Just for Fun – Planting with the Kids :)

Another adventure with the youngest grand kids that was fun.  They do grow quickly and there’s a lot one can miss when not there.

Mr Smiley, otherwise known as Gabe, is adorable and at 7  months he’s beginning to eat things like rice and some fruits .  Miss Sophia, an energetic almost 3,  is a hoot.  Very vocal and interested in just about everything!  Especially playing soccer on the lawn.

She also helped us shop, she loves to go shopping… for vegetables and fruits at the farmers’ market, acclaiming with delight at all the wonderful vegetables and “punkin” seeds.  She now knows the names of many fruits, veggies and plants.

What a wonderful opportunity to teach her – or any child –  about vegetables and fruits and how they help her grow strong and smart and healthy.   If you take your kids to a farmers’ market they may begin to understand how those wonderful foods are grown.

One thing you can do, now that Spring has sprung, is either buy some seeds and plant them in your garden…if you haven’t a garden, consider clay pots and window sills for planting in the house.  It’s an exciting adventure to watch a plant grow from a seed.  Even for adults.

Or, if you are not sure about seeds, get a few seedlings, the tiny little plants like basil, parsley or chives.  Those are usually very hardy and will grow just about anywhere.  And they are edible, which makes them all the more rewarding, especially for kids.   Do explain that NOT ALL plants are edible please, especially for little ones.

I remember the first time we planted something we could eat.  My kids were about 5 & 2 and their most annoyingly wonderful questions were, ” How long does it take to grow?  Why is it taking so long?”   And every day they would check the pots to see if anything had sprouted.

They got to water the plants and learn that they needed food too.  Good chance to teach them  gardening and responsibility for their project.

When we finally, after about 7-10 days saw some teeeny green leaves beginning to surface,  that was amazing.  A triumph for them.  They began to see their work (preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering) coming to fruition – well, beginning to anyway.

It was exciting and they loved watching the leaves grow and change into a mature plant that we used for cooking, especially the basil.  Smelled and tasted wonderful too.

If you plant even one little pot of basil or parsley, the rewards are amazing.  If they really grow well, you may need to transplant in to larger pots.  Planning ahead for success doesn’t hurt and you can always surprise your gardening geniuses with a new plant, pot and extra soil as a reward for their work.

It is wonderful how good those fresh little veggies taste compared with much of the stuff we get from the store…especially tomatoes.  All my friends agree, there’s a vast difference in the aroma and taste of a tomato fresh from the garden and the store-bought kind – even the organic ones.  It’s work that’s well rewarded at harvest time!

Just as a side, I am no expert in gardening.  But I have found if I follow the instructions on the seed packet and the informative hints from the local garden shop staff, I’m able to grow delicious greens, herbs, and yes, tomatoes too.  It is soooo satisfying to walk out on my patio and grab a handful of arugula, lettuce and a tomato from my pots and make salad from the “garden”.

Impresses the heck out of guests, even when they too have a garden.  In the mountains, our growing season is preciously short, so the rewards are treasured.   Take a few moments and thank Mom Nature for what you are able to plant and then reap the rewards with gratitude.   I improves the flavor you can savor and share with your neighbor…

Happy Spring!