How a Garden is Changing My Life

Vegetable Garden Spoils

This is one of the amazing things about our sea change year in New Zealand: the place where we are staying has an amazing existing vegetable garden. Having a garden has changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate. First, I have to say here that I’m not a good gardener. I don’t even enjoy gardening very much, oh, but I do love the fresh produce. Fortunately I have someone to help me and my husband adores tinkering about too.

Over the months of experiencing the garden, I’ve become more connected to the food I eat and how I prepare and cook it. I find myself motivated to attempt new recipes and cook from scratch more. Like tomato pasta sauce. I peeled a tomato! Never done that before. I made pasta from scratch too. 

I keep saying to the kids, “This is so exciting! THIS CAME FORM THE GARDEN!” I say it so often, that when I was preparing pumpkin soup the other day, I said to my teen as she walked in the kitchen asking what was for dinner, “What am I going to say? About all this?” waving my hands about. She did a mock eye roll and replied in a monotone voice, “How exciting, this came from the garden?” “YES!” I exaggerated my voice in extreme excitement. 

Something else I haven’t done before: After a weekend garden harvest, I lay out all the spoils and decided to meal plan from what I could see in front of me. I decided on chilli con carne, pumpkin soup, vegetable lasagne, zucchini slice, lamb and vegetable roast, lamb & rosemary ravioli. Planning meals that way felt good and right and satisfying.  Satisfaction. I think that’s what it is. There is an immense joy and satisfaction in growing food, living with the seasons and making connections.

1. Chilli Con Carne

  • Used: capsicum, chilli, onion, herbs and tomatoes

2. Pumpkin soup with flat bread:

  • Used: onion, carrot, pumpkin, herbs (my fav pumpkin soup recipe here & flat bread here)

3. Vegetable lasagne

  • Used onion, capsicum, eggplant, tomato, carrot, parsnip, zucchini, herbs

4. Zucchini Slice with chickpea & capsicum roti

  • onion, zucchini, capsicum, herbs, tomato, pumpkin

5. Lamb with roast veggies

  • pumpkin, onion, herbs

6. Lamb ravioli with homemade tomato sauce 

  • leftover lamb, rosemary, tomato, onion

Note: All my kids ate and enjoyed the meals too (even the vegetarian lasagne which I wasn’t sure would go down very well).  My younger two aren’t big fan of roasted pumpkin, but love pumpkin soup.

Meal Planning with inspiration from garden spoils

I haven’t been this excited about food and cooking…ever! It’s made me determined to achieve some sort of garden when I get back to Australia because it’s enriched my life so much.  You never know: This year may turn me into a gardener yet.


Stage 1: Preparing a garden

Stage 2: Planting a garden

Toilet Roll Seedlings

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  • Reply
    Cristal @ Dapple Design
    April 7, 2015 at 5:56 am

    I’ve been growing veggies for years and I still get that thrill every summer as the goodness rolls in. I grew this! Sadly this spring (I’m in Canada) I’m packing for a move instead of planting. No garden for me this year.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    YAY…… I’m about to harvest some delicious Pawpaw soon, my very first. Totally excited

    • Reply
      Kelly - Be A Fun Mum
      April 10, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Oh nice! That takes me back to my childhood and when I lived in PNG. Never ever tasted as nice pawpaws than in PNG.

  • Reply
    Anorina @ SameliasMum
    April 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I loved this post! We started slowly but managed to get a fairly decent crop of tomatoes over the summer which we turned into pasta sauce and have frozen. My herb garden is thriving and just yesterday, I planted potatoes. Cannot wait to see if they grow. I do believe that when growing our own food, we take more pleasure in experimenting and creating new dishes.

    • Reply
      Kelly - Be A Fun Mum
      April 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Anorina! Lovely to see you here! How exciting re potatoes. Just harvested a heap of sweet potatoes. They are delicious. We had sweet potato soup the other night and tonight we have people over and do I’m going to do a roast and roast some of the sweet potatoes to go with it…with a bit of rosemary. Yum. x

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