Little Ones in the Garden

My adorable niece searching for Easter eggs among the bolted kale

It was a spectacularly sunny winter day and although the ground was still frozen and large crystals of frost were everywhere my son announced “time to plant in the garden!” he had made an interesting somewhat fundamental connection, the sun is shining it must be time to start gardening. What my son brought forth was a little hand full of marbles he burrowed a frosty hole in the earth dumped the marbles in and mater of factly said “plant marbles, grow marbles”. Whenever we have kids over they are utterly amazed when given the opportunity to yank a green frilly stem up to unearth a colourful carrot or go searching for sweet fresh strawberries buried under the arugula. In the heat of summer when the garden is over flowing, no child entering our yard can resist running along the narrow over grown pathways, hiding behind the labyrinth of climbing beans trellises or getting their hands dirty in a muddy mud patch of freshly turned soil. We gave away our son’s sand box because he just wasn’t interested who wants to climb into a crusty old 6” deep plastic box filled with dry powdery sand when you have 400 sqft of soil at your disposal, you can dig as deep as you want and use the hose without causing a flood. There are of course losses you have to accept when letting kids run free in the growing area, freshly sprouted seedlings don’t often stand up to being “watered” by 5 year olds and creative young minds seldom want to “colour inside the lines” of straight rows and recommended spacing. Then there was the year the helpful harvester picked every single green tomato off every single plant at the beginning of July, then proudly organized them largest to smallest in a long row on the front path, please note here on the wet west coast our outdoor tomatoes ripen in August! In the end the benefits of welcoming children into the garden far outweighs any potential loss of plant life. We do after all have a fantastic farmers market here in New West where I can replace any casualties lost in the wake of fostering childhood garden curiosities.

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