“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?” -R. Brault
Earlier this summer we planted a mini garden on one of our balconies with the help of my Dad. In our family my Dad is known for his green thumb and ability to grow the most stubborn of fruits, I always joke that I didn’t get his gardeners thumb. Since our space was small we decided on a hybrid hydroponic vertical garden and a few potted plants.
To make sure I didn’t forget to water and tend to the plants, I made a routine of checking on our garden while making my morning chai. Every morning Little Mirchi would go outside with me and look for signs of growth and giggle with delight as they spouted from seedlings to stems. That wonder in her eyes was encouragement for me to tend to our garden daily. When our tomato plant started to turn yellow, Little Mirchi kept telling me to give it dawaii (medicine). She was so keen on nursing the plant back to health that she would remind me every night “Mumma amato plant get betta”. I loved watching her heart grow for nature and gardening.
Some of my favorite memories are those of my brother and I helping our parents garden. Even better was when the tomatoes would ripen and we would make fresh salsa, the mint would grow for chutney and we could pick our own sweet summer mangos.
Gardening forces you and your little ones to unplug and enjoy nature. In today’s world getting away from the constant social media, iPads, TV’s and phones is a rare occasion. Planting a garden helps you unplug from technology and connect with nature instead.
As kids watch their plants blossom, their vegetables grow and their fruits ripen they become increasing excited to taste the fruits of their labor. Kids that grow up around homegrown vegetables are much more likely to eat them, and at the very least at least try them.
Tending to a garden gives children a sense of responsibility, ownership and pride. Little Mirchi was in charge of watering the smaller plants. If she ever caught me watering them without her she would run and say “Mumma I do it! I do it!” I often saw her greeting the plants, saying hello, good morning and see you later… it was the cutest thing ever!
Gardening helps you teach kids about nature and how it works. Why are bees attracted to flowers? What does it mean when the leaves turn yellow? What happens to our plants as it gets colder? As their curious minds question you, you can not only tell them, but show them how nature works.
When you grow your own food you develop a personal relationship with your garden which helps you feel connected. Gardening also reduces stress in kids and adults. It stimulates all the senses without being overwhelming and let’s children get comfortable with things they might not of tried before.
This year was our first year of having a garden and I am already planning out our transition to fall and next summers bounty. It’s been one of our favorite things to do this summer, watching the fruits of our labor grow.
Images courtesy Taylor Carment Photography