It’s that time of year when those of us who like gardening start making a plan. What will we grow? Where should we put it? Is it safe to plant on the May long weekend (here’s hoping for no more snow)?
As it gets closer to the time, I’ve realized there can be a lot of literacy and numeracy involved in planting a garden – especially when you’ve got your kids helping you!
My kids want their own garden, of course. They choose seeds and we talk about whether they will grow well or not. For example, we have some kind of critter that takes bites out of our carrots while they’re still in the ground – do we choose something else? My son is also into herbs right now, so we talk about the different ways we could use them in cooking when they are ready.
We also plan out the garden so the seeds have the right amount of space, light, and soil. We really have to think through how they grow and what the package is telling us – especially if it’s something we’ve never tried before.
Then comes the best part – the planting! We make our rows using two stakes and a string so they’re evenly spaced (at least that’s the hope – I think my garden is crooked). We plant the seeds the right distance apart, cover them, water them and then wait.
When my kids were younger, we made a game of naming all the weeds that grow more quickly than our little plants. We’ve got the stinky one (stinkweed), the sticky, tangley one (not sure what it really is), the ouchie one (thistles), and the pretty yellow one that everyone is so determined to get rid of, but our guinea pigs love to eat (poor dandelions). That’s only a few of them, but you get the idea and I still use these names, even though the kids are older now!
These types of interactions and experiences help us reinforce the learning that is happening naturally, every day, in our lives as a family. I find myself learning right along with my kids in each situation – they have such a great view of what we do (and are much more patient in reading instructions most of the time). Gardening is just one way to help plant a seed that will sprout into so much more in our lives. Happy planting!