Gardens for the Kids

It is time to consider whether or not to have a garden this summer, and to consider whether the children can have a plot of their own.  To Do:
  • Get John Seymour's The Self-Sufficient Gardener (1978) and The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It (2003).  These are wonderful, illustrated, diagrammed guides to introduce you to gardening, composting, caring for tools, starting seeds, etc.  Wonderful guides on herbs and vegetables, when to plant, and how to care for them are included.
  • Consider the size and space.  Make realistic plans to grow a few things you like to eat and a few things you like to see.
  • Start composting all your compostable trash. 
  • Pick up some garden tools at a garage sale or used goods store.  Clean, oil, and stick the tools in a tub filled with a mixture of sand and oil.  Check this with the Seymour book. 
  • Buy and start appropriate seeds.
  • Let the ground dry out and the first weeds grow. 
  • Rent a rototiller, then churn up the dirt, killing off the first weeds.  Jumping the gun does not help your seedlings.

And read Louisa May Alcott!  She paints rosy pictures--the four little women having their various plots.
  • Meg grew: roses and heliotrope, myrtle, and a little orange tree in it.
  • Jo's garden was "never alike two seasons, for she was always trying experiments. This year it was to be a plantation of sun flowers, the seeds of which cheerful land aspiring plant were to feed Aunt Cockle-top and her family of chicks." 
  • Beth grew: old-fashioned fragrant flowers in her garden, sweet peas and mignonette, larkspur, pinks, pansies, and southernwood, with chickweed for the birds and catnip for the pussies.
  • Amy "had a bower in hers, rather small and earwiggy, but very pretty to look at, with honeysuckle and morning-glories hanging their colored horns and bells in graceful wreaths all over it, tall white lilies, delicate ferns, and as many brilliant, picturesque plants as would consent to blossom there."
And in Little Men, the kids grow everything from potatoes to parsnips, from herbs to melons and one HUGE pumpkin.  From experience, it takes a lot of work and direction to help kids do a garden.  But how exciting and rewarding for the kids!  And what a pay-off as they learn year by year how to do it.  This kind of work will make your more like the Psalmist than you can imagine.

(**This post is going under poet, because while Tradition approves and Wonder demands the engagement with reality that you find in a garden--it is winter. And the Poet needs something beautiful to put him in contact with God.)

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