Kids in the Garden: Watch them Grow



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When we built our first little garden, our children were two and three years old. It was a “just for fun” garden. Roughly three feet by ten feet, I was stumped by what to put in all that space, and ultimately the kids and I planted a little bit of everything. I marvel now, looking back, at how wonderful gardening has been for the kids and me. We have learned so much about plants, flowers, vegetables and how they grow, and that 30 square feet of dirt expanded our horizons in ways we did not expect.

Now, we have 128 square feet of garden space. The kids are six and seven years old, and we continue to plant a little bit of everything. I never would have guessed four years ago that we would be growing things like organic edamame, lima beans, blackberries, and even a three sisters garden. If you were to visit our garden, my seven year old would tell you all about the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) and how the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to grown these crops.

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One of the most amazing benefits of gardening with the kids is that they eat things out of our garden as if it were candy. Sure, the leaves of our stevia plant are sweet to nibble on, but the kids also oooh and aahhh over each carrot we pull out of the ground. In the spring my daughter proudly helped me make salads for our family dinners. They begged to pick sugar snap peas in early summer (very few of the pods actually made it indoors before being eaten) and now they are fighting over who gets to pick the cherry tomatoes and the green beans.

Although I get stuck with most of the weeding, they help me water the beds with the hose from our rain barrel, and they’re both always there when it’s time to harvest. Right now my son is anxiously awaiting the formation of seeds on the sunflowers. He was amazed to find that the sunflower head is actually made up of tiny flowers that will eventually form those yummy seeds.

Not to say that my kids are wildly in love with everything we grow in the garden. The radishes we grew this year were very, very spicy. However, the kids still delighted in picking them, and they asked to taste them over and over. They wanted to like those radishes so badly! We are watching our summer squash grow from teeny, tiny “baby” size. I am hoping that when it gets bigger and we pick it, being involved in the process will help the kids be more enthusiastic about eating it. To date, squash is not their favorite, but they are always motivated to try the “fruits” of our garden labor. Worst case, we’ll pick some stevia and make some sweet zucchini bread.

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My children are not picky eaters, and they are always willing to try new things. They are curious about where their food comes from and proud that they can explain how a plant grows and why. They know the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. They’ve learned about patience, teamwork, history, botany, agriculture, wildlife, conservation, and diversity in our garden. They’ve shared these lessons with visitors who don’t have gardens of their own. It seems odd to say it, but the main point of our garden is not that it provides food for our family. It provides that, and so much more.

Bloggers_Fawn-Waner-Rehkemmer

Fawn Warner-Rechkemmer

Fawn is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media consultant. She writes about motherhood, frugality, healthy living, and travel. Fawn enjoys working with small businesses and family-friendly brands in their efforts to make life easier and fun for parents and kids. She is the mother of a five year old boy and a six year old girl. Her husband is a children’s dentist, so she can answer all sorts of questions about kids’ teeth! Fawn loves traveling, reading, exercising and making connections (whether it’s people or lost socks in the laundry room). You can catch up with her latest shenanigans on her blog, Instead of the Dishes.