I was very fortunate as a child. My dad got me into vegetable gardening, thankfully, to show me where food comes from and that, yes, you are able to feed yourself without leaving your home. Of course he also made it clear that the more independent you want to be, the more work you will have to put into it. I didn’t understand that at the time but I certainly do now.
With two young sons myself I want to pass on to them the same lessons my dad passed onto me and my late grandfather passed onto him. The tips themselves have changed from one generation to the next but the importance of why getting children started earlier in life in learning this valuable skill, in my opinion, has not.
For example, when my grandfather was passing the skills onto my dad it was because they lived on a small farm in Wilkes-Barre, PA and they grew large amounts of food, not because it was a hobby, but because they needed it for their very survival. My grandfather, dad and uncle would tend the land and my aunt and grandmother would preserve the harvest through canning.
Today I do not do any canning but instead a lot of vacuum sealing which creates an air tight seal around my harvested fruits, herbs and veggies. That allows it to store longer in my freezer, meaning I can enjoy food from my garden all year round. But how do I pass this same enthusiasm to my own children? Well here is what I have done and it seems to be working.
1. Get them Involved
I am constantly getting my kids involved in the garden. Whether it is having them help with watering (with their own watering can of course), or carrying harvested veggies to the patio table, I do my best to make them feel like they are a part of every aspect of what I am doing.
2. Get them their own tools
One of the best investments I have made to keep them excited about helping dad in the garden is getting them their own tools. They are very young so of course their tools are of the plastic toy variety, but the toys do give them a sense that they are digging in the dirt, removing weeds and planting things. For just a few bucks, it was well worth the price.
3. Give them a spot of their own
Along with tips one and two, tip three really drives it home and that is giving your kids their own small garden area and letting them choose what they want to grow. I built a small three foot by three foot raised bed for my older son this year, filled it with some dirt and told him to plant whatever he wanted. He chose carrots, which is surprising because he doesn’t like eating them all too much, but maybe growing his own will change that. Now every time we go in the garden he goes over to his raised bed and asks questions about the carrots.
These three tips are exactly what I use with my own children. Hopefully, my children will find a passion in growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs at home, and eventually pass it on to the next generation.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.
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