As spring flowers arrive in May, it encourages everyone in the family to dig in the dirt. Help your family understand the growing process by starting a miniature garden of your own. Kids will enjoy watching seeds sprout and flowers bloom. Ask the children what they would like to plant – they will then take ownership of watering and caring for the plant while they watch it grow. Talk about the plants’ needs: Soil, sunlight and water. Discuss the connection between gardening, farming, harvesting and what plants your family eats at meals.
Q: I would love for my child to experience having a garden, but unfortunately we live in an apartment building with no green space. How do I make that connection with limited resources?
A: Try utilizing a sunny window in your apartment and begin with something small and easy, like herbs. You can grow herbs in small cups, mugs or even toilet paper tubes. You only need a small amount of dirt and a few seeds of your favorite herb. Plan to grow something you can use in your cooking, for example, dill, basil, rosemary, parsley, chives or cilantro. Have your child pick the container, add the soil and dig the holes for the seeds. If you have a small spot of sunshine, only plant a few seeds – even just a few will provide enough for a couple of family dinners. Let your child care for the plant and then harvest when ready. Research with your child a recipe that calls for your homegrown herb, and cook with your child. Let them smell and taste the herb before and after cooking. Discuss at meal time what they think of the herb as a plant and as an ingredient for cooking.