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Letting Kids Lead and Learn in the Garden

Spring has sprung. Have you started planting seedlings for your garden? Don’t forget to let the kids help with the gardening and maybe even take the lead. Kids can learn so much from getting their hands dirty in the dirt and watching food grow.

The daffodils are popping and opening. The temperatures are rising. And we’re officially past the Spring Equinox. It’s definitely time to start gardening!

Last year was my first real foray into full scale gardening. I got a little help from a friend to get started and gave it a good ol‘ college try for the next several months. We didn’t grow an enormous amount of food nor did everything turn out perfectly, but I learned a ton and hope to get a little better each year

About a month ago, I drew up a plan for our garden this summer. We grow predominantly fruits and vegetables. Other than a few sunflowers for the boys, I much prefer growing something I can eat. I based the plan on things that grew well last year, foods we regularly ate, and plants that require less maintenance. 

I also gravitate toward perennials so I don’t have to completely start over each year. Most vegetables, however, are annuals, and I’m willing to start fresh with those each year because I love eating food from our own garden. 

We collected yogurt containers for the last year. Despite M asking me several times if we really needed another yogurt container, we still didn’t have enough to plant all the seedlings I will eventually move to the garden. 

J helped fill the containers with dirt, plant the seeds and label each one. I’m definitely the “sneaky” mom that excitedly handed over the Sharpie (that he rarely gets to use) and asked him to label each container. Don’t tell him he’s secretly practicing writing and spelling.

I also let him choose what we planted, for the most part. I don’t want an entire garden full of pumpkins, but he made most of the decisions about which seeds to sow.

When he asked how to spell each vegetable, I kindly suggested he check the package and figure it out. Like magic (“mom magic”), J independently labeled each vegetable seedling before we carried them up to the sunniest window sill in the house to bask in springtime glory.

Now it’s a waiting game to see which seeds pop and which seeds flop. Wish us luck!

Are you planting a garden this year?

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