HOMEGROWN Life: Gardening and Kids
We’ve got seeds! This year, I have received free seeds from Sunset Magazine, Seeds of Change(paid only shipping), and from Rob’sWorld(seed ballz). We picked some up at the Seattle Tilth Early Spring Edible Plant sale, Nash’sOrganicProduce (local), and our local Co-op.
Last year, the kids got to experience, start to finish, carrots, beans, peas, zucchini, pumpkins, radishes, and cat nip. Everything else we did with veggies starts. Not everything survived, but with kids -you, hardly survive. So, a few vegetable plant casualties is not the end of the world. You learn, and come back with a vengeance next time, right?
This year, we did pick up quite a few starts for earlier harvest, but we plan on doing the rest from seed. I found that when you get the kids involved early on, it helps keep them motivated. Have them choose some varieties to grow -even if you know it’s not going to work out. The ones that make it to the table, that’s usually the more serious stuff, and you get to do. Let them do the dirty work. Dirt’s fun, remember?
We use some recycled materials to get things started. The girls used styrofoam trays, poked holes with bamboo skewers, added our composted/potting soil, the seeds of their choice and then I let them drown the eff out of ‘em.
Eventually, the seedlings will pop and you get to revel in the joyful sounds your kids make as they screech that they can make things grow. You can get viable fruit and vegetables from a plant that your three year old helped plant. It works. I promise.
Once everything is transplanted, they love to help water -think sprinklers. I know irrigation is all the rage, but remember how much fun it was to run through the sprinklers on your grouchy, old neighbor’s lawn when you thought they weren’t home? Well, your kids can experience that every day when you water your garden. Picture yourself running out with a hoe in one hand and your other fist pumping as you grumble and yell at them to “watch out for the leeks!” and “don’t trample the strawberries!” Nice visualization eh?
Then when harvest time comes around, you never have to worry about things wasting in the garden -not that you would do that. The kids are always on top of it, picking things that aren’t quite ripe, tasting cukes, peas, and tomatoes right on the vine. Pulling carrots when they could’ve been in the soil just a few more days. It reminds you to get your ass out there and help them figure out when is the right time to pick, and to please save some for the table.
Think of it this way, more hands in the garden, means less work for you. Remember that.
Tory’s blog can be found at: http://champagnewishesandcoupondreams.blogspot.com/
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my non-tree hugging, environmentally friendly, dreamin’-of-farming husband and our four wild, dirt lovin’ kids. When I’m not writing of the adventures (or misadventures) on our micro-homestead, you might find me stalking Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook. And since I’m all about multi tasking, I’ll probably be out gardening, baking, menu planning, home-educating, exploring with the kiddos, and scheming on how to get chickens past my HOA.