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I am an Earth-loving mother of two young girls. My oldest is 5 1/2 and my youngest is almost 3. We have a small garden in the corner of our yard where we plant and harvest some easy-growing vegetables. Our soil isn’t great, and I’m still learning how to garden successfully, so our yields have always been relatively small. Basically our garden veggies supplement rather than replace our grocery produce. But I am finding that I am mostly okay with this. For now.
For me, the most important thing about having a garden at this point in our lives is being able to teach the kids where our food comes from and how it grows. I want to give them the chance to see that they can contribute to bringing food to the table.
However, other than a mild interest in digging up potatoes last year my girls have never been interested in the garden, except for that fact that it’s a great place to find worms.
I have to say I’m really glad I’m not worm-phobic. Or snake-phobic for that matter, although the days of handling them and throwing them at people like I did when I was a kid are totally over. Now, I can be amused with them from a short distance. But I can handle worms. As long as no one pulls them apart, squishes, maims or kills them in any way, I’m happy to support my kids yanking them from their dirt paradise for a game of worm family; although, I do wish I could interest them in poking small holes in the dirt for planting some seeds instead of digging gaping holes among the lettuces for kidnapping some creeping invertebrates.
But I suppose that as long as we’re all outside, enjoying the good weather, and sitting among (rather than on) the plants, and watching (even if passively), little shoots grow into the food that eventually winds up on the table, I’m planting healthy ideas in their head that very well may end up as them planting vegetables in their own future gardens.
When I was very young my parents and grandparents kept gardens, and it wasn’t until very recently that I ever realized how much that impacted my own “green” values, how I eat and my reasons for raising vegetarian kids. So I suppose I can’t expect too much interest from my offspring right now either.
In fact, I think I should be grateful for anything that keeps them in the garden at all. So worms – thank you! Thank you for the joy you bring to my kids with your slimy, squirmy, worminess. Thank you for being my reluctant accomplices to keeping my kids interested in sitting in the dirt with me. Oh, yes, and keep up the good work with all the lovely things you do down there in the dirt amongst my beans and kale. You are appreciated!
Do your kids like to play with worms too? How else do you keep your kids in the garden?