Gardening with my son

I just love when the weather gets warmer! Spring leading into summer is by far my favorite time of the year. My spirits lift immensely when the seemingly never-ending rains actually do, in fact, come to an end. It is hard to contain a smile when I turn my face up to the sky and I can feel the warmth of the sun's rays. Naturally, my inclination is to head outside; fortunately my favorite spot around this time of year lies just a few steps from my back door.

Gardening has always been a fun hobby for me. I, by no means, haven't gotten into it to the extent of some people I know. "Everyone is a backyard farmer" is a sentiment I have heard repeatedly about the residents of this town. I have to admit, it is pretty cool to see so much energy and attention to be given to the land. My backyard garden space has definitely gotten more expansive over the years. This year we put in 3 new raised beds as well as dug out sod in areas to directly plant more garden beds in the ground.
I know, for me, so much pleasure is derived from observing the fruition of my labor. Because of this, I think one of the most amazing gifts I can give my child is a love of gardening. I, too, remember having a little garden plot as a child that my grandfather helped me with, and it was magical time for me. I want to impart a similar rich memory for my son. And so, this year one of the raised beds we built is for his own garden alone.

First with my son by my side, providing input, I drew out a sketch of what we wanted plant and where they will be in the garden. The above drawing was a rough idea of how we wanted our garden — after some consideration, however, (like thinking about how tall each plant will grow, and the angle of the sun) I ended up redesigning it a little bit. We also added 2 rows of peas as well.
We chose to plant radishes, carrots, teddy bear sunflowers, rutabagas, sugar snap peas and corn.
Planting carrot seeds

Before we planted we raked the soil to make sure the surface was relatively even. Then I read the directions on the back of each seed packet, and we got to work. I carved a shallow furrow in the soil and Bode scattered seeds down each row. I let go of my need of having everything to be perfect and trusted him with a handful of seeds. A bunch of seeds spilled to the soil, but I patiently directed him how to space the seeds. We will be having to thin out the seedlings in a few weeks anyway, so no harm if a few seeds strayed elsewhere. I showed Bode how to use his finger as a means of measurement. The corn had to be planted an inch or 2 deep and his pointer finger was the perfect length for making the holes.

Covering the carrot seeds with soil and patting down
During our time planting, I talked to Bode about what seeds need in order to grow strong and healthy. I was pretty impressed when he jumped in and rattled off what they were: 1) sun 2) [nutrients from the] soil, and 3) water. I also taught him that the word germination means the point when the seeds sprout and start to grow.

I let Bode label some of markers with a Sharpee on a tongue depressor.

Watering the seeds with a gentle mist
Each day after planting the seeds, I had Bode gently water the bed, which he did with enthusiasm.
Each day we checked the bed, and were surprised that the radishes came up so quickly! (within 3 days!)

Carrots came up fairly quickly too!

It has been a month now since we planted the garden and the seedlings are growing tall. The two of us thinned out some of the seedlings so the plants don't get overcrowded. I also pointed out the weeds to him and had him pull them up. The care and enthusiasm he shows towards his garden makes me proud! First thing he does when a friend comes over for a playdate is he shows him "his" garden. It is pretty cool to watch. Soon the radishes will be ready to harvest. I can't wait!

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  1. I love seeing parents share their passion with their children. We just started our hand at growing stuff. The bean sprouts all died when we were gone for 5 days and it got really hot, so I need to start over. My tomatoes are starting to get going (there's a few green ones), but I think I need to add something for them to cling to as they grow. Is that true?

    1. Hi Jenni, thanks for commenting! I have always used tomato cages around my tomatoes, which I make out of chicken wire:) cheap and easy! Good luck!


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