Between those fragile seedlings set at the window in late winter to the first ripe tomato in early summer, spring presents us with the most splendid of miracles in its sweet delicate vegetables. After a winter of crafting and board games indoors it feels so right to be digging in the earth with my children by my side.
I love being in the garden and I’ve found that my very young children enjoy coming with me on the journey from planting seeds to enjoying the harvest.
A Children’s Garden
This year my children will have their own little garden with radishes and lettuce in early spring and hearty transplants of sunflowers and pole beans set out in late spring. Their own special garden plot will have plenty of space that is ‘just’ earth. My 18- month-old and 3.5-year-old can do as much digging and watering as they like without damaging plants.
A Family Garden
How magical it is to work side by side, setting out transplants with a child, letting a toddler pick their own cherry tomatoes, watching children shell beans together.
Our family vegetable garden is my favorite place to be in the spring and summer months and I’ve found that if I get my children actively engaged in their own little gardens they will often play at gardening for as long as it takes me to pinch back the tomatoes, harvest the lettuce, lay out the mulch, or whatever the morning gardening task may be in our large family garden. There are certainly days when my gardening to-do list is interrupted or when the children just aren’t interested. On these days I remind myself to relax and have faith that there will be another day that allows more time.
A Family Harvest
I was surprised last fall when my almost three-year-old son could identify a radish sprout and understood we had to wait to see the radish’s top before it was ready to pull. Watching him cut the tops and tails from his harvest, wash, chop, and finally salt them was by far the greatest harvest I could have ever imagined.
A Spring Vegetable Memory Set
With the excitement of a gardener eager for early spring I designed this Spring Vegetable Memory Set as a way to celebrate spring vegetables with my children.
To make, print off two sheets of the Spring Vegetable Memory Set PDF on 80 lb. card stock.
Using a ruler, x-acto knife, and self-healing mat or scissors, cut along the black lines, making twenty cards.
I hope this memory sets brings joy to you and your children as you celebrate this season of renewal and growth.
Mandy Gerth is currently in the midst of her life’s most important research of learning from her two small children. She blogs at mandygerth and sells her cottage industry prints and stationary at mandygerth.