5 Things I Hope My Children Learn From Growing A Vegetable Garden

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This post was originally published by You can find the entire version here.

Growing up in Michigan, my mom had a vegetable garden that she grew just adjacent to our back porch. I remember her excitement at bringing in lettuce leaves, making rhubarb bread, and trying to recover from spying the occasional slithering garden snake.
I don’t remember getting involved in the gardening process much, other than eating (and probably complaining about eating) the vegetables and fruits that were grown there, but now – deep into parenthood myself – I appreciate much more the effort involved in raising young children and trying to keep plants alive and growing, too.
I started a garden in our California backyard when my first child was nearly one year old with the simple intention of trying to save a little money by growing some of our own food. As we added another child to our family, my commitment to gardening waned because, well, children. But we are finally coming to the surface for air again this growing season with a 3-and-a-half-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m trying to approach it with new intentions as I get my children involved.
Here’s what I hope to show them without directly telling them:

1 | Good things take time.

It’s been roughly 80 days since our first tomato plants were planted earlier this spring. We have harvested four tomatoes so far, each on separate days, two of which were bite-­size cherry tomatoes. The anticipation of a ripened tomato has been hard for my daughter when I tell her they aren’t quite ready yet, especially when I’ve enticed her outside with, “Let’s check and see if the tomatoes are ready!”
However, the few times we have taken a ripe one off the vine, sliced it, sprinkled it with a little salt, and bitten into it have been moments worth the wait. We’ve even convinced her to categorize tomatoes as a “dessert” item. (Relax… she’s known about chocolate for years.)...

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