Hello Dearest Readers,
In my previous post I mentioned that I will write about gardening with your little ones. After this weekend, I was so proud of my children’s connection to our garden that I couldn’t wait to share about it. But first, I want to let you in on how it all began, because it wasn’t always so rewarding – but it was always lots of fun.
I never knew the first thing about taking care of house plants, let alone grow a garden. Before I had my children, I somehow always managed to kill anything green that was given to me. And even though I really liked the energy and warm feeling of having plants in my home, I had to eventually give up on the idea. After all, how many plants was I going to kill?
Well, after my children were born, a feminine, maternal energy ignited within me, and my life changed in many ways. One of the ways was by being more creative – this creative energy wanted to pour out in all areas of my life…one of them was to create a garden.
I really wanted my own organic vegetables, and I knew that I wanted our children to learn how to grow their own food. I realized that whenever they witnessed the process of anything, they appreciated it much more. I found that my children ate more veggies, if they grew them. I also came to know that whatever we do, they do, and so if I grow food…they’ll grow food. This was something I wanted to offer not only to them for their own life, but also to mother Earth.
After asking loads of questions at a nursery and reading on the internet, I chose to go with the raised bed option. I was given a phone number to a local farm that had organic, biodynamic seeds, and it was the very first gardening experience for both my children and I. We got so many seeds for just a few dollars, and we still have so much more left 5 years later. My son watched me fill a few little pots with organic soil and poke in a seed. He then asked if he can do a few. Within an hour, we planted cucumbers and tomatoes, and we watered them every day. My daughter was on my carrier and just observed all that went on in our family (at all times – she was like an extra part of me). At that time my son was almost 4 yrs. old, and he didn’t really understand what the point of all of it was. But once those first little plants sprouted and something was actually growing, it was very exciting for all of us! I actually grew something, instead of killing it! I still wasn’t sure how successful it was all going to be, but I was definitely committed.
Once our plants grew over a foot, it was time to get the raised beds ready and filled with all the organic materials they needed. My son loved to shovel any dirt, and so this was lots of fun for him. When it was time to transplant our plants into the beds, my son made the holes, put in the plant, and covered and patted the soil. We watered together every day and sometimes gave each other an accidental, silly shower.
When we finally got our first tomato, we were thrilled! Eventually, my son would go out and pick the veggies and bring them in. We had so much to harvest at the end of the season, that we made tomato sauce together and we jarred it. It was so satisfying! And since that went so well, we continued to garden year after year. Now, my daughter and son are eager to plant our garden. We all shop together at the beginning of the season, plant, pull weeds, and water. The whole family can garden together, and each one of us has something we can contribute. Put it this way, when my kids wake up, they go straight out to the garden to inspect and make sure everything is ok. If the soil isn’t moist, they water. We were away this weekend, and when we returned my daughter noticed from the car, that our porch flowers were wilting. She said… “Mom! Our vegetables might need water in the back!” Once we parked, she ran out and to our back yard, turned on the hose and began to water all of them. It was so sweet to see how much she cared for what she too, is working on creating.
Yes, it’s a really cute success story, and I am so happy to have tasty, organic food to grow and enjoy with my family. Gardening now is a part of our parenting and connection to our children and to nature. It offers much more to them than just gardening skills. It soothes them on many levels. They also feel great to give back to nature, to be a part of the family unit, and to be able to help out. The truth is that our children’s contribution is very valuable to us and for the garden. Growing a garden requires daily maintenance and work, and if it can be a team effort, the possibility of success is much greater. I believe that my children’s dedication grew out of my commitment to having home grown food in our life. We have learned so much together and continue to learn more every year. In my Weekly Tips tab, I will mention many organic ways to keep your garden pesticide, herbicide and fungicide free, as well as other little bits of helpful information.
Children love to be outside, and they have a natural curiosity and connection to nature. As a parent, channeling this curiosity with a little bit of guidance and modeling, really fulfills them in a deep way. Having them feel the dirt, play with a worm, witnessing the miracle of growing food, and simply experiencing this process, allows for a deeper understanding and connection to Earth that will last them a lifetime.
Memories will stay with your children longer than the garden will. As your son or daughter later explain to their own children about all the wonder and magic of gardening, they will have fond memories of you, and their first garden. I encourage you to plant even one little pot with your child, and explore together the magical cycle of life and seasons. Your hearts will be left very full…