In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza
Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden
focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely
interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what
it will end up in, in a prepared dish.
Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some
vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.
For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”
In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot
red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,
corn, watermelons and pumpkins.
Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow
peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in
boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in
large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the
I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this
or if it is really the correct label.
There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this
process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and
put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping
the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,
cool them and pack in freezer bags.
I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on
the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items
too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.
For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,
and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,
in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.
When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.
If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the
lower salt ones available.
If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with
your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet
with the appropriate amount of hot water.
The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t
get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)
I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes
or ground turkey.
If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other
On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link
which will help you out.
Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and
other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft
shell taco or tortilla.
I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have
canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.
Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.
I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa
to add for extra spices.
You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to
This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!
Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily
done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!
This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community
Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,
“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013
edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”
Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware
gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part
The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer
and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.
They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised
An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted
step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some
purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are
such a lovely sight!
Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer
useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,
painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in
the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”
Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,
last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since
you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the
following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.
I have added updates throughout this post about children’s
input in gardening.
I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their
parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids
were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be
ones they would like to grow in their garden.
My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some
lines under the area their drawings would go.
I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be
to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and
allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.
The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help
me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,
age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable
garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like
me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on
the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of
colors and designs.
I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,
I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,
She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage
and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:
**Note: Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!
Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,
“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”
I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior
tone she said,
“Daddy will know what kind!”
Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and
elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with
spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.
Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed
the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her
Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My
older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out
of last year’s garden were:
Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.
They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since
their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,
“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her
Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced
a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!
Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!
(One for each member of the family, parents included.)
“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”
Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!
I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,
“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”
Abrazos y besos.