Gardening roots run deep for me. It started when I was about 10 years old working after school at a nearby farm. It was early spring but still cold outside. I was making cuttings from coleus plants and rooting them in flats of wet sand. I used a dibbler, (wooden dowel with a pointed end) to punch a hole in the sand and then inserted the cutting into the hole.
Once rooted they were repotted and sold to customers at the plant stand out front. I remember it all so vividly. The wooden bench, the glass greenhouse, and the stillness. It was quiet and I had plenty of time to daydream about having my own garden one day. That was 43 years ago. I’ve been hooked on gardening ever since.
I’ve heard many gardeners share similar stories of their earliest experiences in the garden. From planting seeds in their grandparent’s backyard to raking leaves for a neighbor’s compost pile – something connects you to the earth and it takes root. From then on, you’re watching – watching plants grow, butterflies dance, and flowers bloom. You become aware of how the earth sustains us, provides for us and blooms right before our eyes.
Earth Day is This Week
Earth Day is Friday April 22, and celebrating the garden is what makes it special for me. Nurturing what grows and having a genuine respect for all living things is at the heart of Earth Day.
So this week, let’s focus on the joys of gardening and sharing that with children.
By introducing them to gardening at an early age, you’re planting the seeds that will hopefully take root for the rest of their lives. It’s never too late to start.
Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden. - Robert Brault
Suggested activites to do with children
- Tour a nursery together and ask them to point out the flowers they like best, then plant them together.
- Visit the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Children love to watch butterflies.
- Talk with your children about where their food comes from when you’re grocery shopping.
- Start a vegetable garden, even if it’s in a container. Grow beans. They’re easy to grow and germinate fast. Kids love to watch them sprout.
- Plant a butterfly garden.
- Share the magic of propagation – root a cutting in a glass of water. Try coleus, ivy, or Philodendron.
- Buy rich, sweet compost and spread it around by hand. It smells wonderful.
- Worms are good! Check your garden beds together for worm activity. If you see worms, odds are your soil is healthy.
- Talk about the seasons and how they play an essential role in circle of life in the garden. Spring’s new growth, summer’s flowers and fruits, autumn’s fallen leaves, and winter’s blanket for compost that recharges the earth for spring.
- Recycle your yard waste. Start a compost pile. Even a $5 compost bin (see link below on how to build one) works well for composting leaves and grass clippings.
- Choose garden products that are suited for kids.
Not a gardener and need some help? Come by and visit us at Buchanan’s. We’ve got lots of ideas and all the basics to get your family started. You’ll find our informative signs just about everywhere. Bring the kids and discover something new.
Make this week the beginning of a gardening journey you share with your children. Help them plant some roots and get connected. It may very well be the memories that bloom with them for a lifetime.
Here are some helpful links for more information about Earth Day and Kid’s Gardening:
Composting for kids (PDF – slide show) from Texas A&M site.