“Mama, do we have any carrots?” My 3-year old is standing not in the kitchen, but in the backyard. She’s peering into our raised garden bed, where I’ve been growing vegetables with her and for our family since she was a baby.
Together we’ve successfully grown peas, green beans, lettuce, kale, chard, basil, carrots, summer squash and parsley. We nurtured a volunteer pumpkin grow in our front yard that provided four perfect pumpkins for our jack-o-lanterns last fall.
We’ve also had a few flops, like the eggplant that never flowered, a tiny melon plant that keeled over shortly after being transplanted and a batch of broccoli that were devoured by aphids. This year we are experimenting with sweet Walla Walla onions and a purple cauliflower.
Cultivating young gardeners will reap benefits far beyond healthy eating habits, teaching patience and an understanding of cause and effect among other things.
The first time we grew carrots from seed, my daughter was 2. I drug my finger through the dirt near the edge of the bed where she could reach and showed her where to sprinkle the seeds.
As the seedlings popped up, I showed them to her. When she pulled a few before they were ready, we talked about what was happening under the soil, and why we needed to let the plant keep growing.…