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Eat Your Greens
‘Eat Your Greens!’ The war cry shouted across tables of many family dinners.
We don’t want our children to end up living on convenience foods, snacks and chips – partly because it is bad for them, but more pressingly, because it is bad for us. If we’re honest with ourselves on the inside we’re terrified our children might become overweight, which these days is now as much a social marker as a predictor of poor health.
Kids who don’t eat their greens generally think they ‘don’t taste good’ and while we can’t change that; getting out into the garden and sowing some ‘easy greens’ with the kids can be one step forward on the journey to life long healthy eating.
There is also a second step – and that is dragging them back indoors, into the kitchen to help prepare some main meals. While baking cakes and cookies is fun and delicious, there are good life skills to be gained by learning to prepare savory dishes. During the Coronavirus crisis, ALL members of our family have been on the ‘cooking rota’ which has resulted in some excellent and creative dishes. After all, who wants to just live on pasta and tinned tomatoes all lockdown!
Mondays is now ‘Kids Cook’ night. Where our progeny will have researched a main dish to cook for the family each week and taking turns to run a kitchen – complete with a pecking order where one child is ‘Head Chef’, the other ‘Sous Chef’ who has to do what the Head Chef says (cue some very interesting styles of leadership – and insubordination!). There’s an adult ‘Kitchen CEO’ in charge of oversight and to assist with following recipe instructions (taking hot dishes out of ovens / microvalves) but is generally hands off.
I really hope our ‘Kids Cook Mondays’ survives once school goes back.
The Basics: How to grow your greens
To start with, all greens like deeply cultivated soil. On no account apply fresh, rank manure before planting. Set the seed broadcast on well-raked beds, and cover lightly with fine soil.
In some areas it will be vital to protect the seed from the birds. If the seed is sown thickly, it will be necessary to prick out the plants to a nursery as soon as they have two foliage leaves. Prick them out to 6 in. apart, and in June move them to their permanent quarters. Most gardeners sow thinly, or thin out, so as to get sturdy plants, thus avoiding the time and trouble of pricking out.
If you live near a road with a good thoroughfare, there is a good pocket money for the surplus plants in small pots. When transplanting, make the soil very firm and solid. The harder the soil the harder the hearts of the greens will be. Keep well hoed to preserve the moisture in the soil is scarce.
Great Greens to Grow
Brassicas, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Kale & Cabbages
Cress & Mustard
How to Grow Beans
Lettuce & ‘wild greens’