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It was my dad that introduced me to vegetable gardening and my grandfather that introduced him. Where it started, in my family, prior to my grandfather, I have no idea, but one thing is for sure, and that is our family loves to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
Now that I have two sons of my own, I have been introducing them to it and thus far, they seem to love it. I recently read an article in Parents Magazine that gave a piece of helpful advice on spending more time with your kids, and that was to incorporate your children with the activities that you are doing. For example, changing the batteries in the smoke detectors. While I change them batteries, I have my kids hand them to me. That sort of thing.
I put this piece of advice to the test for gardening. The other day I was outside getting the garden ready for the upcoming season. In past years, I would just go out and do what needed to get done. This year, I decided to get the kids involved.
Luckily, my kids have their own garden tools, compliments of Grand mom. This makes the process of getting them involved a whole lot easier. The specific project I was working on was to remove the dirt from a large box that I built a few years ago to grow potatoes in, and put that dirt back in the main garden.
I grabbed my trusty shovel and asked them if they wanted to help to get out their shovels. They are young, so of course I wasn’t expecting much in actually speeding up the job, but I was pleasantly surprised as to how excited they were to use their tools, dig in the box and take the dirt over to the main garden. Surprisingly, most of the dirt on their shovels actually made it over there.
My next incorporating advice was to see if they would like planting the seeds. I always start most of my seeds indoors in a propagation dome and use my kids’ leftover yogurt cups (as well as mom and dad’s k-cups), filled with soil from my garden. This project was 3 fold, of which, I “let” them do all the work.
With plastic spoons in hand, a Tupperware bowl filled with soil from my garden, the kids were to fill each seed starting cup with soil. Needless to say they loved it, although my youngest at times felt it was more fun to fill the seed starting cups by hand. I’ll save that story for another time.
Once the cups were filled, I gave them each some seeds they were to plant. They were different varieties of lettuce and spinach. I then showed them how to pinch the seeds with their fingers so they did not put too many seeds in each cup. They got the idea, however, some of the cups did get a lot of seeds. On a side note, I hope the neighbors like Oakleaf lettuce.
Finally, I had them cover the seeds with a little more soil and give it a watering. I did the watering. Visions of flooding my kitchen floor danced through my head.
This was a great project for my kids and was fun for them and for me to watch. It was all about showing my kids how to get the seeds started and they really took to it. My oldest son looks at the seed cups everyday to see if anything has sprouted. He is really getting into it and that is awesome!
Now wait until I show them how much fun weeding is in the middle of July!
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us, the moderator for the largest vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the monthly Seeds Club.
Watch the video below to learn more about Mike`s Seeds of the Month Club: