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You know you're raising them right when...

 
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You know you're raising your kids right when you give your four-year old son a seed catalog, a pen, and a pack of sticky notes for their quiet time, and they happily start looking for and marking down what are their favorite seeds :D
Seed-catalogue-raising-kids-right-permaculture.jpg
child picking seeds from catalog
 
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Do your kids have an area where they get to plant the seeds they picked out?
 
Nicole Alderman
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We made a garden bed for my son last year, when he was three (https://permies.com/t/58238/critters/garden-soil-poultry-poop-pine#555518):

Here's a picture of him and my husband making it:


And here it is with the radishes and peas sprouting up last spring:



It was actually our best producing garden bed last year. He chose to plant all red plants (red carrots, "red" green beans, red radishes, russian red kale, red sorrel, tomatoes, strawberries,, red fushias,  and red onions--the bed already had a red huckleberry bush, so we kept it). The radishes self-seeded, and we've already got some sprouting up! This year he wants to plant rutabegas. I find having him pick his own varieties is a fun way to try out new plants and varieties. I normally wouldn't try planting something that I don't think will grow and stick to varieties known to do well in our area, but if he wants to try, I'm all about it!

He also has his own apple tree that we planted on his first birthday (https://permies.com/t/40003/Tree-Plant-Baby-Birthday. This picture was from two years ago. I need to take a new picture with him by it!





My daughter doesn't have her own garden quite yet, but she's only one. For her birthday, we planted her an Orcas pear (https://permies.com/t/69253/Pear-Tree-Daughter-Birthday)





There's room by her tree for a garden when she's a year or two older. Right now, I've got the area covered in feed sacks and woodchips to nourish  it...and smother the salmon berries, blackberries, and buttercup that were growing there before.
 
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Nicole, just curious, did your son pick out things he like to eat?  Or did he pick some new ones to try?  If so, did he like them?
 
Nicole Alderman
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A mix of both, I think... Let me remember...

  • He'd never eaten little round radishes, but picked them out and really liked them.
  • He already liked eating green onions, and loved eating the green stems from his red onions.
  • He'd picked out red carrots, and he likes carrots, but the red ones were less sweet and he did NOT like them (he ate all the orange carrots I'd planted elsewhere)
  • .
  • He did NOT like the red kale--it didn't matter where it grew.
  • He already liked tomatoes, and enjoyed the ones he planted.
  • He loved peas, and loved eating the ones he'd planted--the same with "green" beans.


  • So, really, it seems that he was not more inclined to eat things from his garden than things in other gardens (he was slightly more likely to try them, but not to keep eating them if he didn't like them). But, he already loved munching from things I planted and grew--like green onions, peas, carrots and green beans, and beet greens. But, he was always more likely to eat vegetables if we were outside playing/gardening, than if I put them on a plate inside for him to eat.

    In the case of my boy, it seems that it's just having food growing outside--doesn't matter who picked it or where it's growing--that gets him to eat it.
     
    steward
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    ... when you go to see why they are being so quiet, and you find them reading quietly to each other.  

    ... when they can name damn near every plant species, wild and cultivated, on many different landscapes.

    ... when they school their grandparents on the reasons not to monocrop their veggie gardens.

     
    Nicole Alderman
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    You know you're raising them right when...you're harvesting the kale no one wants to eat, to turn it into kale chips, and both kids come over and start eating the kale they usually won't touch. They won't eat them off the plant, but if mama is putting them in that bowl, they figure the kale has to be good.

