This past weekend we finally got our garden off the ground, or maybe I should say in the ground. I love walking past the freshly planted weed free rows this time of year, but I was concerned about how late we were planting. It got me thinking about all the things I want to plant in life, so instead of just planting my seeds, I also planted some values. On one side of my seed markers I wrote the name of the seed I planted and on the other side of the marker I wrote a value I wanted to plant in our lives – things like humility, honesty, laughter, and kindness. My husband was helping me with my pea fence and although I know he noticed the signs, he didn’t say anything. Maybe he knows better or maybe he just wishes it was as easy to plant those things as it is to plant seeds.
My daughter, on the other hand, is a kindred spirit. She loved the idea of naming the plants. We discussed the scientific studies that say plants do better when you talk to them. This was her kind of world. She quickly grabbed the paint pens and began naming my plants. We pushed her markers in to the opposite ends of the rows from my signs. She named two similar sounding seeds Rhonda and Wanda. She named our plum purple radishes Cinderella. But my favorite was the name she game my lolla rosa lettuce. She named it Layla. Layla Lolla Rosa. It’s just fun to say. Even without the plants, the garden looks pretty colorful and it makes me smile when I survey it.
Getting kids involved in your garden is always a good idea. The rows may be crooked and a few seeds may be sacrificed, but that’s a small price to pay for their interest. The way I see it is if they have invested some of themselves in this garden, they just might eat some of the results. And that’s always a good thing. You can involve your kids in choosing seeds, laying out the garden, planting the seeds, and certainly making the seed markers. My seed markers are paint stirrers (free from the hardware store) and wood scraps my husband cuts out for me. I used to use popsicle sticks, but they get lost once the plants start coming up. Big markers expect big things.
It’s time to plant your seeds. If you haven’t got a garden in the ground, make one in a container. Grow lettuce in a window box or carrots in a big pot. Radishes are a quick reward. Many kids love cherry tomatoes and they are easy to grow too. Plant them now in a pot inside and move them outdoors in May. Ask your kids what they’d like to grow and then find a way to make it happen. Don’t let space or sunlight limit you. Last summer I even grew peanuts (in an old manure bucket). We are really not that far removed from our ancestors who grew all their food. There is no magic or mystery. Anybody can do it. You can do it.