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Hopes, Dreams, and Veggie Seeds – The Daddy / Daughter Garden Project (Part II)

“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.”

-Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

Our Daddy/ Daughter project is now in full swing!  Based on my most recent experiences, I wanted to offer a few “gentle suggestions” that may help as you start your own gardening journey with your child.

Explain and Engage 

It’s a fact – Children learn better when they understand the context of their activity. Even though my daughter is small, she understands that she has directly contributed to the growth and success of the plants. Before breakfast each morning, my daughter confidently walks to the windows facing the backyard, smiles widely at the outdoor plants and proclaims, “I did it!”  I want my daughter to learn that although gardening can be fun, it is far more than idle play. She is immersing herself into the process of sustainable gardening and not wholly dependent on mass produced supermarket products that are full of mood changing chemical byproducts.

It’s well known that there are trace levels of pesticide in supermarket vegetables, but did you know researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University looked for organophosphate pesticide metabolites, an indicator of pesticide exposure, in the urine of 1,139 kids ages 8 to 15 and found that close to 95 percent had at least one of these chemical byproducts in their system? Even more shocking is that those with the highest levels were 93 percent more likely to have received an ADHD diagnosis than children with none in their system. To quote Joni Mitchell, “Give me spots on my apples. But leave me the birds and the bees!”

Buy Local

Before I started the project, I considered buying my seeds online from Amazon.com.  The prices looked good (only $2.00 per 25 seed pack and FREE shipping) and it seemed like a quick and easy way to get started. But as a small business owner who has a part of my income dependent on local families, I felt obligated to buy local. I decided to visit Marietta Seed and Feed, a family owned supply store that provides superior seed for livestock and farmers. This store was less than a mile from my home and have a maintained a reputation for superior quality and customer service. They are a joy to work with and their knowledge of plants, farming, and livestock is astounding. Their knowledge of local soil conditions and seasonal vegetables made the selection process much easier.  They took the time to understand my goals with the Daddy /Daughter Project and directed me towards seeds that would grow well and at a level that would be comfortable to little hands.  By the end of this trip, I procured hundreds of seeds (nearly all sourced locally) and priceless gardening tips for less than $10.00.

Start from Seeds (Whenever possible)

Even though it is convenient and easy to buy plants from the store, your child will learn more by planting the seed and watching it slowly grow over the course of weeks. The delicate care and attention that is required for sprouting seeds teaches gentleness and patience. Some plants are notoriously hard to start from seed and depending on the amount of natural light on your property, you may need to buy starter plants. Your local gardener can help with plant selection.

Relax and Have Fun

Remember the words of painter Bob Ross, “ There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

There were times that had to bite my tongue and take a DEEP breath while my daughter’s little hands destroyed several seedlings that we started indoors. We had plenty of happy accidents! Eventually, I explained to her that the “baby seeds” were sleeping and that we had to be very careful with them. That explanation seemed sufficient for her and although we still suffered a few more causalities during the transplant process, she would take the time to say “sorry, little baby” each time one was handled improperly.

There is a natural attraction between children and the earth, whether it’s making mud or discovering a germinating seed emerge from the earth. Gardening with children, from toddlers to adolescents, opens new windows of thought and communication in a world dominated by IPhones and technology. Enjoy this time.

This spring, my two year old daughter and I started a garden. With sunshine, the garden will grow. With love, my daughter will grow into a confident and passionate young woman. Follow our journey through the Daddy/Daughter Garden Project.

About Birthed into Fatherhood -Andre Moore (92 Articles)
Food, Family, and Travel Writer. Career Firefighter in Metro Atlanta and Business Owner. Husband and Proud Dad.

4 Comments on Hopes, Dreams, and Veggie Seeds – The Daddy / Daughter Garden Project (Part II)

  1. A really nice post 🙂

  2. I love this quote – Remember the words of painter Bob Ross, “ There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”
    It sounds like the planting experience was a nice bonding time for you and your daughter.

  3. ascendingbutterfly // April 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm // Reply

    Teaching children by example is always the best way to go, and kids are usually game for anything, especially when it feels more like ‘fun’ than it does like school. 🙂

    Love to see Dads holding it down.

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