Dirt. Sunshine. Children’s laughter. It was a perfect recipe for starting a garden.
I don’t grow things. I can’t even keep cut flowers alive for more than a day. I bought one of those already planted strawberry plants once. Somehow, it grew mold. And not one strawberry.
My friend doesn’t grow things either. But she rents from a farmer who gave her a huge area to use for a garden. She invited a few of her friends to plant stuff. I bought some seed packets on a whim at the grocery store. I’m not even sure it’s anything I’ll eat if it grows, like yellow beans and a kind of lettuce I’ve never heard of.
My friend was smart. She bought tomato plants, so she doesn’t have to make sure the seeds actually germinate. She inadvertently bought 48 plants, however. It’s good thing tomatoes are so versatile and healthy for you!
I have fond memories of “helping” in the garden. My mom had this little plot in the backyard. She always bordered it with marigolds. She planted rhubarb, which grew like crazy but only tastes good in pie. She also planted potatoes. Potatoes were the most fun to harvest. My sisters and I would just dig in the dirt until we found the golden lumps and piled them in the grass. I think she grew green beans too, because I remember snapping piles of them into large aluminum bowls.
So this past weekend, three adults and four kids, aged 2 to 8, started their own garden. The kids used their measuring skills, as we tried to plant the seeds at the recommended depth and space them out evenly. They used their best brawn to dig holes for the seeds and plants. They gently coaxed tender young plants out of their plastic holders and placed them in the ground, covering them to just the right height with loose soil.
I have no idea what kind of work is involved in taking care of a garden. I know what weeding is, and it’s not very fun. I’m hoping mother nature will take care of a lot of watering. Most of all I hope that something edible is produced in the garden. It would be great if we had tons of tomatoes, broccoli, beans, carrots, lettuce, and melons.
I want my kids to learn that you literally reap what you sow. Even when your contribution seems so tiny, like a carrot seed, with care and patience, it can yield something large and beautiful. It wouldn’t hurt if it helped them eat their vegetables, either.