Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This Year's Garden, and Thoughts About Baby Food

Our garden failed last year, in Nick's words.  But I beg to differ.  We did end up with about twenty butternut squash and.....well, ok, it failed other than that (although check out the handful of delicious butternut squash recipes I came up with on the right side of my blog, who knew butternut squash was so versatile?!).  Nick is pretty sure he disrupted the whole nitrogen balance when he bought an electirc tiller and tilled the crap out of the soil before planting.  This year he did a little less tilling and a lot more research online.  But this garden still seems to be giving him a lot of stress (he's constantly going to the kitchen to open the blinds and look outside to make sure the plants are "ok" and growing).

The view from our kitchen.  A few weeks ago it actually got so cold we had to cover the plants to protect them from the frost!

Ready for the great "BlogSpot" font change?  Yes, I can't control it, sorry, I'm not sure why it does this....

I bought some rosemary and mint at the store, and we planted it right away (rosemary and mint in summer salads? Yes, please).  Pretty soon we'll be planting basil, which is actually my favorite summer herb.   The garden has been ready for a few weeks now and pretty soon it will be taken over by delicious plants, and you better believe I have some serious recipes in mind for this year (come on, you know you're excited, right?!)  That is, if the rabbits and bugs don't eat them (this is Nick's constant fear).  

It's ready!!  The only issue?  We found a huge bees nest in this area last night.....

Here is what we are growing this year;

In addition to these we are growing broccoli and bell peppers.  Nick is taking this very seriously.

At first we talked about growing some food that may be good to cook, puree, and freeze for baby food (since we plan on having a baby one of these days...maybe sooner than later?  We'll see what mother nature has in mind) but when I posted on my facebook page (The Candid RD) a question about making baby food, someone responded with this link about something called Baby Led Weaning.  The concept, in short, is that you don't use pureed baby food to feed your infant but instead you sort of let your baby start eating whole foods, with their hands, while you're close by watching and encouraging.  Boy do I have a lot to learn!  I'd never heard of this concept, but I think I like it.  Then there was this recent article about parents feeding their babies solids too soon.    I'm starting to realize just how much there is to learn about....babies, but I'm excited to learn more about the food aspect because as a dietitian I need to know the latest and greatest evidence-based ways to feed and nourish a baby and child (I'm starting to see more and more mothers and pregnant women for personal consultations).  I can actually still remember feeding my little brother when I was 13 years old.  I'll never forget the look on his face when he took his first bite of solid food, it was classic and I wish I had the photos to share!

And here is another topic to consider; Organics.   This article was interesting; Is organic baby food really worth the extra price?  Is it really necessary?  The article explains that there really aren't any difinitive answers, and the current evidence says it's not really necessary, nor worth the premium price.  What are your thoughts?  I'm on the fence.  I can still remember reading this article from today's dietitian a few years ago, and it's stuck in my head.  Since then I haven't read about the issue much, and I haven't been buying organic unless it's from the "dirty dozen" list.  My focus has always primarily been on feeding both myself and Nick nutritious foods, then I think about organics, GMOs, pesticides, etc.  But now that I'm thinking about getting pregnant...things have changed a bit.  Yes, we still have a budget, and yes, I'm still not a hardcore organic believer, but I am also not 100% convinced that future research isn't going to support the use of organic foods for pregnant women and young children.  Anyway, more on my lifestyle changes and pregnancy preparations later (I've got a lot to discuss and can't wait to hear your thoughts), for now, let's get this garden going!

QUESTION:  What are your thoughts on organic foods for baby? Have you ever tried baby-led weaning??

Nick has added a fence to block the rabbits from eating our bounty. I hope it works! It also blocks the garden in the back.

QUESTION: What's in your garden this year?  If the answer is nothing, what are you most looking forward to finding in your supermarket that is local and fresh? For me it's zucchini, corn, and eggplant!

Thanks for reading.

The Candid Rd


  1. Even though we're not starting a family for another year or two (I hope!), I've been obsessively reading everything I can about feeding babies and toddlers (this has only become more obsessive since I began consulting for Head Start). So your post is just perfect! There's some resources and articles I haven't read before. I do know that once we start trying, everyone (including Peter) will drink organic milk (which he doesn't know yet - ha! ;) ).

    Crossing my fingers that this year's garden turns out to be more prolific for you! Nick seems very paternal toward the garden ;)

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Gina!

    1. Really?? When you are trying for a baby Peter will have to switch to organic milk? Why is that?? Have you read something I'm not aware of?? I'd love to hear more about this! Does it make a difference? I'm excited for you both!!

  2. I'm interested to hear what you learn and your feelings on baby-led weaning. As a future RD & future mom(just getting my BS in nutrition this week!), I would love to hear another RD's viewpoints on the pros/cons! It sounds pretty great to me. But I've never heard about it in any of my classes, and all of my education about it has been from various blogs and the baby-led weaning site.

    As for organics, I am probably what you would consider a "hard core" organics person. Nutritionally, I've heard that it's not different from conventional, but I think of the pesticide exposure a lot. What would all of those pesticides do as they build up in our bodies and then to a growing fetus? Small exposure may not be unsafe, but we eat things that are doused with pesticides at every single meal, if we're not avoiding them. I also understand that many people cannot afford organic foods, so I encourage them to look for the dirty dozen/clean 15, and eat more legumes in place of meat.
    Wow, this turned out a lot longer than I meant it to! But thank you for your blog, and I appreciate you writing about your thoughts and experiences!

    1. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I hadn't heard of the "Baby Led Weaning" concept either, before posting about it on my FB page. We definitely didn't learn about it in school, but we didn't really talk a lot about breastfeeding or infant nutrition it's not too surprising. I'm sure I'll be learning a lot once I become pregnant (a lot tha tI never knew, at least!).

      As for the organics issue, I completely agree with you. I buy organic versions of the dirty dozen, but try to stick to the clean 15 as much as possible. I do think organic is probably best, but not always necessary. When pregnant, however, I will likely try 100% organic!

  3. Unfortunately, we only have a very small area to grow plants. This year, we are growing three types of lettuce, several herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers. I so which I had a yard with space to grow lots and lots of food.

    I try to buy organic food whenever I can. I think avoiding pesticides it especially important for children but also for adults. Years and years of pesticide exposure can't be good, and I think it's likely that we'll see more long-term healthy effects down the road.

  4. I'm not sure what all the hype is about baby-led weaning. Every kid does that eventually but now they have given it a fancy name! I have 2 kids and started with prepared baby food but progressed pretty quickly to finger foods. It is just easier when they can feed themselves. My daughter (the other is still an infant) started solids fairly early so I think if you go that route you might have to wait on the finger foods. Sometimes it's a challenge for younger babies to consistently pick food up and put it in their mouth.

  5. oh can i come help plant? i love starting a garden! Can't wait to see all your goodies!

  6. i really wanted to do BLW but Sofia was not ready so we switched to puree food. REcently I realized that she prefer food with texture, so we've been giving her pieces of food and she likes more.
    As she gets older and manages better her hands, I'll try again BLW.

  7. All the stuff you are going to plant in your garden looks great! This year we already planted some zucchini and summer squash. We are hoping to get some red peppers in the next week or so to add that. We always have basil so that's already good to go. Your grass looks amazing though so I bet yours will grow this year!

  8. Baby-led weaning, honestly, freaked me out a little. I know that there's a right and wrong way to do it, but in the early eating months, when Lila was still a pretty small baby, it would have really freaked me out to give her whole (non-pureed) food! She switched over to non-pureed foods after a short time of purees, but we just kind of followed her lead. There were a few times when we tried to give her larger chunks of food when she was still on purees, and she was definitely not having it.