Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Joy of Gardening with Your Kids

Anybody who has followed Renaissance Dad for any amount of time knows that I love gardening. I have regular articles about best practices that I've followed, mishaps in my garden, things that I love to grow, and lots and lots of mentions of manure (it's like gold for the garden!). And for the past 13 years, as long as I've had kids, I have enjoyed my kids joining me in the garden. Sometimes it feels like a chore, and sometimes it is a chore, but I love spending time in the garden with my entire family. But I'm not always sure that they share my enthusiasm. 

This past year, things seemed to have turned a corner. My oldest joins me every week with yard work, where she routinely mows the lawn. Not many teenagers will mow, much less want to mow, and yet she is out there with me in the 100 degree weather, working away. 

My ten-year-old middle daughter was very excited to help build a raised garden bed for melons this past winter. She helped measure, cut, carry, place,

and attach. And finally, she helped me dump 20 bags of manure for our garden soil (I told you that there were lots of mentions of manure). She enjoys eating fruit right off of the trees, and was excited when we planted
a kumquat tree this past winter (and her face lit up when she got to eat her first kumquat off of the tree). 

And my youngest nine-year-old. He has been the biggest surprise of them all. His excitement this year of discovering things in the garden has been such a joy to watch. He was thrilled when he saw the first artichoke growing (and Mr. Picky Eater could not stop eating artichokes that we picked from our garden). He was fastidious about looking for cantaloupes and watermelons in our melon patch, putting the rotten ones directly into our compost bin and hefting the good ones into the house, with a lit up face showing his excitement for the discoveries. And finding cucumbers? Forget about it! He was all over that. 

All three of my kids at one point or another greeted me at the door this past year with a "Come see what's in our garden" or "Look what I found" or "You'll never guess how many artichokes (or cucumbers, melons, apricots, peaches, etc.) I counted today." 

Throughout the incredibly difficult past year-and-a-half, the hope of things growing in the garden combined with the joy of all the things grown in our yard is the continual push that I need to get through each day. Getting to eat everything coming out of my yard is the proverbial cherry on top. 

Hmmmm... I don't have any cherries growing in my yard. Maybe that's the next tree I need to plant. 

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