    You know you're raising them right when... your 4 year old son teaches your 1.5 year old daughter which plants are good, and so they're both eating walking onions, chocolate mint, dandelion flowers and leaves, and chives. And, your son is trying to convince your daughter to pick that dandelion flower so he can eat it, because he knows he's supposed to save the rest of the flowers for the bees, but his sister hasn't had any and she'll just give hers to him, LOL!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    When your husband has a really bad sprained ankle, so you're making a comfrey/turmeric poultice in hopes it will help, and your four-year old son suddenly runs out the door....and returns with a big comfrey leaf from under his apple tree, to add to the poultice. He then goes and gets a dandelion flower to add to it, and helps run the food processor to chop it all up. I'm so proud of my son for not only knowing what comfery is and what it's for, but for also help in making his Dada better! ♥
     
    pollinator
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    I've gotta ask.  Where di you learn about the comfrey/tumeric poultice?  Are there specific places on these forums i should be looking?  Sorry still new to the forums.
     
    Anne Miller
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    Jonathan, welcome to permies!


    I can't answer for Nicole though here are a couple of threads on comfrey:


    https://permies.com/t/1174/comfrey


    https://permies.com/t/54477/Comfrey-Hype
     
    Jonathan Ward
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    Thanks.  Mostly new here and city bound right now.  Grew up on 13.5acres in southern illinois as a kid and almost wish i could go back to it.  Trying to learn as much as i can.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Jonathan Ward wrote:I've gotta ask.  Where di you learn about the comfrey/tumeric poultice?  Are there specific places on these forums i should be looking?  Sorry still new to the forums.



    I'd read that comfrey was good for broken bones and helps speed healing, and that turmeric is an antinflamatory. I also looked up "sprained ankle poultice" and saw turmeric on the list. There were other herbs/ingredients listed, but I didn't have them. I have LOTS of turmeric (there was a 1 pound bag for like $5 at our local discout grocery store) and comfery growing outside, so I used them together.

    One of my favorite  threads about the healing power of herbs is this one: Juno's Story: An Herbal Wound Case

    The whole medicinal herb forum on permies is a great place for information about this sort of thing (and, this is kind of a secret, but in a short while, we'll be having a book giveaway on an excellent herb book!)
     
    Jonathan Ward
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    Awesome.  Thanks for the amazing information.  I'll start reading through those two pages you gave me.  I think i'm an information hoarder lol.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Jonathan Ward wrote: I think i'm an information hoarder lol.



    I think most of us here are!
     
    gardener
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    Yes! I love the joy of seeing them take on the garden as their own!

    You know you're raising them right....

    ...when they think chewing dandelion out of the garden is better than the food in the fridge.

    ...when they spend time rescuing wormies and rollypollies even though they have a natural fear of creepy crawly things.

    ....when their friends come over and ask to eat snack out of the garden instead of the juice popsicles in the freezer.

    ...when your seedling planting mix soil is all over their arms, because you turned away two seconds and it feels good.

    ...when they rescue oak trees starting to root in wood piles or planter beds.

    ...when they ask you if maple seeds are edible, forcing you to research and find out they are.

    ...when they would rather hang out outside than watch a computer inside.

     
    Nicole Alderman
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    When you're eating dates with your kids, and your son says, "What color do date pits make? Like if you use them to color clothing?"

    Today I learned the date pits act as both a colorant and mordant. Haven't figured out WHAT colors they make yet, though!
     
    pollinator
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    • When your son hears you describing "Supernatural" and the Lucifer quote "There are only about five things in the universe that gun won't kill, I just happen to be one of them" and yells from another room "and Chuck Norris is another!"

    • When the same kid casually tells the lady cutting his hair that peppers only have around a 5% outcross rate, in a conversation that probably started with "How's your garden doing?"
     
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    When they know the Latin names of the most common trees on the walk to school and can tell you which are better for burning and which for making tools. And, rather embarrassingly, your 7 year old's teacher says he keeps her right on science questions with the introduction "Actually, Mrs Teacher ........." (At least he told her privately, after the lesson to the whole class.)
     
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    When you discover your youngest (the one that didn't like to read) has memorized the entire Birds of Michigan book, and now tells you what every bird she sees is, and whatever interesting facts there are to know about it...

    When the children's definition of spring is eating the first batch of dandelion fritters, and the start of summer is defined as the first taste of daylily rangoon...

