Gardening with kids of all ages: A how-to and how-not.

Our bamboo bean teepee with seeds planted just a week ago with Bill’s help.

The bean sprouts curl their way into a winding adulthood- one in which they will be judged for their ability to produce food. It’s hard to under-emphasize the thrill of fruiting. Hard to temper my love for the way a seed leads us to the dinner table. Hard to imagine and cultivate an ethic of beauty and wonder completely devoid of practical considerations.

So I steal a few secret minutes while weeding this morning to acknowledge my admiration for the producers of food. And I hope no one says, “Hey mom, what are you thinking about?”

Marigolds growing around the tomato plants, per Mary’s aphid-free suggestion.

The Eldests’ heirloom Brandywines.

We celebrated yesterday’s rain for the way it darkened the soil and replenished our rain barrel. Today, the Brandywine’s stalks are covered in a thick coat of white hairs- I imagined the hairs as a fur coat when last night’s temperatures dropped and the wind released loose pink and scarlet rose petals, a pattern of fallen skirts.

While planting cucumbers last weekend, the Eldest warned that cucumbers should not be planted close together lest they attack one another and “keep each other small”. I laughed and inquired as to his source. He couldn’t quite recall if it had been an almanac or a gardening book. So we planted our cucumbers across the garden from one another. Because, as I explained to the King, “Some boys are territorial and require ridiculous accomodations to their insecure egos”.

The King looked as if he either A) understood or B) remained baffled. The thing about the King is you never can tell. His “I get it” expression is almost identical to his “I’m lost” expression.

The Eldest improvised a cucumber cage from twine and bamboo (see rear of photo).

Cucumbers do not cross-pollinate other vining plants. While you don’t want crops growing into each other to create a tangle of vines, misshapen or poorly tasting cucumbers because of the pollen from nearby melons, squashes or zucchini plants. Only other cucumber varieties cross-pollinate — all are the same botanical species. Cross-pollination does not affect cucumber fruit features or qualities, but it does yield hybridized seeds.

Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few resources for gardening with kids. Given my brown thumbs, it’s rather incredible to see how little I’ve learned. But I sure did curate a tremendous number of informative and useful links…. So I went back through my gardening posts and added the most helpful, useful, and educational ones- the ones that inspire, inform, and amuse about gardening with kids. Thrive and enjoy.

THE BEST OF GARDENING WITH KIDS

Pre-school gardening club weekly activities plan (Little Green Fingers)
Preparing for our brown thumb garden (alina’s adventures)
Is it garden bounty or garden booty? (alina’s adventures)
Heeding the summons of spring (alina’s adventures)
The hunt for the perfect compost (alina’s adventures)
Cucumbers everywhere (alina’s adventures)
Planting poppies (alina’s adventures)
The Eldest starts his heirloom seeds (alina’s adventures)
The surprise that conquered coxsackie (alina’s adventures)
Making scarecrows (alina’s adventures)
Getting your garden journal and notebook ready (alina’s adventures)
Flower gardening with kids (alina’s adventures)
Gardening at night (alina’s adventures)
The magical garden of Maria Barnes (alina’s adventures)
Gardens and good germs (alina’s adventures)
Getting my hands dirty (alina’s adventures)

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