Monday, June 23, 2008

Gardening with kids

When you first have children, it seems like your gardening days at over for ever - a few moments snatched after bed, during naptime. But then they start to walk, and once they get over being grossed out by slugs and bugs, gardening with children can be quite enjoyable.

I have 2 boys - Dara and Leo, age 3 and 6. That's Dara above, with his fine potato plant. This year, we put in raised beds, and I set up one of the beds for the boys. Thay have planted potatoes, tomatoes, some flowers - Sunflower, french marigold. Dara grew the flowers from seeds.

As I have mentioned before, they get good mileage out of collecting slugs to feed to the tadpoles - a real win-win. They love looking at the worms in the wormery. This year Dara has become proficient at repotting seedlings, which is no mean feet for a 6 year old. He's very gentle. I guess that since they have been out with me from a young age that they have a sense of the plants. I'm very happy that they can now recognise some of the plants from the leaves, and they love spotting beans and tomoatoes in need of harvesting.

Potatoes are a really good thing for them to grow - you can just use sprouting tubers from your shop bought potatoes. WE used a big plastinc bag that had held potting compost. I did this with the junior infants class (age 4-5) in Dara's school, and they worked out very well. Last week we harvested, and got about 1.5 kilos from one bag. Harvesting was fun - I split the bag open in a wheelbarrow, and let them all root away - it was like buried treasure. then we cooked them and ate them with butter and herbs. Yum!
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Here's a section of the boys raised bed - Not bad! Hope that they will eat the tomatoes - the only thing that they have knowingly eaten from the garden is potatoes. Tomato sauce hides a multitude.

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