04 Feb Little Buds
My favorite ones are the budding gardeners. Often they are miniatures of us. If you’re a teacher, they are your daily delight in your classroom. If you’re a neighbor, it’s the young one meandering over when you’re “playing in your dirt”. If you’re a mom or dad, as soon as they’ve graduated from eating the dirt, you can begin to introduce them to flora (not me, of course) and fauna. If you’re a Grandmom/dad, you have an “in” with certain buds (aka grandchildren), who love you unconditionally and can’t wait to come to your house. A few hints to make their journey into vegetable gardening pleasant and anticipated:
Planting-When it’s time to plants seeds, prepare the soil first. Guide them in planting but let them drop in the seeds, cover and water them. Fast growing varieties are best since their favorite activity will be watching for growth. Think radishes, lettuce, onion sets and corn, for example.
Compost-Teach them composting by letting them put coffee grounds or other compost into the bed. Even better, grow one container without compost and see if they can later see differences between the two areas.
Care-K.I.S.S- Keep it simple, silly. A 4 year old will love using a small watering can and caring for the veggies that “need a drink”.
Pollination-Talk to them about the birds and the bees-the ones who come and pollinate the blooms. Planting flowers that will attract bees, such as lavender, roses, pincushions, etc. to your garden will help with this.
Their Favorite Part-When it comes time to harvest your treasures, let them eat fresh from the vine (after washing the fruit, of course). Nothing is sweeter than a cherry tomato, crisp green bean, or a warmed-from-the-sun strawberry.
Storing-Don’t make them sit on a kitchen stool for hours helping you “put up” the crops. Keep it pleasant.
Clean-Up-When summer is over, teach them to pull the vines, compost the remains and prepare the garden for winter (in small manageable times), then top off the activity with a cup of their favorite drink-and time to sit and talk to you.
Remember budding gardeners will someday grow up to be grownups with buds of their own, and it won’t surprise you to hear a conversation someday that begins: “When I was little, I used to help someone plant and grow a garden…what buds we were!”