October 2018

Gardening with Youth

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Photo provided by Diana L. Ferrari

Jacquie Storey proudly holds a basket of her grandfather’s prized vegetables.

Youth – they are watching you, and you can be instrumental in bringing out their inner gardener.

Nature and gardening encourages awareness, wonder, amazement and learning for young ones. Children enjoy playing in the soil, which is a good beginning to natural curiosity. With caring direction, they can develop a healthy interest and love of gardening that will inspire them for a lifetime.

Planting quick-growing edibles like leafy lettuce and multi-colored radishes will make kids feel confident and successful very soon. Also, planting flowers like dependable marigolds, showy sunflowers and edible nasturtiums would be a good start for any gardener. Youth need to experience the joy of giving. I remember loving to plant pansies and giving a flower to each of my neighbors, much to my parents’ amusement and dismay. Another idea would be to give your children or teenagers their very own plot to plan and plant. They will become proud of their accomplishments. Who knows? One day these very young minds may design a secret garden!

A pasttime or hobby to have in common with friends and relatives, young and old, develops a sense of camaraderie. Partake of gardening with youth, and it will instill special memories for many years to come. I keenly followed my tall, stately grandfather around when he worked in his serene vegetable garden. ’Til this day I reflect, with fondness, how I learned many important things such as suckering and supporting tomato plants, weeding and mulching. And, most of all, I perceived what a kind man my grandfather was to his plants and to me.

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