This week’s guest post comes from my wonderful dad! He has always been such an amazing teacher for myself, my sister and our kids. He started out his career as a teacher and when he left teaching to pursue other career paths, he continued to share his amazing breadth of knowledge with us and now with my daughters and my niece. The grandkids love to get together with him and garden and my older daughter loves talking science with her “Bombom!” We all love him and are so excited to welcome him to the blog.
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I grew up in a farming family. My grandfather was in the business of producing dairy products for sale. We also grew our own beef, various types of fruit and vegetables. At times we raised a variety of animals for meat. My other grandfather was an egg and chicken farmer. The older generation retired and left commercial agriculture and the family farm I grew up on became part of the City of Phoenix.
My father kept the tradition of growing his own fruit on our ½ acre lot. When I was in my teens he decided to plow his large front lawn and put in a large vegetable garden. I always enjoyed getting my hands dirty with him and helping out. There is nothing like harvesting fresh organic produce and enjoying it on the spot. I reconnected to this tradition in my own yards as an adult.
When my first granddaughter, Zoe, came along she discovered my garden. When she found snap peas and broccoli just growing right in front of her it was easy to get her interested. From the start I decided that her participation was really more important than how well my garden did. I began to prepare the soil and then let her (and the next two Keira, and Gia) do the planting and much of the harvesting. What a great decision that has turned out to be!
There is more growing in my yard than just plants these days. I see our time in the garden growing our connections to each other. These girls love spending time planting, watching growth, and reaping the harvest with their “Bombom.” When they come over, they usually run out back to see what has grown. I think it has given them a better connection to nature. It also helps them understand where food comes from. I really love that it connects them to my family traditions and the great grandparents they were not lucky enough to know.
One of the things I love about gardening is that you do not get results without getting your hands dirty. I show the kids that you have to work to make the veggies and flowers grow. I also get to teach them patience. Almost everything is grown from seeds. At first there is just soil. After a few days the first green babies begin to pop up and the kids can see plants slowly forming. This also gives them a better understanding of how nature works by process not by magic.
The greatest thing that grows in my garden is fun! These small planters full of soil and mulch grow an abundance of joy in these three young ladies. As the plants grow taller and taller they begin to ask “When can we eat carrots?” I even let them pull up a few early so they see how everything grows. The first buds form. Soon flowers begin to bloom and the fruits of the garden form right before their eyes. Soon those tiny strings fatten into carrots and the little flowers form peas and broccoli. As the girls pick flowers and eat right out of the garden I get more joy out of watching them than harvesting myself.
Reading books is a great way to build background knowledge on any topic!Here are some of our favorite children’s books about gardening:
Here are some fun gardening toys and tools for kids, so they can help out in the garden:
Do you have questions about your little one’s speech and language development? Visit our Milestones page!
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