Until this year, I never questioned whether Spring or Autumn was the preferred season for kids in the garden.
Spring was the only season I imagined when I thought about brining kids to the garden with me. But, this year, I am open to reconsider.
Before I had kids in my life, I idealized visions of tiny fingers pressing seeds into the rich soil. I imagined them putting on their little rain boots on a warm Spring morning and following me to the garden to check on our pea sprouts and kale babies.
Then I had kids. Two, in fact, and I realized that in real life it is a little more stressful to bring kids to the garden with you.
Kids like to scatter seeds all over. Kids like to press seeds deeeep into the earth. Kids like to water delicate seedlings until they are drowning in a pool of brown muck. Kids trip and fall and squish things that are trying to grow.
But I realize they are both trying to grow, the plants and the kids.
It’s important to bring kids to the garden in the Springtime. You just have to do it with strategy and forethought. You have to be willing to let go of perfection and accept that you will lose a few plants along the way.
in the Autumn, you don’t have to worry as much. It is pretty obvious that the cucumbers and zucchinis are long past their prime. Let the kids pull those dead plants out of the ground and bring them to the compost pile for you. Yeah, kids! Thanks, that’s actually useful work.
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Children are perfectly suited to get their hands dirty mixing compacted soil. The kids in your life will be happy to scour the shadows between leaves and vines for the last remaining fruits and veggies. It’s a garden-time scavenger hunt. They dream that one day someone will hand them a huge bag of alfalfa seed to spread with abandon.
Check the weather. If there will be a day or two of rain the forecast, let the kids toss those alfalfa seeds all over the raised beds or garden plots. Sounds like fun to me, and I’m a certified grown up. Although, to clarify, if you don’t want the entire bag of seed dumped in one spot, you’ll have to guide and oversee. Or give out the seeds in little scoops.
Six jobs kids can help with in your Autumn garden:
1) Mix soil that’s been compacted by the Summer rains
2) Scatter cover crop seeds
3) Rip out dry and dead plants
4) Carry, wagon or power wheels plant matter to the compost pile
5) Cut batches of mint or parsley, tie the stems tightly and hang them upside down inside to dry
6) Collect and separate seeds
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