Every time I’m in the garden, my six year old will ask me if she can please have her own garden. On the last day of the school term, she came home with a shoebox that had some soil in it and told me there were speckled lettuce seeds in the box and that she was going to water it everyday and watch the seeds grow.
I often hear of gardeners that had their love of gardening nurtured when they were a child or they had a gardening role model in their lives when they were young. Watching my daughter’s growing interest in gardening has been great. I always wanted to encourage her love of gardening, but I hadn’t put much action into it. I would just tell her to weed a patch or to plant some seedlings – but to be honest, I often wanted to be left alone in the garden, as it was my break from the kids.
Although, I did want to encourage her love of gardening – I hadn’t put much action into it. I would tell her to weed a patch or let her plant some seedlings but to be honest, often I wanted to be left alone in the garden as it was my break from the kids.
There is a veggie patch and fairy garden at my daughter’s school. This has been started by one of the mums who has some awesome plans for creating edible and sensory gardens within the school. The kids can be veggie patch helpers during their lunch break and love playing in the fairy garden. My little one loved helping in the school’s veggie patch, but I could see she wanted to do more.
This month we finally got around to creating my daughter’s own garden.
After asking me yet again if she could have her own veggie garden, I replied ‘Sure, next time we are in town – let’s choose some seedlings.’ Seeing the excitement on her face was priceless. Because it was her own veggie garden, she chose seedlings that she liked to eat: Lettuce, Kale and a Strawberry plant. She also chose a cherry tomato seedling that I had brought home from TAFE.
We had an awesome afternoon planting out her seedlings. I had a polystyrene box in the garage that we made drainage holes in and filled with potting mix. While we were making the drainage holes I explained to her why the holes were important.
We each took turns at filling the container with potting mix. When she planted her seedlings we made sure that they were ‘tucked into bed’ properly and gently so they would be happy in their new home.
She then watered them with my watering can. This watering can is a bit heavy for her, so we will be getting her a smaller one. In the meantime, she is learning how to water using the hose without blasting her seedlings out of the container.
The last task we did together was giving her seedlings a liquid feed to reduce any transplant shock. While we were doing all of these tasks I tried to explain the steps to her and the ‘why’ behind them.
Recently, I had a comment on the Gardenware Facebook page from My Productive Backyard. There was a link to their blog post called, ‘Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability’. This inspired me to take that next step and start explaining to my daughter the “whys” of what we do in the garden. For instance, she has to take out the veggie scraps to the compost heap, but she doesn’t really know why – so, I will ask her if she would like to watch an interesting DVD that I have on composting.
So, this month I have had a little companion with me that is starting her own adventures in gardening. I hope that we are creating some happy gardening memories together!