Adventures in Gardening: A Baby Food Garden

Much to my surprise, I have a 7-month old who prefers veggies over fruit.  She can’t get enough green beans, but she gives a “What are you doing to me?” face if she tries pears or peaches.  How DARE I try to give her a sweet treat? I didn’t expect her tastes to be the way they are, but it definitely works well for our garden!

Growing the Garden

I began my first “real” garden (not container) this spring.  I’m excited to report that most of the plants are doing very well!  My tomatoes that I started from seed inside during the winter bit the dust during some high winds, but my peppers are great!  We started zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, and watermelon from seed as well as potatoes that we had leftover from last fall.  I also purchased broccoli, kale, and a couple more tomato plants along with onion sets. 

Our peas and spinach didn’t make it through the early heat in May, but we definitely haven’t done badly our first year!  I can also say from experience that kale grows very well in pots, and this is a much more secure location for those plants if you battle rabbits!

lana garden

While I feel pretty proud of how our little garden box is doing this summer, a weekend trip back home recently put things into perspective! My mother’s garden has spent a lot of time under water, but she still had plenty of rhubarb and asparagus to share.  My grandmother’s garden has also had a tough year, and I couldn’t believe how large and beautiful her plants were!  That on top of a bumper crop of strawberries, and I realized just how much we really are beginners in this whole gardening thing!

Regardless of how our garden fairs this summer and how much we harvest, I knew I would make most of my daughter’s baby food.  I have made all of her vegetable purees to date. 

Turning Veggies into Babyfood

So far I have purchased fresh or frozen veggies for her, but I will very soon get to use carrots, green beans, and a few other veggies from OUR garden! That is a nice, fun feeling!  Making baby food has been nothing but easy and enjoyable for me to do, and I would recommend it to anyone who is willing to try. 

Although I use organic, high-quality foods to make her purees, I am making her food because I want to and not because I feel like there is anything wrong with commercial brands.  I use a Magic Bullet or immersion blender, a steamer/saucepan, veggies, a thinning agent (breastmilk), and ice cube trays. In an hour or so I have quite a bit of baby food to stick in the freezer that will last for a few weeks!  I get a great deal of satisfaction from looking into the freezer and having a variety of veggies to choose from. If you’re feeling inspired to try this out, here are some great tips and tricks for making homemade baby foodtips and tricks for making homemade baby food

Hopefully my daughter’s healthy tastes stick with her! If she is anything like me, that won’t be the case.  Nonetheless, I look forward to growing fruits and veggies our whole family can enjoy in the years to come.

Have you decided to make your own baby food?  Share some combinations and recipes that have been a hit at your house!  I would love to hear them! 


Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. I’m such a baby-food-making fan! My daughter always loved green beans and beef mixed, and sweet potatoes and chicken mixed. It’s so easy and healthy, and I love stocking my freezer with all those colorful cubes to choose from!

  2. We made almost all of our baby food, admittedly less for the second child than the first. Favorites for both were heart-of-gold squash with nutmeg (introduce spices as you would a new food – so you need the first week’s worth of squash plain) and apple + any other fruit sauce… When they got older, it was homemade garlic chicken and veggie soup, blended not pureed!


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