Well, it’s time to admit it, I wasn’t practicing what I preached. Having my kids eat vegetables, sure! Trading out screen time for family physical activity, absolutely! Starting a home garden, no way!!!
I have a black thumb and I’m not joking about this. I’m horrible when it comes to plants. Did you know they need water?!? Apparently, I need a living thing to scream/bark/cluck (chickens) at me to remind me of their needs. Obviously, plants don’t do this, so in my house, they die.
Oh, and it’s not that there isn’t excitement around gardening, there is. I always came home with the best of intentions and for a few days, my plants are happy because I remember to water and care for them. Then, slowly but surely, they die a slow, miserable death because I completely forget to water them.
And there I was, talking to anyone and everyone about school and home gardening while killing my own plants. After a while, I couldn’t take it any longer, so I signed myself up for a free class at my local Extension Office (if you haven’t made friends with your local extension agents, RUN, don’t walk down to your local office, you’ll be glad you did), came home and started my home garden.
With a little education and some elbow grease, we now have an abundance of green beans, beautiful broccoli, yummy banana peppers, a rainbow of bell peppers, a wonderful selection of fresh herbs, onions galore, and enough tomatoes for the neighborhood. As a mother, the garden has given me a sense of satisfaction no other activity with my children has given me.
Seriously, gardening with children is the best thing ever.
Lessons my children have learned from our first garden:
- Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Hard work now pays off later.
- Patience is a virtue, exercise it now and you’ll be pleasantly surprised later.
- Living things require time, attention, and care. If you don’t give them these things, your hard work and patience will be for nothing.
- Vegetables and herbs do taste good! They know this because they beg me (I’m talking all out begging with hundreds of “Please Mom!”) to eat what we grow in our garden.
- Even with the best planning, sometime things just don’t go as planned so you try and then try again.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. We, as a family, love our garden. We love that it’s a wonderful outdoor activity where our children are able to interact with nature, learn responsibility, and nourish their bodies. I absolutely love that what is ready to harvest in my garden dictates my menus for the evening. I’m making dishes I would have never dreamed of before due to my tasty backyard harvest.
So, go ahead, give it a try! Black thumb or bright green thumb, introduce gardening to your kids. You don’t have to start big, a simple herb garden or potted tomato plant does a great job instilling the excitement and wonder in children associated with gardens. My guess is that most of you, just like me, will become hooked and dream of ways to transition your backyard into an edible landscape. Watch out! A future blog may involve fruit trees, berry bushes, and other edible landscaping (my husband is in for it!).
Today we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can connect with Melodie on her Facebook page, WellConnect LLC.