I love gardening. It’s a natural extension of my passion for food and cooking with seasonal ingredients. For my kids, it’s a great educational tool. For the family, it’s time spent building something together.
For the last two summers, our oldest son, who is now three years old, has helped water the garden, tend to the plants, and select the ripest produce. While some dads are probably proud that their kids can count to 20 or have the alphabet memorized at that age, I’m just as proud when he differentiates between thyme and rosemary; knows how to select the ripest tomatoes; and tells us exactly what veggies are on his plate. For better or for worse, he’ll grow-up knowing how much effort it takes takes to produce enough food to sustain a family.
Last year, I conscripted him earlier in the processes by having him seed the garden. It made for a fun afternoon, and he was totally into it. It also made him more inquisitive throughout the summer. Every morning he’d run to the basement greenhouse to check on the progress of his seedlings. Throughout the summer months, he’d point out to me how much the kale had grown; how plump the tomatoes were; and how quickly the arugula had sprouted—all plants he started from seed. He literally saw the fruits of his own labour. And the look of satisfaction on his face when he’d treat himself to his favourite cherry tomato was priceless.
If you’ve ever thought about growing a kitchen garden, or you’re looking for a fun parent-kid activity that keeps the kids engaged all summer long, check back next week. I’ll give you a primer and step-by-step guide on getting started.