    When you are dressing a rabbit, and your oldest daughter walks up behind you, takes one look, and tells you what step you forgot and are about to skip...

     
    pollinator
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:We made a garden bed for my son last year, when he was three



    I'm so glad I came across this comment of yours just now! My daughter just turned 3 in November and I was debating whether now was too early or not to have her tend to her own garden... I mostly just wanted her to quit digging in the dirt in my garden immediately after I plant seeds and was hoping this would help.

    I feel like where she is now having her own garden is a little pre-mature but I know there is such a huge difference between how she'll be developmentally at freshly 3 versus 4 years old when the garden will just finally start slowing down next Fall.

    Just sad I didn't see this message sooner so I'd get the idea to prep a bed earlier, but I'll do it now :)
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    I came on to share a story of what happened today, I was going to make a new thread for story sharing but perhaps it would fit nicely on this one instead :D

    This isn't something my daughter did to show me I was 'raising her right' but it still involved raising her right so...

    We're in the suburbs right now so we go out in the front for a bike ride on the sidewalk and she stopped dead in her tracks and seemed pretty fearful going 'snake! snake!"
    Silly me, I walked over there and saw a piece of twine and told her "oh it's just twine! Not a snake, see?" As I picked it up.
    She was completely uninterested and kept saying snake...

    Well lo' and behold there was a dead lizard right in front of her little bike that I totally missed.... oooooh.
    "Oh that's not a snake. It's a dead lizard. See?" As I removed it from the concrete where its bodily glue had kept it nice and still.

    She seemed quite scared.

    "It's alright, I'll just throw it in these bushes here. That way the little microbes that live in the soil under the bushes will take the dead lizard and break its body up to feed the soil"

    And my little girl just goes "STOOOOOOPPPP!!!"

    I'm not sure what I was expecting talking about decomposing bodies to a young 3 year old.. but there you go lol

    I guess I was a little overly zealous in teaching her about soil biology!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:

    Nicole Alderman wrote:We made a garden bed for my son last year, when he was three



    I'm so glad I came across this comment of yours just now! My daughter just turned 3 in November and I was debating whether now was too early or not to have her tend to her own garden... I mostly just wanted her to quit digging in the dirt in my garden immediately after I plant seeds and was hoping this would help.

    I feel like where she is now having her own garden is a little pre-mature but I know there is such a huge difference between how she'll be developmentally at freshly 3 versus 4 years old when the garden will just finally start slowing down next Fall.

    Just sad I didn't see this message sooner so I'd get the idea to prep a bed earlier, but I'll do it now :)



    It's never too late to start a garden bed! I dug around a bit and finally found the thread where we built my son's (Can I make garden soil out of just poultry poop and pine shavings?). I've found that, in practice, even though my kids are now 5 & 8, most of the gardening work falls on my shoulders. Honestly, I think the kids gardens (and yes, they both have at least 2 at this point. Both have a flower garden, as well as their own gardens, and then they claim new gardens when we can't fit all their stuff into their original gardens), are just an excuse for me to put in more garden beds and grow fun varieties. I do put a lot of tasty perenials into their gardens, too, so they have low-maintence stuff they love to just browse on.

    My kids LOVE their gardens. And, they LOVE picking out seeds for it. I tend to just pick tried-and-true seeds, but the kids like to innovate and try new things, and I've run across some really lovely varieties simply because my kids wanted to try them. I honestly think there's no right or wrong way/time to start a kids garden. I think we started my daughter's when she was 2? (Yep, I was right! I basically formed her garden via Ruth Stout gardening, as pictured here). Neither kid used their garden as places to dig and play, but they sure loved planting peas and pulling up radishes and talking about their gardens!

    I hope your daughter loves her garden in her own special way!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Rebecca Blake wrote:
    I'm not sure what I was expecting talking about decomposing bodies to a young 3 year old.. but there you go lol

    I guess I was a little overly zealous in teaching her about soil biology!



