It is never too early to teach your children where food comes from. Whether you live on a massive piece of farmland or in a few hundred square foot apartment there is always space to grow a few plants.
While the eldest was at school, the three year old and I put our green thumbs to work. I’m great at growing hardy plants that require the odd sprinkling of water on the super hot summer days. If much more attention is required I’m a bit of a disaster. So the idea of keeping tiny seedlings alive for a few weeks until Mother Nature can take over has caused me some concern. However, I’m determined my boys know how to grow their own food.
After a trip to the local gardening centre, we were outfitted with organic dirt that is “water stabilizing”, more seeds than I’ll ever be able to transplant outside, and degradable seedling pots. I can’t begin to describe the three-year-old’s glee at being allowed to dig with dirt INSIDE the house. It was pouring rain, what else was I going to do?
So we set up on the kitchen counter. I gave him a cookie sheet to work over and we got straight to planting. I labelled each pot with the name of the plant (I knew I didn’t stand a chance of remember which pot contained which seed in the weeks to come). He thoroughly enjoyed shoveling the dirt into the tiny pots. We made a game out of guessing the size of the seed based on the sound it made in the package.
Our crop of plants is varied and odd, to say the least. We are growing some herbs (basil, oregano and thyme), some vegetables (corn, carrots, lettuce, zucchini and pumpkins) and some flowers (columbine, lobelia, and sunflowers). The risk of cross-pollination between the zucchini and pumpkins is great; however, we had fun and my little guy learned a lot. He now knows that plants require: dirt, water and sun.
Over the coming weeks our challenge will be to remember to water the little sprouts (and not over water – I’ve already been asked 5 times if the plants need more water today). Once the May long weekend passes, and we can blindly assume there will be no more frost, the seedlings will be transferred outside for Mother Nature to work her magic. I eagerly anticipate our first summer meal made from the veggies and herbs my little one planted.