Update: How Does Our Garden Grow? #SowAndGrowUK

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about our involvement in innocent and GIY’s (Grow It Yourself) Sow And Grow campaign. Working with thousands of schools across the UK, the aim is to encourage kids to grow their own fruit and veg in the classroom so that they better understand where their food comes from. If they know more about food, then they’re more likely to enjoy fruit and veg and make better informed nutritional choices as they grow up.

As Toddler L isn’t quite ready for school, we’ve instead been sowing and growing at home. As I shared in my first post, our seed planting exploits saw us fill cups with compost, then plant cress seeds, carrot seeds and runner bean seeds. In that post, I said I’d be back with an update as to how things have gone. So, guess what. I’m back. (As an aside, try to read that last line without doing an Arnie impersonation).

As hoped, Toddler L has taken the enthusiasm she demonstrated when sowing the seeds through to planting and even harvesting. Over the last month, she has kept an eye on progress and helped to ensure their growth by keeping the soil moist. I say “moist”, but the unsteady hand of a toddler has meant that “drenched” is probably more of an accurate word.

Although she’s a little young to understand the complexities of things like why the seeds are growing, this has definitely aided her understanding and knowledge. Much in the same way that she knows milk comes from cows or eggs come from chickens, there’s a grasp of the concept that you can not only make things grow, but that you can then also eat them. At this age, I think that’s a great thing to be teaching – particularly as it’s teaching by doing.

Rather than waffle on any further – as I know you’re gagging to read about our progress – here’s a quick rundown of what’s been happening with the carrots, runner beans and cress:

Cress Progress

The good thing about cress is that it grows so bloody quickly. If I remember rightly, we had our first visible sighting just three days after putting the seeds into the soil. By contrast, it took 8.5 months for us to see Toddler L for the first time after I sowed my seed…

Anyway. The fact that cress grows so quickly makes it ideal for things like this with kids. Knowing how quickly they lose interest means that getting results quickly is pretty crucial for keeping them engaged throughout. In fact, within 2 weeks we were ready to harvest our cress and give it a try.

As Toddler L has been showing interest in cooking and baking over the last few months, I thought this would be a good chance to increase her understanding. She watches me cook a lot and actually is becoming a pretty useful commis chef. As such, this would allow her to see that she can use something she’s grown in a recipe – a kind of ‘from seed to stomach’ journey, if you will.

When you think of strong foodie partnerships, egg and cress is right up there with the best of them – arguably, they’re the Ant and Dec of lunchtime duos. As such, it’s no surprise to hear that we’ve been having a fair few egg and cress-based lunches. This has included homemade egg and cress sarnies, along with scrambled egg and cress on toast – the latter of which you can see Toddler L helping to make (and eat) below.

sow and grow update innocent #sowandgrowuk toddler cutting cress

sow and grow update innocent #sowandgrowuk toddler making scrambled egg and cress

sow and grow update innocent #sowandgrowuk toddler eating egg and cress

Runner Beans Progress

The runner bean seeds were the second thing to grow after the cress. They took just over a week to appear through the soil, but since then have shot up loads and developed numerous leaves. During this time, the two plants have grown pretty big – having just measured them especially for you lucky lot, one is at 50cm and the other is at 55cm. I know, impressive.

We’re now at the point where we’ll have to do something else with them – be it plant them in the garden or transfer to bigger pots. It’ll then be another two ish months – so three all together – that we’ll be able to harvest and eat them, maybe as part of a stir fry, salad or accompaniment to a main like this ‘posh’ cottage pie.

sow and grow update innocent #sowandgrowuk toddler holding runner bean pot

Carrots Progress

Finally, we have the carrots. These took the longest to germinate and have only really made decent progress over the last week. For a minute – well, three weeks to be precise – I’ll admit that I thought I’d killed them. Although, as Meatloaf says, two out of three ain’t bad.

We’ve got two options with the carrots. We can either harvest them as baby carrots and eat in a few weeks, or plant them in the garden to grow bigger. As we don’t have a designated veggie patch anymore, I’m leaning towards the former. Plus, let’s be honest, who doesn’t get a kick out of holding a smaller than usual item and pretending they’re a giant.

Obviously carrots can be used in a lot of things like my slow cooker chili con carne, however something that tickled my tastebuds was this carrot and mango curry from Emily at A Mummy Too.

sow and grow update innocent #sowandgrowuk toddler watering carrots

So that’s a bit of an update as to how our seed planting exploits have gone on so far. Toddler L has had fun being involved in the process and surprised me when she actively wanted to eat the cress. Hopefully that’s a good sign for the future, particularly with home-grown carrots and runner beans hitting our table in the not too distant future. Have you tried growing veg with your kids before? Let me know below!

Is your school signed up? If so, then you can upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions! Following the repackaging of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack.

N.B. This is a commissioned post in collaboration with innocent as part of my role as a #SowAndGrowUK ambassador.