Monday, May 2, 2011

Gardening With Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind


Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden. -Orson Scott Card

Well, it's not that bad. In fact, we know that WBH's teaching job is secure for another year, but I think the truth holds just as well if you substitute "a lousy economy." We had an absolutely glorious day this weekend, and we took advantage of it- yes, a little late in the season. We're experimenting in square foot gardening this year, and I planted the first seeds.

This is the third year Stinky has helped with our garden. I really believe in involving kids with a garden for several reasons:

  • You can get kids to try eating what they've helped grow. Last summer, Stinky would grab snap peas right off the vine and eat them while he played.

  • Children gain a sense of accomplishment and contribution to the family from working together.

  • You're teaching math and science concepts without really having to try.

  • Kids become connected to their food, seeing it in it's whole, fresh form and learn to value that.

plant markers

Here's what works for us:

  • Know ahead what you'll have your child do: Stinky got to help push in the stakes on the outside of the garden, cut the yarn, push in the seeds where I poked holes in the soil.

  • Remember that it will take two to three times as long with your helper.

  • Let them help shop for seeds and help plan, as they are able: Our rule is that he has to try eating whatever he wants us to buy.

  • Small children are usually happy to dig or rake next to you if they're not ready to follow directions (we ended up with more spinach than we could eat due to eager hands tossing seeds by the fistful).

  • Plan other projects around it. We made markers for our squares from Popsicle sticks. You could paint rocks, draw pictures- just makes sure it's waterproof.

  • To keep costs down, if you're local, we used TAGRO's you-shovel pile. Stinky got to help with that, too.

I'm excited to see how our garden comes in using the square-foot technique, and excited to add our other plants later on. The coldest spring in over a hundred years has kept us inside for so long. It felt great to be in the sun and working.


He's pretending to eat a carrot here, by the way. Thanks for reading this epic post today! Happy Monday!


The Boxs said...

That is so great, I can't wait to have a house and be able to have a garden.

balloongal said...

Thanks for the tips, as we have kids about the same age. We have a tiny bit of earth to plant in, so we have all these starts inside, waiting and waiting and waiting for the weather to get better. And... someone rode a bike into our downstairs neighbor's window so we have to wait for that to get fixed before we can bring the plants outside.