There’s no bigger joy than seeing the joy on a kid’s face when their first garden seeds start to sprout and grow. I remember as a child when I tagged along and followed my mother through the garden, trying to help her any way I could. The days before I started school were magical days with my mom, and gardening was an extra special experience for me personally. The crisp spring air was still whipping through the yard but my mother was out there, pulling weeds and preparing the garden bed for new seeds. She walked me through the paces of how to divide rows and then how to plant the seeds and water the garden.
Over the years, I learned much from my mother’s garden, and when I grew up and moved away I took all those wonderful lessons with me into the world. I learned to appreciate what it takes to grow herbs and vegetables. There are many lessons to take into account as gardening progresses over the years, but the foundations that I learned from my mother are with me to this day, fifty years later.
A kid doesn’t understand much in terms of soil quality, temperature changes, and growing zones but as long as the conversation stays simple, then much can be learned. A kid can eventually understand why certain plants will work and others won’t but in the beginning, it’s just matter-of-fact. The keys are the technique and the process and simple explanations about why the seeds are only a fingertip’s length into the ground and lightly cover the seeds with soil. It was also important to know where you planted which variety of vegetables or herbs, so another chapter of the fun was in making the signs and putting them in the ground in front of the rows of planted seeds.
As the days and weeks roll by, the attention to detail and care and nurturing of the garden are part of life. When hot weather comes, we must water the garden in the morning or at night. When cold weather or harsh weather comes, we must try to cover the plants. During the summer we pick weeds around the plants, we loosen the soil around the plants and we fertilize the plants. Fertilizing the plants was always an adventure. My mother would make her own homemade compost, using dinner scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds and sometimes fish parts and we’d have a pile of rich, stinky stuff in the corner of the yard. Flies and worms and all sorts of creepy crawlies seemed to flock over there and there were reports of an occasional rodent making its way through there too.
When my mother prepared dinner and needed some herbs or vegetables for a dish, we’d gather a bowl or sack and walk out to the garden together to find the best produce for the meal. It was always exciting to walk through the garden with her, looking for a few ripe tomatoes or cucumbers, admiring the ones that were still growing and showing shades of yellow or green ad still just a few days away from being ready for picking. We’d fill the sack with ripe vegetables and sometimes find some peas to snack on while we were picking vegetables. I can still remember the fantastic taste of vine ripe peas plucked off the vine.
We’d gather an onion or some chives, a carrot or two, a radish perhaps and bring it all into the house and wash it off in the sink. The flavor of the vegetables was indescribable compared to the stuff that we’d have to buy at the grocery store. It was so much more flavorful and rich and the freshness was something I remember to this day. My mother still maintains a tiny garden at her new house, and we talk about our gardens whenever I call her. I’ve found that gardening for kids is still one of the most wonderful experiences I can pass down to my children and over the years my daughter and I have planted, taken care of and harvested some wonderful crops and I look forward to the day when she calls to tell me about her garden.
About The Author
My name is Arold. Having worked with the largest indoor and outdoor plants known as Costa Farms, home gardening is something that I’m drawn to. My blog: http://www.buildgreatfarms.com/
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Also published on Medium.