Kids in the garden: I can’t keep them out!

June 28, 2013 | 8:06 am

I cannot keep these two girls out of the garden! They want to plant, weed, and harvest, and thankfully the plants aren’t affected by all of the noise they make. The chatter goes something like this: “Can we pick the broccoli?” “Is this one a weed?” “It’s my turn to use the hoe!” “I can’t see it?” “Why is there a flower?” “What’s that?” “Is that a spider?” “Where did it go?” “How many seeds can I have?” “That’s a prickly weed! How did it get prickly?” “I’m thirsty.” This week, I actually got whacked by the hoe while getting drilled with questions. I was pulling weeds, and my four year old insisted on helping by hoeing in the same row. Ouch! Apparently, there are hazards when gardening with kids.  Honestly, I love it! I am glad to have this time to teach through the garden.

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.

–          Robert Brault

This week’s harvest included broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce. The peas are close – can’t wait!  Potatoes and tomatoes have blooms, and the sweet corn grew over two inches. Right now most of my time in the garden is spent maintaining: looking for insects and any resulting damage, looking for nutrient deficiencies, controlling weeds, and watering.  My goal is to produce nutritious vegetables to feed my family and maintain healthy soil that will provide vegetables season after season.  For example, the onions, as you can see from the picture, are growing great. I want to maximize their growth while producing a nutrient rich food. In order to achieve this, I lightly fertilize every seven to ten days. Feeding the garden with fertilizer provides the plant the nutrients it needs to make an onion full of nutrients and also keeps the soil fertile. Healthy vegetables and healthy soil do not occur all on their own, as gardeners we have to be involved in the process. Just like parenting: our kids need to be guided and nourished; they would struggle without a parent’s involvement.

Gardening with my three girls may have its challenges, but the benefits in the knowledge and skills they learn are worth the few annoyances that occur while we are in the garden together. Plus, we get fresh healthy food to eat!