    Hahaha! My son went through a phase, I think when he was 3 or so, when he decided it would be good if more of our ducks died so that there would be more "nutrients for the garden" (we'd had a few sadly die, and buried them under fruit trees so they would be nutrients for the garden). We quickly explained that while we want to respect the animals that die and nourish the garden with their bodies, we don't want to end their lives just to feed the trees....
     
    Rebecca Blake
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:

    Rebecca Blake wrote:
    I'm not sure what I was expecting talking about decomposing bodies to a young 3 year old.. but there you go lol

    I guess I was a little overly zealous in teaching her about soil biology!



    Hahaha! My son went through a phase, I think when he was 3 or so, when he decided it would be good if more of our ducks died so that there would be more "nutrients for the garden" (we'd had a few sadly die, and buried them under fruit trees so they would be nutrients for the garden). We quickly explained that while we want to respect the animals that die and nourish the garden with their bodies, we don't want to end their lives just to feed the trees....



    I don’t literally laugh out loud much, but I did just then! That is too funny!
     
    master pollinator
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    I virtually attended the Garden Master class held at Wheaton Labs last week. It was all day every day all week and I expected the kids (who are homeschooled) to go off and play and enjoy some free time for the week while I did the class, which they did... some of the time.

    You know you're raising them right, when they keep listening in over your shoulder and asking insightful questions about what they hear and then teach their dad interesting facts when he comes home from work. And then on the third day of class, you leave to get something and come back a minute later to find your 10 yo sitting in your chair and he tells you that you don't get the chair back. So the two of you listen for over an hour to a lecture on beneficial vs harmful (to gardens) bugs and how to ID them and provide habitat for them. And for the times the kids are busy doing other things, when the lectures are done for the day, they ask you to share what you learned that day and how we are going to implement it in the garden.
     
    Jenny Wright
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    Just sitting here staring at my sleeping baby and noticing she has a yellow face. She has discovered that dandelions are delicious and she thinks the flowers are so soft that she has taken to rubbing them gently against her face.
    She even fusses if people don't rub the proffered flower against their own faces and she will take it back to demonstrate the proper way to enjoy a dandelion and then hand it back to the person for them to try it.
    20220406_115917.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20220406_115917.jpg]
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Hahaha! It reminds me of the time my mom picked my daughter a lovely rose from her garden, and my daughter promptly started munching on it. Flowers are food!
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    My husband is a little sick, so I thought I'd make chicken soup. I sent my 5 year old daughter outside to get herbs, she then decided to expand that to vegetables. Then my 8 year old son joined in. Together they gathered:

    - Kale
    - Sage
    - Sorrel
    - Sweet Cicily
    - Garlic chives
    - Dandelion flowers
    - Salmonberry leaves
    - Radishes (from their own garden!)

    I don't know how it'll taste, but I do know I'm proud of them! Every single thing they brought in was edible!
    20220430_180709-1-.jpg
    I never would have thought to put dandelions or salmonberry leaves in soup! We'll see how it tastes!
    I never would have thought to put dandelions or salmonberry leaves in soup! We'll see how it tastes!
     
    Jenny Wright
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:My husband is a little sick, so I thought I'd make chicken soup. I sent my 5 year old daughter outside to get herbs, she then decided to expand that to vegetables. Then my 8 year old son joined in. Together they gathered:

    - Kale
    - Sage
    - Sorrel
    - Sweet Cicily
    - Garlic chives
    - Dandelion flowers
    - Salmonberry leaves
    - Radishes (from their own garden!)

    I don't know how it'll taste, but I do know I'm proud of them! Every single thing they brought in was edible!


    I could see that tasting good! Let us know how it was. 😊
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    It was good! I was worried it might be a bit bitter from the radishes and dandelion, but it was not at all! The kids ate it happily, which makes it a true success!

    homemade chicken soup with radishes, kale, and edible weeds.
    My husband named the soup 'Kid Soup.' It was surprisingly good
     
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