One of our big summer goals for this year has been keeping a vegetable garden. We tried last year but without much success (weeds, squash bugs, some kind of hex on our peppers…), so we are being more deliberate and conscientious stewards of our garden this year. In order to make it easier (and safer) for our older son to help out, we removed the chicken wire fence that was around the garden and placed the plants a little further apart so that he could walk between them to pull weeds. His main responsibility is watering, which he is loving! Nine times out of ten he ends up soaking wet, but so do the summer squash, so it’s working. The plants are super happy with this arrangement, as you can see, and they are loaded with blossoms.
He also has a couple of projects that are just his. We started him off in charge of our strawberry “patch” — a single plant that managed to winter over from last year. We had a couple of them in containers, where they grew a lot but only made one strawberry over the course of the whole summer. I thought both had died during the winter, but when this one got a tiny green leaf on it in April, I decided to give it another chance. Our son has been faithfully watering it and keeping it clear of weeds. He was very excited to see the first blossom on it this week. Here’s to hoping that we get at least two berries this year. Doubling last year’s harvest sounds pretty impressive, eh?
Our son is taking a genuine joy in caring for the plants and is noticing every little growing thing around our yard. He saw this tiny yellow flower — just a common weed — the other day and called me over to show it to me. We decided he was up for another project and got him some zinnias to plant in a few small pots. He loved using the trowel to fill the pots and gently placed the seeds one by one. That was Monday. They are already sprouting under his careful watch.
It is inspiring to see such a young person take ownership in caring for living things and helping them grow. I love the way it brings out this calm, gentle side of him, and I can’t wait to see him enjoy the flowers when they bloom and (hopefully) some strawberries!
I’m already starting to think about what he can plant for next year, and a wildflower mix like this one looks pretty appealing. Click photo for link!