Just finished planting the corn with my oldest niece. (11) I'd prepped the soil late this winter and helped her thoroughly weed out intrusive grass. Then we spread a poster board template out. She dropped the corn through the holds and pushed it into the ground. Supposed to get a lot of rain this week, so she's been told she has to water every day until it rains.
Put my foot down with the younger one.(almost 10) Told her if she didn't want to take care of her flower garden that I could take it back over. I know exactly what I'd plant there. So she weeded the grass out of the edge of it. Just realized I need to drag her pepper plant out so we can plant it in the ground. It's survived in a pot since early last year.
My son is two, so he enjoys planting tons of pea seeds into the same few inches (I give him a pea and then he plants it...usually in the same spot). He also tries to help plant my radish seeds, and takes big pinches and puts them all int the same area...or accidentally dumps the container onto the ground. I've taken to giving him his own container of seeds while I have mine, and then I go back and try to poke in the radish seeds he didn't "tuck in," and move and replant as many of the seeds as I can in the areas where he coated the ground with them.
He also enjoys helping me dig, but usually digs in the wrong place. But, hey, he's interested in the garden, he's learning, he's two, he can't mess things up *that* much, and I can get stuff done while he "helps." He also knows not to dig or play in the gardens once we plant things there, which is a big plus. As he ages, though, there will of course be higher expectations and responsibilities. But, for now, he's two, and enjoying the wonder of the garden .
I teach "growing green things" to a K-8 school in the Interlake region of Manitoba, Canada. We start our own plants from seed and have 6 raised bed gardens. We harvest in the fall, when we come back to school. All summer family volunteers water and observe the gardens. We will be incorporating a small greenhouse/hoophouse structure into the "classes" this year, and making a sunflower meditation circle. I have to say I was very surprised that the farm kids in the classes didn't know anything about actually growing their own food. Only two of them "helped Gramma in the garden". My own kids grew up in the soil. It disturbed me enough that I started this program at their school. My youngest is in grade 7 and the principal hopes I will stay on for ever. There are so many things to teach kids about real life while you are gardening.
The K-1 class will grow "salad in a bowl", the 2-3 class I'm not sure yet, the 4-6 class will be growing Tea Boxes: they have to research their chosen plants and present why they are good for you, (nothing like introducing herbalism at this age!), they will start their plants from seed, with me planting extras for the "just in case" accidents. The 7-8 class grows the Spaghetti Garden Box or the Chili Garden Box, their choice. They start all their own plants from seed. If there is a "crop failure" they have to figure out how to make it work, or find substitutions to grow. These boxes are for sale at our Spring Tea and raise money for more garden program stuff. The raised gardens usually have a theme, like the Purple Stew Garden, the Three Sisters Garden.
Kids need to be in the gardens as soon as they can. Both of mine were in the gardens before they could walk. Yeah, they ate a fair amount of dirt and destroyed a lot of veggies and herbs. They learned...eventually...
If you ask my son he will tell you he is a farmer. Hard to argue with him. He's out there with his shovel same as I am. Little guy farms. Daughter is more of an "I'll only go outside if I don't actually have to touch my feet to the ground", so not a farmer.
I'd say 90% of the garden will be planted with the help of my 3 and 5 year old. It will also be harvested with them. I drag a line in the dirt and the kids drop the seeds in and what grows grows. I suppose it helps that I'm super laid back about basically everything, except TV. Hate TV.
My four-year-old gardens with me in our front yard garden. He enjoys planting and harvesting (and feeding leaves to the soil) as much as I do. It's one of the highlights of my life when I see him squatting in front of the grape vine to have a snack or to see him hunting for blueberries or pears when they come ripe. Several times a day, he'll pull me from the computer and ask me to "come see the garden," and it's so good for me.
Just started harvesting corn from Jazmyn's small corn plot. Jazmyn was diligent about going out making sure pollen was transferred from male to female flowers. All of them turned out beautifully colorful, and the only one we've found with no kernels had the culprit still inside. Some of the ears were as much as six inches long.
Jazmyn's very happy with her harvest and is going to be eagerly watching the last few ears as they dry. After we're confident everything is completely dry we'll try putting the first whole cob in the microwave for popping.
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