This time it is freezing rain and sleet, much worse than the pleasant snow we received last week. I know this weather has most of us thinking about going back to bed or sitting by a warm fire. I am still thinking about Spring and how early we will have to start mowing this year. I am also thinking about fresh vegetables and how soon I can get some plants growing this year.
Growing your own garden is, be it small or large, is a great way to stay connected with your environment. It can also be an educational experience for both children and adults alike. I am fortunate to have my father across the street with more than a dozen raised beds that he plants each year. Along with that, he has apples trees, strawberries, blackberries, and a small plot of corn and potatoes. Not bad for less than two acres of land.
The true benefit of the garden across the street is to my children. They love getting their hands dirty planting seeds and young plants that will eventually grow into their food. It has giving them an appreciation of where food comes from and a desire to try new fruits and vegetables. Last year it was the blackberries and the peas. They wanted to go over every day and pick berries off the bush and fresh peas off the vine and eat them right there in the garden. We had tried blackberries from the store but neither of my kids would eat them. We have tried peas as well, but they are never as good as they are from the garden.
It didn't stop there, they wanted to pick the tomatoes and cucumbers they had helped plant for their dinners. The strawberries they had watched ripen for a snack. New things to try all spring and summer long. Learning and healthy living that keeps on growing.
So give it a try this year with your kids. One small plant bed could go a long way. A few pots on the porch if you are limited on space or check out a community garden if you have the desire to plant more.
If you just don't have the time then try taking your kids to one of the many farmer's markets around the area. Make it a fun experience for them. Let them talk to the farmers and ask questions about where the food comes from. Fresh local produce is always better than what you find in the store.
Too many of us do not appreciate what we have. Stores ship in our produce from far away places where is it picked early and ripens on the way, yet we still call it fresh. It is all too easy for us, and it can come with some unknown additives. Fruits is coated with wax to prevent spoilage. Potatoes are sprayed with spout inhibitors to keep new buds from forming during shipment. It is all "food grade" material but it is not naturally on the food.
I grew up with dirt under my nails and I want my children to do the same. We can grow together