"Any garden demands as much of its maker as he has to give. but I do not need to tell you, if you are a gardener, that no other undertaking will give as great a return for the amount of effort put into it." Elizabeth Lawrence, 1904-1985, Gardening For Love.
I absolutely cherish the moments that I get to be in the garden with our children. It is quality time that I feel will make a lasting impression on their lives and hopefully create memories for them of special moments with mom teaching them about how God makes all this great stuff happen! I love to see them planting seeds, transplanting a tomato plant in the garden, tilling up the good earth and feeling that soft, rich soil squish between their toes! My children love to feel that they have their own little space in the garden, to grow the things that interest them, to experiment and to harvest what they tended. It can be a challenge sometimes to include them. It is often just easier to do it ourselves and just getting it done. It will usually add on some minutes, well maybe even hours, with the little helpers involved! But what memories you will make, what happiness will beam in their eyes when they pull out that carrot from the seed 'they' planted. That smile, that gleam in the eye is worth more than all the saved minutes of just doing it our self. I love everything about gardening... yes even the back wrenching weeding & hoeing, the sun burnt back of my neck and the stiff arms... I love gardening!
Here are some fun ideas to incorporate your children into your gardening 'thyme' :-) !
Gardening With Your Children~
*Be sure to have child size tools for the little folks. You can purchase such items at just about any store that sells gardening supplies. Make them responsible for their tools- to put them back, keep them clean, and be careful when using. Add a name plaque where their tools belong in the potting shed or garage, make them feel special.
*Keeping them interested is another challenge, especially with the ones that aren't that interested. Allow them to choose what they would like to grow. Some suggestions would be giant sunflowers, pumpkins, decorative gourds or root crops. Radishes and lettuce are quick growers and can be 'encouraging' to the one that needs a little boost in interest. They are also available in multiple colors and sizes and can really encourage interest. If you choose a root crop I would suggest using some fun Heirloom things. Carrots for instance offer a multitude of shapes and colors, from Cosmic Purple to Lunar White and every shade of orange in between. Potatoes are also a fun crop. You can purchase red, white and even blue potatoes. Watch their eyes light up when they dig those potatoes.
*If you don't have a spot for a garden, let them Container Garden. You can use anything~ some fun things for the little people would be a wagon planted with some pansies, an old shoe with some Hen's & Chicks or any type of pot. They can plant herbs, flowers or veggies. Go back to my blog on Container Gardens in the archives to get more great ideas.
*Also in the archives you will find the blog with the Sunflower House so your child/ren can create a secret room or play house.
*Plant a cucumber plant; once the plant starts to form flowers it will not take long for it to start changing into a cucumber; once the cucumber is still small enough to fit into the hole of a 20oz. or so plastic bottle, carefully insert the cucumber into the hole. Make sure the bottle is clear; once the cucumber 'fills' the bottle, pluck it off the plant and carefully cut the bottle off! Presto, a bottle shaped cucumber. This would work with many types of veggies, try out a few and use different containers to make multiple shapes.
*If you grow a pumpkin plant, once the pumpkin is about 6 inches across, carefully scratch the child's name and a silly face into the skin being careful not to puncture. Over time as it grows, the drawing will grow right along with it!
*With a stick, trace the child's name into the soil in a planting area; sprinkle lettuce, radish or carrot seed in the name. Watch it grow!
*Be sure to take tons of pictures of your child in the garden and even photograph the planting, growing and harvesting process so those precious memories will not be forgotten.
Veggies On The Grill
As I have mentioned often, we love to grill and it is grilling season. I will probably be giving lots of grill time recipe's so if you don't have a grill, now's the time to get one!
4-6 large red skin potatoes from The Garden Gate Farm, washed & cut into chunks with skins on
1 yellow onion from Garden Gate, cut into slivers
1 clove of garlic from Garden Gate, minced
1 cup spinach leaves from Garden Gate, washed & trimmed into bite size pieces
1 cup of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Garden Gate
1 medium yellow squash from Garden Gate, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp. Matt's Mix Seasoning Salt
1/4 cup fresh Thyme from The Garden Gate
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. butter, diced
piece of foil wrap large enough to hold all ingredients and be folded over and sealed on top and sides.
1. In foil place all veggies; sprinkle evenly over top with seasoning and herb; drizzle Olive oil over top; put dobs of butter evenly dispersed over all.
2. Fold over the foil across the top and sides so it doesn't leak.
3. Place on top rack of grill and let cook about 45minutes to an hour.
This goes great with any type of meat, so grill some awesome T-bones from Garden Gate to go along with it, and let your taste buds be taken to an all new level!