We aren’t all gardeners.
I realize that gardening isn’t for everyone. I realize that getting dirty, the trial and error, the sometimes lack of produce, and hard work that gardening can take isn’t for everyone. I get it.
BUT, I also realize what planting a small something, how offering a pot and some seeds to a little one, can teach something spectacular and open up a world of conversations to be had about the Earth and how we treat it.
It is important to plant with children even if it is one seed in one small container because you offer them so much more than that.
As you start the process of planting even the smallest of gardens, here are 13 questions, 13 conversations, 13 reasons that even the smallest of the small means something.
1. What does a plant do for the earth? Pick your favorite plant in your yard and talk about it and what it offers. Does that large tree provide shade for you in the summer? Does the beautiful hydrangea near your porch provide joy every time you walk past? Do you breathe cleaner because of the oxygen that the shrubs surrounding your home provide? Think about these plants in a different light.
2. Where do your vegetables and fruits come from? Do they start off as seeds as small as the one that you are sowing? How long does it take them to grow into plants that can be enjoyed?
3. What do plants like to eat? How do they get their nutrients? Talk about compost piles and if you are feeling ambitious, plan how you can start one.
4. What is the difference between organic and non-organic? These terms are heard so much in our society today. We should be talking to our children and telling them what it means.
5. What is an heirloom vegetable? One favorite in our house is the heirloom tomatoes that we get from our CSA every year. We talk about what this means and why they are “special”.
6. Can a flower be watered too much? What is too much? What is the difference between watering a flower in a pot vs. in the ground?
7. What do plants do for the bees? Talk about why bees are important to the environment. How does planting flowers help the bee populations survive?
8. What are weeds? Why is important to stop them from coming up around the flowers that you plant? What do weeds take from the plants? What are some natural ways to get rid of them? What is the best way to pull a weed?
9. What is the best time of day to water plants in the summer? Talk about evaporation and how the sun heats up the earth.
10. What do the instructions mean on your seed packet? Talk about whether your seed needs more sun or shade. Does your plant need to be inside before it goes outside?
11. Why are some bugs important to your plant? Ladybugs, Roly Polys, these are bugs that help our plants out! Talk about different insects and why they may be beneficial. Do they eat other insects that may be harming your plants? Do they breakdown decaying organic matter in the soil? Let your kids see insects in their spotlight!
12. What are the different parts of the plant? What is the importance of each one?
13. What is soil? What is it made of? Why does one soil look different from another?
Bottom line is: After you have planted one single seed and talked about these questions, not only did you each learn things you may not have known before BUT you got to spend so much time together doing it. Growing, gardening, however small, is kind of an amazing process and something all kids should be a part of in one way or another. Let them get their hands dirty!
Every year, we do plant a garden. I have both an in ground garden and a container garden. Each year it gets bigger. This year, it will be getting smaller. We are moving and right in the middle of growing season (man, I didn’t plan that well). Things will be done differently this year. I will be transporting my pots and containers up to New England when I go and hoping for the best. In the meantime, as small as our garden will be, we will dream big, dream of new land to sow, a new garden to plant, and new things to learn together.
Check out my other Journey to Green Posts this month!