If You Can Grow Kids, You Can Grow Anything

by Sharron on July 30, 2010

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"So, this is where garlic bread comes from?"

"So, this is where garlic bread comes from?"

I spent this morning digging up garlic bulbs with my delighted 5-year-old daughter. She shouted every time she brought one out of the earth and into the scorching July sun. We stopped at 50 bulbs; both of us hot, dirty and reeking of garlic. It was fun for both of us, but also profound. She loves garlic bread, but never would have imagined this delicious treat could come from under the dirt!

Growing vegetables is more than a hobby for me. Oh sure, I’m geeky enough to take pictures of my garden and post them on Facebook. But farming is part of my past, present and future. I’m the granddaughter of farmers on both sides of my family and have always known where food comes from – both animal and vegetable. For me, growing food is an essential life skill for my children – and if my dreams come true someday – for all children. Just as I teach my girls the alphabet, I also show them how to plant seeds, water and mulch them, and most importantly, how to harvest and prepare the food. What they get from the process is part science lesson, part cooking lesson and part spiritual awakening. Children begin to see the cycle of life in gardening, but issues of life and death are a lot less scary when dealing with plants. Farming also raises the consciousness of children about their food supply. At the age of four, our daughter refused to eat pork when she found out it came from pigs, her favorite animal. This lasted for an entire year with our full support.

MOM DARE: Have you ever gardened for yourself or your children? If so, did you really include them or did you ask them to step aside to protect your plants? Perhaps you could try harder to let them do hands-on work. Don’t criticize when they blast your tomato plants with a hose instead of watering around the base. Or when they gleefully dig up more carrots than you can eat in a month. Share them with friends and applaud your child’s interest. I still cringe a little when my children bring me a handful of freshly picked flowers from my gardens (I don’t grow many flowers), but someday I will miss this simple joy. Never had a garden? Now is the time to grow one thing with your children. Even apartment dwellers have abundant choices when it comes to growing vegetables and fruit. You can start simply with seeds in a windowsill, showing your children what happens without sunlight or water. At the very least, don’t just take your children to the farmer’s market, take them to an actual farm. Let them walk the rows, pick some berries and ask questions. Not only will this start a process of educating your children about life, ecosystems and healthy choices; but you will create joyful memories to carry with you for the rest of your lives.

Sharron Wright is the work-at-home mother of three girls, ages 2, 5 and 7. Her mission is to help other new parents feel empowered and to instill in them the confidence to care for their babies in a loving, positive way that respects the uniqueness of all children. She blogs at http://momswithgrace.wordpress.com and helps new moms at www.babylovecarebook.com

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Sharron (10 Posts)

Sharron Wright is the work-at-home mother of three girls, ages 2, 5 and 7. Her mission is to help other new parents feel empowered and to instill in them the confidence to care for their babies in a loving, positive way that respects the uniqueness of all children. She blogs at http://momswithgrace.wordpress.com.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

heather p July 30, 2010 at 9:48 am

Great post! We had our first garden this year and my boys are 2 & 4. I am also a granddaughter of farmers so my husband told me he hoped I had a green thumb as we were plotting out our plans. It’s been so fun including the boys with this experience and they even help pull weeds! The little guy doesn’t quite get the concept of ripe berries or tomatoes vs. unripe so a few veggies have been sacrificed but it’s so cute to see him out there enjoying it all too!

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Sharron July 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Thanks, Heather. It’s amazing how much they absorb just by getting their hands dirty. My 2-year-old was so proud when she presented me with a huge handful of green tomatoes. I’ve had to explain red or orange, not green many times! A few weeks ago, the girls were excitedly showing a neighbor the garden when my 2yo said, “Don’t eat the wellow booberries, dey’re yucky. Jest eat bwoo.” I think she’s catching on!

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Joanna July 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Hi, I only started gardening last year. When I fell pregnant I decided to try growing my own organic veg as I wanted to use it for cooking and eventually make my own food for my sin when he was ready to wean, this us my second summer and my growing variety if fruit and veg and potatoes is a huge sorce of pride, my son who is almost one and walking already loves helping in the garden, he beams with delight when I let him pull the strawberries if the plant and stuffs them straight in his mouth which readily drips with juice, he loves our evening ritual of gives the plants a bath (watering them) and has eaten a fair share of the dirt, I never had green fingers before o was pregnant but we are rarly out if the garden now. :)

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Kayris July 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm

We live in the city, and rodents are an issue, so we do just flowers in the ground and our veggies in containers on our second floor deck. Our harvest is smaller, but being so high up means less pests, specifically slugs in my lettuce. My kids have been very open to trying foods that we grew ourselves, plus since I don’t use chemicals on them, I can feel good about feeding them a food that is organic and as about as locally grown as you can get.

For those not interested in high maintenance gardening, I’d recommend getting a butterfly bush. Ours has grown from a stick in a pot into a 10 foot tall monster and attracts all manner of butterflies. This summer, we have been photographing them and identifying them. I’m toying with the idea of turning my photos into homemade notecards for Christmas gifts. There are photos of the butterflies we’ve seen here:
http://greatwallsofbaltimore.blogspot.com/search?q=butterfly+bush

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