Gardening with children...
I garden primarily with my 8 and (as of tomorrow) 11 year old sons. We've been discussing the lasagna beds we're going to put in and what needs to be layered. Now, my (almost!) 11 year old LOVES lasagna (the meal), so this has really began to fascinate him. While we were weeding this morning he was asking all kinds of questions. This evening when he made me another pot of coffee after dinner, he asked should we start saving our coffee grounds and tea bags. I told him I would put together a bucket for this tomorrow. Then he commented that we could add the eggshells into the coffee and tea grounds for the calcium.
Just a few minutes go he was asking about adding weeds we pull from the beds to the layers. I told him that since we weren't going to be planting these until next spring, that yes, since the weeds are young with no seed heads, we shouldn't have any popping up. Then my 8 year old pipes up that we need to see about some more greens because we don't "make" enough veggie peelings and lettuce and the like never makes it to being needed to throw out.
They are really eager to get into this and I think it's a wonderful thing! It keeps them reminded to not litter and to reduce, reuse and recycle. To respect the earth, nurture it and protect it. To enjoy it's beauty and bounty. It also teaches them practical life lessons.. like if you work hard at something, you will enjoy the benefits. Lessons in math, science, history, social studies, geography, reading, writing. They even are learning graphing skills in drawing out garden plans, in measuring and recording seedling and plant growth. Weather knowledge and how to know when conditions are right to plant something. They use the computer to research plants, their histories and uses and where they originate from.
I never really realized how much my children are learning from growing their own food and flowers. My older children have learned these same lessons. My older boys wanted to plant a container garden when they moved out of our house and into their own apartment, but knew it was too late in the season. So they helped out here and there with ours and are doing containers for fall. Even my DIVA daughter will play around with cross breeding.
It really makes me feel good to see them out working in their garden beds. Each of the boys has their own flower bed in the front yard that they get to plant what they want into (it's part shade, part full sun so they have a lot to work with:) ) They get to plant things where they want them, they care of the plants and flowers , weed the beds, mulch and water them. In the back yard we do our veggies. This year was a family bed, but the plan for next year is for each boy to have his own 5 ft long patch along the back fence with equal sun/shade. They are so excited about this and are already making plans.
Next year with their own veggie beds they're going to both do seedlings of veggies and veggies from their beds to sell at the farmer's market. They have kids market on Saturdays and they can sell whatever they grow of make or search for (rocks, crystals, bracelets,baked items, etc) themselves. It will be a way for them to expand their lessons in gardening, marketing, math, money and make money to fund summer activities.
Gardening with my children is an amazing thing in my life! So tell us about gardening with your own or "borrowed" children :)