Trying Something New: Gardening With A ToddlerBeth Anne Ballance
A few years ago, my husband and I built a small 4×4 garden in our backyard. We found that we fell in love with the challenge of growing our own vegetables, no matter how modest the crop and failed the attempts. Turns out all that digging around in the dirt was good for us, as gardening decreases depression thanks to bacteria in the soil (source: cnn.com) and all that glorious sunshine.
This is our first summer in our new house and we don’t have a small garden staked into our backyard. Instead, we have one lone pot of tomatoes growing and this is the first year our preschooler has been able to pitch in to help. Gardening with a toddler was not on my to-do list this summer, but I’m so glad it wiggled it’s way into our schedule. Together, he and I planted the tiny tomato plant and he helped me wiggle down the frame for the vines to eventually grow up. We carefully fertilized and every day after school when it didn’t rain, Harry sprayed the plant with the hose, making sure it got plenty to “drink.”
In a way, these are his tomatoes.
Every evening, he runs outside to check their progress and he’s so gentle, pointing out new yellow flowers that he’s learned will eventually become the fruit (the vegetables? toe-may-toe? toe-mah-toe?). He feels a sense of responsibility for the tomatoes and a desire to watch them grow. It has also been so fun for me to have an outdoor activity with him that includes lots of learning – why vegetables are good for us, where food comes from, even how rain and sunshine and dirty help plants grow.
Not a bad summer lesson, I suppose.
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