Raise Children in Your Garden


Two Children Eating Garden Vegetables

Along with vegetables and flowers, raise a few children in your garden. Don’t keep all that gardening pleasure to yourself. Share it with the children in your life. Children enjoy learning new things, they delight in seeing things grow, and they love to play in the dirt. Gardening can benefit them in so many ways.

Immune Boost

But they’ll get dirty! Of course they will, and it will be good for them. Dr. Mary Ruebush, immunologist and author of Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends, counts letting kids play in the dirt as the start of building their immune systems.

“Let your child be a child,” she says. “Dirt is good. If your child isn’t coming in dirty every day, they’re not doing their job. They’re not building their immunological army. So it’s terribly important.” (CBS News, 2009).

Eating Tour and Other Garden Activities

Children are enthralled with everyday miracles. Teach them to plant radish or bean seeds and to watch for the first green leaves to poke through the soil. Give them a ruler and notepad and they’ll be in the garden every day measuring how tall their plants are growing.

Take them on an eating tour of the garden picking fresh vegetables and edible flowers to munch along the way. Ask them to describe what each thing tastes like. Try combinations of edibles as you tour the garden:  beans wrapped in basil leaves, or cherry tomatoes tucked into okra flowers. The act of picking their meal right off the plants causes children to try new foods that wouldn’t stand a chance on their plate.

10/28/2020 1:00:54 PM

Hi Linda, What joy that your son is enjoying growing food with you and delighting in the mystery and magic of the garden. The two of you may enjoy reading some of my earlier gardening posts on Mother Earth Gardener, especially the three part series that starts with Lazy Gardening-Eliminating the Weeds: https://www.motherearthgardener.com/garden/lazy-gardening-part-one-eliminating-weeds-zb0z2003 I'd love to hear more about your gardening journey together as you continue to share the joy of gardening with your son! Sheryl

10/26/2020 10:42:22 PM

About every day this season my 9-year-old son couldn't wait to do our daily "garden check". We have numerous vegetable gardens that we check up on, including our mystery garden that we created in one of our flowerbeds from the vegetable seeds that fell to the bottom of our vegetable seed bag. Garden checks are now the highlights of both our days. My son now knows as much about growing food as I do and will have these skills and these memories throughout his life. While I always tried to get my children to share my love of gardening in the past, I was unsuccessful until this year. The big difference this year was eliminating my own stresses around gardening, especially the weeding. I deployed weeding robots in each of my gardens, I won't mention the name of the robot here since I loved the product so much that I joined the company, All I can say is now my son truly shares my joy of gardening. Something that never happened all the years I spent worried about how behind I was with the weeding. By making my gardens a place of joy again for me, it became amazingly easy to pass the gift of gardening on to my children. Life lesson learned!

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