Helena is a gardener, mom and video director living in Haarlem, The Netherlands. She has gardened on a 150m2 plot since 2012. She loves home grown fruits and veggies, baking and getting her hands dirty. Gardening is her superpower. What’s yours? You can accompany Helena on her allotment adventures via her instagram.
Am I a bad mommy if I like to eat my children? Euhm…no no no, not cannibalism. Yuk. I am a proud plant mommy. I grow all my veggies from seed, nourish them, feed them, keep them warm and comfortable. I enjoy posting photos of their growth to adulthood on Instagram. And then…yes, I eat them. It would be a shame not to really. Sometimes I even give them away (woops). Just to be fair, I keep some of the seeds of my plant children for the next growing season. Come to think about it, in all these years, I must be a grand-grand-grandmother now!
But seriously, don’t you just love to grow your own food? And, even better, to grow them from seeds? Of course, you can buy perfectly good seedlings in the garden shop, but they will not give me the satisfaction I get every time the growing season starts. First I check out the seed packages. Do you have enough? Of course! Will you buy more? Of course! Then I start with the veggies that have a long growing season like tomatoes and peppers. It takes 5 months of TLC before they can be transplanted outside. And I sow the beans that can handle a bit of frost.
I hear what you’re thinking: ‘Why do you sow them inside at all? Why not put them into the ground directly?’ Well…the second option is fine for a lot of gardeners. But with me, I always seem to lose seeds, often growing in a totally different spot then were I planted them. And, of course, they will grow quicker starting inside, which means I will have produce earlier. Some plants do not like to be transplanted and are better off in one spot, like carrots, radishes, parsnips, etc. And it takes forever before they are ready for harvest (ok, maybe not the radishes).
I sow the seeds for zucchinis and pumpkins at the end of March. They are one of the last seedlings, but they grow so fast! My house is one big green oasis at this point. And then about mid-May, everything is transported to the allotment plot. After hardening off outside, of course. The trip to adulthood must be guided carefully.
The caring continues along with worry – are they getting harassed by bullies like mice or birds? Are they getting along with their veggie neighbours? Are they giving enough love to the bees? I take away the weeds, let them enjoy the sunlight and give them some extra food when necessary. And eventually, it’s time for harvest. That makes me proud as well. He did it, this little seed, with my guidance…