Gardening and The (Not So) Big Beet

Scholastic sent me a great book I’d love to share with you called “The Big Beet” by Lynn Ward and Adam Carruthers. It is a progressive story that communicates that if we all pull together we can achieve great things! It’s RRP is $24.99, it was published in Aug 2013 by Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia.

“The Big Beet” is bright with eye-catching artwork. It’s fun to read aloud, my kids loved it and really got entranced in the story, wondering how the beet would finally get pulled out of the garden. They really loved looking at all the little critters living below the ground with the beet. Thelma Magee fancies a burger for tea, so her husband Bert heads out to the veggie patch to pick a juicy beetroot. But no matter how hard he pulls, that beet won’t budge. He might need a hand… It’s a distinctively Aussie version of the Russian traditional tale, “The enormous Turnip.” I love the Aussie characters, especially Shazza and Dazza! You can’t get more Aussie then that!

As soon as I read this, I knew that we just had to plant some beets in our veggie garden! Unfortunately it took quite some time to arrange a trip to buy the seedlings. I’m a little scared at growing vegies from seed in the ground. I need to bite the bullet and do it. I think the last time I did, the ground was too hard, but our veggie garden at our new house has lovely soft soil. Mum arranged for some sample packs of vegetable seeds, so as soon as I weed the garden, (hopefully next week…) I will have to get planting.

Anyway, back to beetroots! Finally Miss Rachael and I went to Masters. The kids loved the twin trolleys, although they were a bit tired, and some were more grumpy then others, (as you can see below, starting from the moment we arrived!) so our trip was a bit shorter than what it could have been. We had never been to Masters before, and we had fun exploring it. The Accountant had a grumble at the money I spent, but it really wasn’t that bad. Accountant’s need to have these type of grumbles from time to time. You learn to ignore it. We still have a handful of paint chips that we are going to do some art with. The most important things was that I bought a variety of vegetable and herb seedlings and took them home to plant.

The garden is my domain. I’m not incredibly good at it, but I do like having a potter around in there. My biggest issue is sticking with it. At the moment it’s become overtaken by weeds. I discovered the programmed timer for the sprinkler, and then abandoned the garden for a few weeks when I hit a busy patch. Whoops. I think the first week of the school holidays we will spend a lot of time there. This time I will use mulch in an effort to have less weeds in the future.

It’s good to teach children about where their food comes from, so the veggie garden is a great opportunity for plenty of lessons. When we planted the beets, I made reference to “The Big Beet” story, wondered what creatures might be crawling around in the dirt, and hoped that none of those pesky rabbits would invade our gardens.

There is a possible visitor to our beets. Recently The Accountant spotted a python in our garden – a very large python. I hope I never see the old fella. I hate snakes.  Even harmless ones, after all, if it bit anyone, it would still hurt!  It was a good reminder to teach our children snake etiquette, which we do frequently, especially now that we live on a farm. I’m fairly confident that a snake wouldn’t bother us while all the kids are in the veggie garden. They are far too noisy.  I rely on the fact that snakes don’t like human contact, but even still, we’ve taught our kids to be very still if there is a snake and then walk in the opposite direction to where the snake is moving and get an adult. At least having a python lurking around will decrease the rodents in the patch. Although I’m not happy that there is something else down there eating my broccoli before it has a chance to grow.

I had meant to check how the beets were progressing, I couldn’t remember how old they should be before they were ready to be picked. It’s been about 8 weeks, so I thought that we might be able to pick at least one medium sized beet and have some burgers just like Thelma and Burt in “The Big Beet”

I needed to take the big boys to their swimming lesson, so I asked Miss Rachael to take the triplets down to the garden to pick a beet. Which she did happily and took photos of the occasion for me. (I told you the garden needs weeding. Please don’t judge me all you dedicated gardeners out there!)

I knew that Miss Rachael doesn’t have a whole heap of gardening experience, but unfortunately I forgot to tell her to check if the beets would be ready to pick if the top of the vegetable was protruding from the dirt. See the tiny little beet that Immy is holding? That was the biggest beet of all. And the triplets picked the whole lot! So unfortunately, all our beets got thrown away and unlike Thelma and Burt we did eat canned beetroot on our burgers!

So during the first week of the school holidays when I attack the garden, I’ll also plant a new crop of beetroot and wait a lot longer before we pick them this time!

In any case, we had a lot of gardening fun inspired by a great children’s book!

Do you have a vegie garden? Do you have snakes in your veggie patch? Or weeds?

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  1. I like to garden but not very good at it, it is pretty and green though. The kids are finally able to leave things to grow until they are ripe and ready to pick woot!

  2. Sounds like a great book! I love to grow a vege garden and enjoy my grandchildrens help..Nice to eat veges from your own patch 🙂

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