It feels like Spring!
Which means it’s time to plant.
Nate and I both come from families who like to garden. Once school lets out, my parents (both teachers) spend the majority of their summer planting, weeding, harvesting, picking, baking, canning, and selling goodies from their small 30-acre farm.
I’ve always enjoyed the (literal) fruits of their labors. A seemingly endless supply of fresh, Indiana watermelons? Gigantic pumpkins to carve at Halloween? Raspberry jelly made from the wild berries found in the woods? Yes, please! But I gained new appreciation for their hard work once our toddler started eating their homegrown goodies.
Not into gardening? Perhaps I can convince you to give it a try! (Before you tell me you don’t have room, lack of garden space is no excuse! You and your kiddos can grow some basic veggies and herbs in pots on your windowsills.)
Five Reasons to Try Gardening with Kids
1) Homegrown produce can please a picky eater. My toddler is not a picky eater. (You can read all about her adventurous palate here.) I think that part of the reason for this is that she’s actively involved in the buying, cooking, and growing process. Last summer (around the time she turned two), she ate every single pea that our tiny garden produced. She picked them straight off the vine and popped them into her little mouth. Same thing with cherry tomatoes. It was awesome! And weird. (But mostly awesome.)
2) I’m (kind of) okay with her eating unwashed veggies because I know how they were grown. I know that we don’t use pesticides or other chemicals. Homegrown garden vegetables and fruits are clean, fresh, and cheaper than organic foods purchased from the store.
3) Similarly, vegetables from your garden are real foods. They’re far from the packaged and processed snack foods we see on our shelves. Kids need to see that! I hope our kids will have a healthier relationship with food if they know where it comes from and see how it is grown.
4) Want to teach your kids about science? Grow a garden! There are tons of natural science lessons in the growing and planting process. This afternoon, my daughter and husband were hanging around the garden watching a little worm. From previous conversations, my two-year-old already knew that worms help the plants grow by helping air and water go into the soil. Similarly, my daughter has observed that our seeds have turned into sprouts/plants. In order for our plants to continue growing, our garden needs water and sunshine. If all goes well, we’ll soon have vegetables to eat. She’s learning cause and effect in a fun, non-threatening, and tasty way.
5) A garden teaches responsibility. There’s work to be done in a garden and kids can help. What toddler wouldn’t love the invitation to turn over piles of dirt to prepare the garden for planting? An hour of planting seeds with Papaw is both fun and productive. When rain is scarce, our toddler helps us haul water to the garden in her tiny yellow watering can. Our toddler has invested in the garden. It’s hers. She’s helping it to grow.
Okay, your turn! Do you have a garden? Have I convinced you to try? For more ideas, follow my gardening board on pinterest!
(You can find this post and others at these great link parties.)