Monday, January 30, 2012

Kids Garden

This article is shared with us by my friend Cheryl. She shows how much fun kids have growing a vegetable garden. Thanks for sharing Cheryl!

I have four children, ranging from 3 to 10 years old, and all of them enjoy dirt and water---a lot.        According to them, children + water + dirt= heaven.  Two years ago, I decided that it was time to put their love to good use.  We built each of them a  4' X 8'  garden box in our back yard, and filled each box with 1 part local dirt and 1 part compost.  At the beginning of the growing season, we ask the children what they want to grow.  From that point on, they are the farmers of their own plot of land.  They get to prepare the soil, sew their own seeds, weed, water and watch them grow. 

I love watching their excitement and pride as they discover the first few sprouts poking up through the dirt.  At this point, I sit with each child on the edge of their garden boxes, and guide their muddy little hands to the weeds around their sprouts.   They learn to pay attention to the subtle difference between weeds and “fruitful” plants.  In fact, this simple lesson has been the catalyst for many deep conversations about life.  Of course, they aren't always excited about the weekly chore of picking weeds, but the garden boxes are small enough that it isn't an overwhelming task.  They are learning through personal experience that if they neglect the hard work, the good things won't grow. 

This year my oldest daughter, Hannah, grew peas in the spring and then decided that she wanted to plant a trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds when the weather got warmer, she is our bird lover. She started the vine a little late in the season and I am not sure if we will see it again next season, but that's the beauty of having a personal garden.  She will have the opportunity to experiment and learn through trial and error.

Johnny, my eight year old, decided that he wanted to grow Zinnias because he felt like our yard needed some color. I loved it when he would bring flowers in to me, even though he only brought them in because he knew that I would pay him 10 cents a flower. It always seemed so sweet, and they looked beautiful on our mantel. I told him that someday, maybe he can grow a flower garden and give his wife fresh cut flowers in the summer. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Maddie, 5 years old, grew spinach in the spring and watermelon in the summer, they were delicious. She even gave a watermelon to her little neighbor friend.

Lucy, 3 years old, decided that she wanted to grow a pumpkin after her peas were finished. Again, it was a little late when we got the seeds in the ground for pumpkins, but she faithfully watered it and patiently sat on the edge of her box and waited for it to grow. It was still a little green when Halloween came around, but she was as proud as she could be when we helped her carve her pumpkin into an awesome looking Jack-o-lantern.

As a mom, I sometimes get caught up in the everyday tasks of...well...everyday, and forget to notice the amazing world around me.  Seeing the wonder in my children's eyes as they grow their own gardens, reminds me of the magic this world holds.

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