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family’s simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don’t like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to Nature — Mamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer’s Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer’s Market has become her son’s classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment‘s hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature’s Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter’s blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it’s a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children’s generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family’s food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don’t have a garden? “You can still grow food!” says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she’s doing.
  • Moments — UK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer’s Market — Naturally Nena shares why she believes it’s important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn’t Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it’s never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse “bean teepee” and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin’ (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.


Growing In The Outdoors: Plants And People

  1. I think your foraging is fascinating. I’ll have to learn more about what’s available around here. When I was a kid, I knew quite a few safe plants in my neighborhood but somehow hadn’t carried that forward.

    I’m so glad Kyra’s already enjoying your gardening spirit, and I wish you the best with your new space. I have the same problem with throwing away produce that’s gone bad, so it is so much nicer to pick what you need just for that day or that meal.

  2. We’re in exactly the same position – green hearts, new gardens but no knowledge! I think starting small is definitely the way to go, growing the basics and working up. We’ll get there, I’m sure of it. I love foraging for food too so just about to go and read your previous foraging posts…

  3. I love it! The desire is there, and that is more important than the knowledge. The knowledge will come. We’re learning too, and it’s surprising how many things can grow despite my ignorance. Happy eating!

  4. I think you have to have a green heart before you can have a green thumb, so you are on your way! I love how you and Kyra notice every day how the plants are growing. Attention is a key ingredient in gardening!

    Good luck at your new adventure, and I can’t wait to see an update as your herbs and veggies continue to grow!

  5. Oh how I can empathize with your first statement – your thumbs aren’t green, but your heart is. So true!! We’ve now done a home garden for three years with very mixed success. I wish I had a gardening mentor – I don’t even know what I’m doing wrong, but my garden never produces the beautiful bounty that I envision each spring. Ah well – practice makes perfect, yes? Hopefully our little ones will not have the same frustrations 🙂

  6. I was just reading a few of your posts on foraging – fascinating! I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about how I might be able to do that here.

    As far as not having green fingers – I am so with you – I have been known to kill a cactus more than once in my life! My fingers are twisted around themselves in hopes that my little veggie garden will work this year lol – I hope both of us have good luck in that area!

    Thanks for the wonderful post 😀

  7. I love our herb garden, it was the first thing I planted when we moved here to the Pink House a year ago. And totally agree with the magic that a few home grown greens add to a salad or pitta or sandwich.

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