Last summer I tried “gardening”, which to me was buying a hanging flower pot and promptly killing it.
Then my mom bought me another one.
I killed that one too.
So this summer everyone was a little skeptical about the idea of me spending money on plants.
It all started when I read that having green plants in the house can lower anxiety so I went out and bought a $5 one at Walmart. I was obsessed with it. I watered it (probably too much) and opened the blinds so it got sunshine.
Then my mom took me to a local veggie market that has opened in our town and they were selling Strawberry plants! My daughter loves Strawberries! As in she would eat them every day for every meal. It was only $10 so I picked it up with the promise we would have Strawberries soon.
That is when I decided I wanted to make our front porch into a garden. So I went to our local gardening center. If your town has a local center please shop there. Support your local business.
I found a nice employee who showed me to the hanging plants that were half shade/half sun. I picked one out and then the trouble began.
This is when I casually mentioned that we had a lot of mosquitoes and I had heard there was a plant that kept them away. I picked one of those out and then started walking to the exit when I saw the tomato plants. I LOVE tomatoes. And it was only $4.99! I couldn’t resist. But then I decided I needed a decorative pot. Needless to say I spent about $50 that day on my makeshift garden.
That next day my daughter and I went on the porch armed with two kitchen spoons and replanted those flowers and plants into the pots and flower bed I wanted them in. We got dirty and made a big mess and I’m not ashamed to say that my daughter ate quite a few spoonfuls of potting soil. She helped dig each plant out and then put dirt back on top of it. She helped me water all of them once we were done. And she helped decide where to put each plant.
We had a blast! She is 21 months old but could understand what we were doing. Our flowers would be dead if it weren’t for the fact that every time we go on the porch she says “Water, water”.
Since that day I have bought a few more flowers to add to the flower bed and replanted the tomato plant into a bigger pot. We also had a Strawberry grow and actually turn red which was then promptly eaten by our neighborhood stray cat. There have been a couple more bite marks and no signs of Strawberries but Quinn and I are still hoping!
All together I spent a little under $100 to start this little project and it is something that Quinn and I will be able to do together all summer long. We spend most of our time on the porch anyway so we always check on the plants and water them. I can’t wait until she can pick our first Strawberry or Tomato.
Quick reasons gardening with your child is so great:
- She learns how to take care of something. I have done my best to explain to Quinn that if we don’t take care of the plants, they will die. I think she got the point because she is obsessed with watering them.
- He works on his hand eye coordination. Digging dirt is not easy for a toddler. They fling it all around and yeah it makes a big mess, which leads me to #3.
- Clean up. Every time we dug a plant out or added soil to a pot we swept the porch. Let me rephrase that, Quinn swept the porch. She understood that we weren’t done until we had cleaned up the mess too.
- It helps me relax. This one is for the parents. There is something about your child being covered in dirt that makes you sit back and think keeping that shirt clean isn’t important anymore. Her clothes being nice doesn’t trump her working with her hands and accomplishing something. It took a minute for me to let go and say “Let’s get dirty!”.
- It’s long term. There is no instant gratification in gardening. You have to wait for the flowers to bloom. You have to wait for the fruit to grow. This isn’t a one day thing, this is an undertaking for the whole summer.
- Quality time spent together. I think quality time with your child is productive time, not doing some mindless activity. Gardening teaches Quinn and gives us our own little project that is just for the two of us. No daddy allowed!