Spring has sprung, even here in Michigan! And while our early warm weather means we can justify biking to Dairy Queen already (whoo hoo!), can already play baseball in the park and basketball in our driveway, can already have squirt gun fights and break out the water table, most importantly it means it’s time to start our garden!
The kids and I headed out to the store to buy our annual seeds. We always do lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini and beans, but this year I let each of the kids pick out one packet of their own.
My four-year-old chose watermelons. I’m sad to say that he chose the same thing last year. I’m sad to say this not because I don’t like watermelons or because I think growing watermelons is extreme (which it may be…), but because last August we had two very cute little watermelons growing along quite well (they were maybe 3 or 4 inches across)…and our awesome, fantastic, wonderful neighborhood squirrels butchered them. The squirrels and I, we’ve got issues. But that’s another story. The point is, we did not eat homegrown watermelon last year. And so, with grim determination on his face, my son picked the same seeds as last year for HIS crop.
The one-year-old picked radishes. I do not believe she has ever tried a radish, but if she were to try one, I, one – think she would likely choke and two – imagine she would hate it. But she was adamant. Perhaps red is her favorite color? Or maybe she knows something we don’t know. This could be the summer for the radish famine of America similar to the potato famine of Ireland. Perhaps. Either way, she has spoken and we will have radishes!
We pulled out our seed trays and gardening gloves and got down to business. This year, we actually sat out on our lawn in shorts to plant our seeds. (Normally, we’re huddled in front of a roaring fire with scarves and snow hats on, desperately hoping that one of these days the sun really will break through the clouds and the snow really will melt and there will be a reason for us to be planting these seeds at all.) But this year, Michigan is pretending to be one of the southern states!
Now the kids are taking turns flooding the seeds with excessive amounts of water and poking in the soil to see if they can spot the first tiny sprouts…and I can’t deny that I’ve been anxiously waiting as well.
Because I love to experience that feeling through my children’s eyes. It’s really exciting that they’ve convinced a tiny seed to become a plant and exhilarating to find you’ve grown your own food. It’s so easy for us to forget that children really don’t know where food comes from. That if we don’t show them, they may forever think that food is always in the stores, that food only comes in boxes, that plants are totally unrelated to the things we eat. And if these kids are going to inherit the earth from us some day when we’re too old and crotchety to dispense our advice anymore (“You should have listened to me when you were growing up!”), they should at least know how it works!
If you have any great ideas of real world things I can show the kids this beautiful early spring in Michigan, I’d love to hear them!
This post was written by Penney Blakely. Contact Penney at firstname.lastname@example.org
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