Kids in the Garden
Ok, now, depending on my mood, I really don’t mind the kids helping me out in the garden….however, that in mind I’m very aware of their ages and capabilities – the capability to cause havoc. 🙂 So I try to give them tasks that will make them happy and still allow me to hold onto the serenity that I get from being in the garden!
Hello from the Tangelo Tree
Now this sounds like a simple task but it can go two ways…me going wow, you did an amazing job or me howling nooooo, that was the tomato plant you pulled up. So to avoid me howling I give them a patch to weed where there is no risk of anything of value being pulled up…sounds simple I know but trying to manage my kids in the garden can be challenging, so I need to give them VERY clear directions in where to weed as they also like to wander….and yes, I have tried to point out the tomatoes or whatever needs to stay in the ground but as I said, age wise the 8 year old gets it, but the 19mth old does not.
Nothing to be saved here…pull away to your heart’s content kids!
Planting Seeds or Seedlings
This is one task that I usually like doing alone because I get a sense of peace and gratitude putting in seeds or seedlings that are going to bloom into a yummy cucumber plant or some tasty beans and to be honest with you, it’s my ‘me’ time….however if we have gone to the markets together to buy some seedlings, the kids get quite excited about planting them out. So I usually wait till the youngest one is having her arvo nap and we plant out together. They get to dig the little holes with their trowels for the seedlings and pop them in, tuck them up with some soil. This is where the 4 year old needs some guidance but she is getting better. They then love checking out how much the seedlings have grown….even hour by hour sometimes.
If they are really keen to put seeds in the ground and I’m at not wanting them to help me out, often I’ll give them a small handful of sunflowers seeds to put in the little patch of soil near their playroom and let them know they are responsible for watering them….those poor seeds don’t often survive.
All my kids love to water the garden. The fact has caused many an argument about who watered the garden and when. It does not matter how democratic I try to make the process, the bickering still happens on occasion. But this is one task that I am happy to let them do under supervision, I don’t like to waste water so I usually give them guidance on where to water. Because the hose can be heavy for the younger ones, they will fill up a little bowl or the little red watering can they have and gently pour water where it’s needed. This works well after we have planted out any seedlings.
My 8 year old has got to be the fussiest eater I know. Originally, we got him to help us plant veggies in the garden so he could watch them grow, then pick them himself and have a munch. That did work for a while….but he waxes and wans with it now. The other kids however, love picking anything and everything. With beans and snowpeas I must be careful to watch them otherwise they get a bit overzealous and pick the tiny ‘dollhouse’ beans and snowpeas that have not grown to full size yet. If we have an abundance of cherry tomatoes they love getting in there, amongst it and helping me fill a bowl and they don’t mind breaking off a lettuce leaf and having a nibble. I think this is fantastic and it makes my heart sing because I see them getting a connection with their food and how it’s grown….even the fussy one, he might not eat it but loves seeing what is out there in the garden ready to be picked.
These are what I call dollhouse beans. They actually look bigger in the photo.
These are just some of the things my kids and I get up to in our garden and I haven’t even mentioned the hours of tree climbing (them not me), insect discovering, ‘tidy ups’ and all sorts of games that also happens….what do you and your kids like to do in the garden?
If you’d like to read some more about kids in the garden, why not check out
Tips for Chemical Free Veggie Gardening with the kids written by Alessandra Winfield – a Dietitian, homeschool mum of 2 boys and writer of the blog Practical Skills for Kids. She has been gardening since she was a little girl, learning from her grandmother. She just loves teaching kids all sorts of skills like gardening and cooking.