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Tiny Green Thumbs: Gardening With Your Kids
by Arleen M. Kaptur

Share your love of organic gardening with your kids! Get some great ideas on the best vegetables to plant and how to use container gardening as an option in limited space areas. Teaching your kids to grow their own food will benefit them and our global community.

Gardening is considered one of America's greatest pastimes. People enjoy going out and communing with nature. They like the feel of the earth between their fingers and the excitement of seeing tiny sprouts and plants opening up to drink in the sunshine and the warmth. It just makes you feel good inside.

How about letting your child experience the joys of gardening? No matter where you live, you can introduce gardening and the miracle of plant life to your child. They will thrill to see their seeds sprout and grow. That very first strawberry, pickle, or parsley leaf will bring true delight and amazement to them. You would be instilling in your child a love of nature, an appreciation for life, and the knowledge that with a little work and care, you can grow food, flowers, and other things of beauty.

Begin with small, fast-growing plants. A child's attention span is still limited so long, slow growth may lose its appeal. Strawberry plants are a perfect way to introduce your child to the wonder of how that ruby-red berry in his/her cereal grew. A small patch of ground that will allow the plant to grow and spread its "fingers" will amaze your child with each day's accomplishments. Then when that first flower appears, the prospect of a strawberry grows, and then finally that first berry becomes a reality. Aw, the taste of the first berry you ever grew contains untold feelings of victory.

Other great plants are cucumber, parsley, lettuce, green onions, and yes, even a corn stalk or two. If space is limited, try container gardening. Even something as simple as a large coffee can with holes in the bottom for drainage, some good soil, and the wonder begins. Allow your child to do the work - water, weed, and care for the plant. If you do everything, then the accomplishment he/she feels will not be the same. A tiny hand can hold a small watering can, and it can pick out pesky weeds. Bright, little eyes will glow with each new growth until harvest time arrives. Lettuce can be picked for suppertime, and that salad will take on a whole new meaning.

Older children can be given more space and a wider variety of plants to choose from. Carrots, beets, green peppers, and pumpkins are sure-fire choices. Whatever the age of your child, they can begin to enjoy the joys of gardening right alongside their mom or dad. Please have a camera ready when they see that first "success".

©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 e-mail: [email protected] Website: http://www.rusticliving.info
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Website: http://www.rusticliving.info

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