I have a confession: I know nothing about gardening.
I know. Talk about a key component to being green. I should at least be a rookie gardener, right? I should at least grow herbs or something easy, right? Nope and nope. I've wanted to get into herb and vegetable gardening for a long time, but I just haven't gotten around to it.
It's the perfect time, really, because my daughter is beginning to learn about plants, gardens, and farms at school, so we can learn the finer details together. It's also the perfect time because my mom, whose thumb is as green as green gets, bought her a little indoor herb garden. My daughter and I are starting small by growing herbs inside, then branching out to growing vegetables outside. Yes. I can totally do this. It is very important to me that my children learn and appreciate where food comes from. Long ago, I heard a story about two neglected children who, until they were placed in a loving foster home, thought all food came out of greasy paper bags. They ate nothing but fast food from bags and had never eaten fresh food off a plate. I found this shocking and appalling at the time, and frankly, I still do. But is it really that different if my kids think that all food just comes from the grocery store? I want them to know how the food gets to the grocery store. I want them to know how the earth provides us with that food and that it comes only with work and responsibility.
So, my daughter and I broke out the indoor garden together and both of our education has begun. We prepared the little pots by filling them with moist soil, dug tiny holes for the tiny seeds, filled the holes, watered the seeds, and placed the pots along our kitchen windowsill. I explained to her how the seeds will all grow into different things, although they look the same. I compared the seeds and the plants they will become to the flowers and trees my daughter was already familiar with. She told me that the seeds would need sunshine and water to grow, and we talked about how we'd have to take care of them so they'd grow into the fresh herbs we use in our food. We also talked about our future vegetable garden, which we'll grow in large pots in the back yard. She requested that we plant tomatoes and cucumbers. I suggested we also plant peppers and lettuce, and maybe a couple more herbs. We were both ridiculously excited about our new gardening endeavors. This is what I needed to get going! My child is providing the motivation to learn about gardening that I previously lacked, and in turn I'm providing her with an appreciation of a source of our food.
We check the pots every day for progress. There's nothing yet, but there will be soon, and I know I'll be just as thrilled about it as she'll be.
I can't wait to eat the first tomato that we grew together.
Do you garden with your children? How did you get going?
Photo: Larry Ewing