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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Growing Kids in the Garden

I am a gardener by  way of hobby and passion. For me it is a way to be outside and connect with the Earth. I probably come by this naturally. My mother grew all sorts of  vegetables when we were kids. She  still maintains her gardens herself.  I can remember her giving us our own garden plots and plants and seeds to grow a and maintain . There is something about growing things and being responsible for something living. My kids have been gardening with me since they were a babe in arms.  Some of my happiest memories include me sitting in the garden with a newborn in my lap while I weed, watching the toddler find bugs.  I grow so much more than flowers, herbs, and food in our gardens. I am growing kids.

It is not hard to include your kids in gardening. There are some easy ways to have them join you. When you let your kids into your garden you are growing more than plants. You are growing your future.
  • Make it fun. – my son likes to bring his own tools  to work. Yes Tonka Trucks are a necessary tool for moving dirt.
  • Get them their own tools. Kid sized tools are important. Gloves and gardening tools can be found at many dollar type stores.
  • Let them get dirty. Kids love to dig and play in water. When they do this they will get dirty.
  • Let them pick out plants they want to plant and eat. My kids have loved lemon balm (Melissa officnalis) they pick it right off the plant and eat it. Bonus is that it grows really easily,
  • Let them decorate a container to plant their special plants in. Clay pots are fun to paint.
  • Give them responsibilities. My kids are a little older so I ask them to water the vegetable garden take out compost and weed.  While working in the garden with my oldest (13) she told me that gardening is very ZEN to her. I had a little chuckle and explained to her how spot on that statement is.
  • Make it fun, Kids learn more through play then work. And lets face it we all garden because it is like play. My husband even refers to it as playing in the dirt
  • Start small. Container gardens or single pots are a great way to start with kids.
  • Grow something that grows fast, like radishes. They only take about a month.
  • Grow more than one variety of the same crop. Kids love to see the differences. Try purple and yellow tomatoes. They are very different than what is in the store
  • Grow kid sized crops, they really like the small foods, think cherry tomatoes.
  • Let the kids play in the garden. As a kids I had so much fun playing hide and seek in the corn rows of our garden and the neighbors.
  • Let the kids help you harvest and prepare the food. Send them out to garden to pick some basil to go with your pasta.

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Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love your comment about how Tonka trucks are a necessary garden tool. :) It's absolutely true. I can't wait to watch my kids grow up gardening — you paint such a great picture of how to include them. I like your radish tip and the one about growing different colors of veggies than you find in stores.

granola catholic said...

I left out the "Bob the Builder" toys I am still fining in the garden, even though my son no longer plays with them. lol.

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