I cherish the moments spent in the garden with my children. Each spring they beg for a little space of their own to grow and tend things that interest them. The joy of watching the look on their faces as the rich soil squishes between their toes and the happiness beaming in their eyes as they pull up a carrot from the seed “they” planted is sheer joy to this mother’s heart!
Here are 8 ways to garden with your children.
* Let them choose what they’d like to grow. Try sunflowers, pumpkins, decorative gourds and root crops. Radishes and lettuce are quick growers and are available in multiple colors and sizes. If you choose a root crop I suggest using heirloom varieties. Carrots, for instance, offer a multitude of shapes and colors, from Cosmic Purple to Lunar White and every shade of orange. Potatoes are also a fun and easy crop that are available in red, white and even blue.
*Try container gardening. You can use anything — A wagon planted with pansies or an old shoe planted with hens and chicks. For lots more ideas follow this link to my blog. http://fordragonfliesandme.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/raised-bed-gardening-plant-container-ideas-yummy-savory-garden-cornmeal-pancakes-and-more/
*Grow a cucumber plant; once the plant begins to flower, cucumbers are a day or so away. When the cucumber is about an inch long, carefully insert it into the hole of a clear, plastic pop bottle. Once the cucumber “fills” the bottle, pluck it off the plant and carefully cut the bottle off! Presto, a bottle shaped cucumber. This works with many types of veggies, try out a few and use different containers to make multiple shapes.
*Grow a pumpkin! Once the pumpkin is 6 to 8 inches in diameter, carefully scratch the child’s name and a silly face into
the skin, being careful not to puncture. As it grows, the drawing will grow along with it!
*Trace the child’s name in the soil with a stick; sprinkle lettuce, radish or carrot seed in the name. Watch it grow!
*Make a Sunflower House. See how to make a secret room or play house, follow this link to my blog. http://fordragonfliesandme.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/childrens-gardens-more-themes-butterfly-kisses-a-super-yummy-apple-breakfast-pie/
*Have child-size tools available. Teach them responsibility for their tools- to put them back, keep them clean, and be careful wh
en using. Make them feel special by adding a name plaque in the potting shed or garage where the tools are stored.
*Take lots of pictures of your child in the garden. Photograph the planting, growing and harvesting process preserving those precious memories.
It can be challenging to include them and it’s often easier to do it ourselves. It’ll add on some minutes, maybe even hours, but what memories we’ll make. That smile, that gleam in the eye is worth more than all the saved minutes of just doing it ourselves.
Now I’m off to the garden,