Gardening with children...

jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)August 15, 2008

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 :)


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agirlsgirl(6 SW-PA)

My son is a boy after my own heart! He is 6,but I am betting by the time he is 10 he will be one heck of a gardener! He is always collecting things for collecting seeds and makes me smile when he brings me a container we can use for winter sowing! When we look through pictures I took of the gardens,he can name a good amount of plants all on his own! He knows the names of the plants in his garden and is looking forward to trading this he has one already in the works with Kym (flwrs4ever)! When we collect seed,he makes sure I know which ones are his,he wants his own list this year! (of course it will be attached to mine) he also makes sure all scraps that can be composted go to the compost! We have been helping some Monarch and Swallowtail caterpillars along,and this is a process he is loving right along with me!:)
He is learning alot from all of this,more than just making things pretty! I love that I have a companion in all of this,someone who has the same joy I do,when we pick a ripe tomato or see a flower that will be opening soon!

The whole process is a learning experience,no matter what type of gardening you do,it is such a joy to see the little ones enjoying it also!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 12:36AM
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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

Kathy I am so glad to hear how much fun you are all having. I have to say my gardening experience has hit an all new high with Jordan (3 1/2 year old granddaughter) at my side. She is so happy when we are out digging, planting and harvesting! I enjoyed my gardens before but now am at a whole new level of enjoyment. She truly has the gardening spirit and passes it on to anyone who gets in her way LOL. A month ago, we went up north and stopped at a friend's house. She stated that she had been out working in the yard and was planting flowers. Jordan jumped up and said "come on lets go dig some more flowers". The kid would not take no for an answer and the next thing you know we are all outside digging up the soil and plant over 30 transplants. She even knows that plants come from seeds and asks if she can "pick new flowers for next year" when we take walks...the kid is already a little seed snagger ROFLMBO.

A couple weeks ago I took her to the zoo and again she wouldn't take no for a answer. Believe it or not this little girl talked the ear off the volunteer coordinator about her plants and they are allowing a her to plant her own little garden area at the zoo (with my supervision of course). She has been assigned a little 3'x5' area. She has already picked out rudbeckia and purple coneflowers we grew from seed this spring and of course a daylily named "Jordan". She is so happy because she can then see the "snow bear" (polar bear) whenever she wants.

I'll tell you I see things is such a different light with this little girl around. The sun seems to shine brighter, birds chirp louder and the butterflies abound.

Enjoy all you can with your little ones! Kim

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 7:05PM
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of course, you know that i love to garden with talla and tabor, LOL tabor loves to do all of the making the sq ft beds for me, and talla loves to help me fill the beds with the soil. he helped me mow the manuer so it'd go up in the bag so i could pour it out into the bed. and talla and i fill it with plants. he likes to fill it with plants to sometimes. he is pretty awesome!! he can name alot of the plants. if he don't know, he will ask me, he does like to know what's out there to plant and that will look good. that's so strange coming from a boy!! we do have strange boys. also i have a little boy across the street who likes to help out with the planting and mowing also. he's such a good kid. its funny how they look at the plants. now in talla's case, it's all about what is good or bad for her fairies. what can they sleep in, what can they drink out of, what will hurt them? things like this. what will keep the skeezites (mosquitos) away. those are her triggers. and what will bring in the dragon flies, and butterflies, humming birds. which are really angelic fairies, butterfly fairies, humming birds. they do compost, and i get them to pee in the compost barrel out back. so it'll decompose faster!! only they pee in a thing in the house and pour it in the barrel :') also you can get the newspaper from newbors if you need more!! leaves if they bag it, and grass clippings. i get my neighbors to instead of bagging it, just dump it in a pile for me, they're cool with that. ;") ~Medo

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Enjoy gardening with them while you can.They do grow up fast.My son is 28 and my daughter is 25.They both had their own flower beds as young children with markers with their names on them.Phyllis would quizz my garden friends about plants when they stopped by.She gardens a little now that she is married,mostly annuals or whatever she comes over to pick out of my plants.Terry wanted to be a farmer when he was little but he is a train conductor/engineer instead.Enjoy them!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 12:28PM
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