Monday, March 30, 2009

Gardening and kids

Most gardeners can pinpoint the moment they fell in love with watching things grow. Many of us were born into gardening families and never knew any other way. Our parents or grandparents always had a vegetable garden and fruit trees to keep food on the table and a flower garden to keep beauty and joy in their hearts. As children, we shared the bounty, learning what fresh peas, corn and strawberries still warm from the sun should taste like. Sitting on the front porch shelling peas or slicing fresh peaches, we drank in the sweet scent of gardenias, climbing rose bushes and jasmine.

The world needs more gardeners – and you can help carry on the legacy of the gardeners in your past by instilling a love of gardening in a young person’s life. Where to start? At home, of course, by providing your child or grandchild with a few simple tools that will fit their hands. Let them pick out some seeds and plant them so they can see the magic unfold. Buy them a seedling and teach them how to pot it, place in the right location and water it.

Or, invite the Jefferson County Master Gardeners to your school. Last week, my 11-year-old grandson Jordan proudly showed me a rosemary seedling in a plastic bag that the Master Gardeners provided his class.

“Where are you going to plant it?” I asked.

“Actually,” he said, using one of his favorite words of the moment, “It has its own environment,” explaining the evaporation/condensation cycle going on inside the plastic bag. I complimented his knowledge and suggested that the seedling would need to go outside soon, so perhaps we could plant it over the weekend. Remember how eveything needs three things to grow: food, water and light? I reminded him. That led to a discussion of the difference between fluorescent light and sunlight. Anything that convinces a 12-year-old to have a conversation with his Gram is a welcome blessing.

On April 2, the folks over at the McFaddin-Ward House provided an opportunity for youngsters to get started gardening with its “Green Thumbs” program for children ages 6-12. Future projects will be creating and maintaining a child's garden at the house, 708 N. 4th Street. For more details on their gardening and conservation programs for kids, call (409) 832-1906 or visit

No comments:

Post a Comment