2007-05-04 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Planting A Garden With Your Child
Commentary By Danielle McShane Danielle's Rockaway Florist

Commentary By Danielle McShane Danielle's Rockaway Florist

DANIELLE McSHANE
DANIELLE McSHANE Children are natural gardeners. They love to play in the dirt, and they learn by doing and working with their hands. They need to be kept busy, and if we bring them outdoors and into the sunlight and fresh air, we keep them away from the television and video games. It is easy to keep them active and satisfy their curiosity in the garden, where they can learn how wild life and nature work together. They can experience caring and nurturing for a plant over time, and observe their cycle of life and growth.

To encourage your child to participate, set aside a small area in your garden just for them. Help them to work the soil, and prepare it by pulling weeds and mixing in mulch. Do research together at the library, or take a trip to the local nursery or florist, and see what is in season. You can learn together what kind of care each plant may need, what plants are good for the conditions in your space, then you can choose a combination of flowers, colors and textures that will thrive in your garden.

If there is not much room for planting, creating a container garden can be just as much fun. Using different size pots, you can create miniature landscapes of foliage, clusters of bright colored flowers, or you can make a vegetable garden. This can be especially fun when you serve those tomatoes in a salad for dinner, or grill the vegetables you have grown together.

Children love working in a garden, even learning about the worms and bugs that live under the rocks.
Children love working in a garden, even learning about the worms and bugs that live under the rocks. Purchasing a small tool bag, and personalizing their own smock, watering can and gloves add excitement to the project. Working on a project like this allows a set "date" with your child every few days. Making a new project each week will add guaranteed fun and excitement. One week you can have your child spell his name or plant their initial in the garden, using small compact flowers such as marigolds. The next week, you may want to venture further to seek and teach about the cycles of life in a garden such as the birds and wasps that visit, and the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. They may even enjoy picking up small rocks, and learning about the worms and bugs that live under there! This takes a little bit of knowledge, and a lot of love and laughs to be a success, but whom better to share it with!

At the end of each adventure, you and your child should take a few minutes to properly and safely clean your tools and store them away. This is a great time to discuss your experience and help you to find out what they enjoyed most, and what they've learned. It also gives them a chance to share their excitement of your adventure together. Please write to Danielles Rockaway Florist@yahoo.com with gardening questions or tips.

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