Hello fellow gardeners!
Spring has not yet sprung here in the mountains of West Virginia. Winter has been relentless, for the past past month we have had four nor’easters roll through. But with even more cold temperatures and the looming possibility of snow we are more determined than ever to start planning and planting our gardens.
No one seems more excited about seedlings and starting the gardens than my daughter and niece. It made me think about just how important it is to incorporate kids into the gardening community. My family grew up in this very rural region and always had large diverse gardens as a way of simply surviving and thriving. Teaching our children how to grow, maintain and harvest a garden should be just as important as learning how to do laundry, balance a checkbook or changing a tire.
Not only will they learn how to grow their own food but it will create excitement when you can eat what you have helped to grow. Making healthy choices will become easier when you can visualize the process and know where food comes from. The goal is to teach kids that gardening can be fun, rewarding and delicious. Involve them when choosing what to grow, give them options of what might work in your area, what partners well in the garden and what they would love to taste and cook with.
Having raised beds can make for easy cultivation and harvesting for little ones. Getting tools that are small and colorful can make work seem cool and fun. Give them small tasks from watering plants to picking a whole basket of veggies. Make it a game or challenge and everyone can participate and have a great time. You can even give them space for a garden all their own or invite their friends to hang out and help out. Spending time outdoors among the plants, flowers and dirt is quintessential for kids growing up in the country and should be for all children.
Children can learn more than just gardening, you can incorporate colors, tastes and smells into the process. Sneaking in reading to learn together and to have quality time as a family. Teaching them how to cook, about canning or even having them help at your local farmers market will enlighten kids about the importance of gardening. If they have the passion for gardening they won’t see it as work but as a way of healthy living. From toddlers to teenagers there is gardening fun for everyone!
So as the temperatures rise and the sun shines bright remember to bring the kids and have some fun growing little gardeners.
Here’s to hoping that April will have showers to bring May veggies and flowers!