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Springtime in the Garden

Springtime in the GardenThis weekend my daughter and I enjoyed the springtime weather by spending some time in the garden. While she is too young to help with some tasks – such as knowing what is a weed and what is a plant that Mom intends to be there – she is good at a few things. This time around, she helped me to pick some of the asparagus that is starting to poke out of the ground.

Each stalk that was up to her knees (about a foot tall), whether as wide around as one of her markers or thin as a pencil, was ready to pick. Asparagus is easy for kids to pick because it naturally snaps where it should be picked – a few inches above the ground. So she happily stomped around the garden, snapping asparagus stalks and holding as many as she could in her hands.

Gardening is a great way to get kids involved with nature, as well as to learn about where foods come from. During one of my first outings into the garden with my own mom, I quickly learned what a ripe tomato looked like and managed to never again pick a not so ripe one. I also learned what happens when a seed is planted and watered, and what a joy it can be to grow foods that you can later eat and share with others.

Gardening can teach kids many other skills as well – math skills, such as addition, subtraction, and even fractions; colors; measurements; and more. That day, I counted with my daughter the number of asparagus stalks she has picked, and also walked around the garden and pointed out the colors of various items. It’s fun to see the garden through her eyes and experience the miracle of nature as kids do.

In these tough economic times, it pays to plant a garden – not only because you and your family can enjoy the freshness of eating fruits and vegetables only your hands have touched, but because it’s a wonderful experience for kids as well.

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