One of the key benefits of gardening with your kids is the opportunity to spend quality time with them. Gardening is such a rewarding activity for both you and your kids. You have the immediate gratification of getting stuck in, getting the hands dirty and trying to answer the myriad of questions along the way. You might not know all the answers, but you can all learn together. When you finish for the day, you have all those days and weeks to look forward to, where your plants grow and change, flower, fruit and go to seed. My own little boy Sam is four and now drags me out in the garden. He loves weeding…great! Lots of weeds here! He used never eat his vegetables but he ate the peas from our garden, which for me is a good enough reason to get him out growing his own. It is also a great way for kids to spend time with their grandparents, many of whom love to garden. Imagine the special bond that grows as they proudly work together. Children also develop great responsibility and independence, working away in their own little plot.
My own Dad, a farmer and a great man of nature inspired me to garden. He used to take us down the fields to pick great big mushrooms in August and string them onto a reed. Once, I remember returning from holidays in Kerry, when he stopped at a field of peas and pulled a great big bunch for us to eat in the car on the way home. He didn’t know a whole lot of Latin names but he did know how to GROW stuff. He would stick bits of this and that into the ground and before long they would take off. He liked the big jobs, setting a hedge, mowing the grass, planting trees, earthing up the potatoes.
My beautiful Dad died suddenly on June 17th last. We will all miss him greatly and remember him every time we look out our windows, when we see all he planted in our gardens. Take it from me, those days you spend outside in the fresh air growing things with your kids, are days that they will never forget.
In memory of my Dad, Liam Drake, 2nd March 1946 – 17th June 2011.