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Green Thumbs & Dirty Fingernails

I’ve got dirty fingernails. I’m sorry, I know we just met. Is that too much information? But seriously, this time of year my nails seem to be in constant need of some face-time with a manicurist. But I don’t really consider it a problem; it’s more of a blessing. Because this time of year is when I play in the dirt and the mud and soil. I become a missionary for composting, and my little guy and I get outside and garden.

I’m giddy when the first signs of our seeds peek through the soil. This year’s radish sprouts did not disappoint and the peas are already poking their starts towards the heavens. Maybe you are experiencing this as well?

Green Thumbs & Dirty Fingernails

Last month I challenged you to watch Food, Inc. And whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, enthused, motivated or unaffected, the journey continues. While there are a myriad of places to start or improve on your family’s “Journey to Green” (Practically Green has to be one of my favorite websites for sustainable living!), I found the greatest impact for our family has not been cloth diapering or the change to chlorine-free recycled paper towels (I save way more money just washing dish and cleaning rags anyway), but in paying better attention to what we eat.


No, I’m not going all Barbara Kingsolver on you and asking you to live off the land for a year, though that woman’s story is dang inspiring! But it is the perfect time of year to plant something. And if you’re already in the habit of gardening, keep up the great work and share your secrets with the rest of us on how you’ve been successful.

If your garden space is limited (apartment complex, etc), consider container plants as a viable option. Herbs that you cook with often are a great place to start: at our house that would mean basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley. Anything makes a difference. Of course the web in chock full of ideas, but’s got a great tutorial to start.

Gardening is a great family activity and a wonderful opportunity for children to connect with the planet, better understand the seasons and gain an appreciation of where food actually comes from. It’s a fabulous physical activity where kids (and parents!) can get outdoors and learn patience, responsibility and teamwork. Picky eaters may even surprise you by trying out the food they’ve cultivated. I’m pretty sure our toddler ate his weight in cherry tomatoes from the vine last summer!

Imagine the freedom that comes from being ok with your child “eating dirt” because it happens to be covering a carrot, freshly plucked from the ground! Forget hiding fruits and veggies in purees. A garden is a literal treasure-trove of delights and experience waiting for you and yours to uncover…oh, and eat!

So for this month’s challenge, get DIRTY and GROW SOMETHING!

You can also check out Marie’s posts on her Square Foot Gardening successes of the past.

Plus, after some serious time of playing with the kiddos and Mother Earth, you should probably treat yourself to some spa time – might a suggest a good manicure?


  1. Carrots seem to me to be the root that teaches me the most patience! But I sure love seeing the shapes and colors that come too (we did a bunch of purple, yellows, etc, along with our orange varieties.)

    Thanks for your comment Heather. I love seeing my little guy getting dirty from mother earth as well.

  2. Last year, my kids and I enjoyed plucking our home-grown carrots from the earth. We’re doing it again this year and looking forward to seeing the unique shapes of the carrots.

    My kids are constantly covered in dirt and I wouldn’t have it any other way. : )

  3. Food Inc. is definitely an eye opening documentary. I was apalled that 90% of our meat is washed in ammonia…Yuck!

    We started a small garden this year using buckets and I’m excited to learn from this experience. I also can’t wait to eat my peppers…Yum!

    1. Connor please keep us updated. Sounds like you’re using the buckets as a container garden? I’d love to hear what works best for you guys. My garden space in limited and I keep wanting to add new things each year, so the ‘bucket’ idea may just be added to my bucket list.

  4. I love the idea of this post–to be eco-friendly by gardening. I just hope it will stop raining so I can get on the bandwagon before June!
    Last year I ended up with dozens and dozens of decorative pumpkins that sprang up where we threw our old ones to compost. We gave them out instead of treats at Halloween, and I hope to do that again this year. It was so fun!

    1. I am so jealous! I am always looking for a healthy alternative to Halloween candy. This is such a great idea… I especially love it came from compost!

  5. Another really good documentary to follow FOOD INC. is FOOD MATTERS, amazing!
    I respect and support everyone who is trying to make a difference in their families health!

  6. I watched it and it changed my life! And you have inspired me to garden. I found a community garden and am planning to contribute.

    1. This makes my heart happy. I’ve been wondering about how community gardens work (having never participated in one). Keep me posted Cic.

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