I have 3 kids, ages 12, 10 and 5. They are at different developmental stages, so I have to be creative when it comes to finding things we can all do (and enjoy!) together. Bike riding is a hit. So is going out to eat and swimming. But this year, I’m trying something new: gardening as a family.
My husband and I have gardened together for years, but it’s not something we’ve done with the kids. We thought this year might be a good time to try it out, for a few reasons:
- They’re all old enough to actually help
- We ordered more vegetable plants than we can manage on our own. We ordered almost 80 small plants from this awesome Colorado-based organization (https:// conservationcenter.org/)
- They seem to be pretty motivated to work for money. Yes, we pay them each an age-appropriate hourly rate to help plant, water and weed.
We picked up our plants on a gorgeous spring Saturday, a few days after our officialfrost date. Our youngest got right into the act of digging and planting, as did our oldest. Our middle child? Not so much.
Luckily, we consider two out of three a smashing success in our household. We planted, watered, frolicked, danced, sang (OK, so maybe not those last three), and then snow struck.
We had to scramble to find and empty every container in the house and garage that was big and sturdy enough to cover our new veggies. We covered our plants and
crossed our fingers that they would be protected from the hail, 12” of snow, and 20 degree temperatures that ensued for the next four days.
And guess what? They were. All but just a few survived the absolutely miserable weather. We were able to uncover them and let them bask in the Colorado sun yet again. Hopefully for good this time.
Our plants are still pretty small and a little rough looking, but we are all hopeful that come August, we will have a bountiful harvest with which to try out some new flavors and recipes. Even with the tough start, gardening is proving to be a pretty successful family activity. Resilience, patience and perseverance can be difficult concepts to teach young kids, but we have already learned the importance of all three!