Thursday, May 23, 2013

Getting Dirty in the Garden

plants or seeds
dirt and/or potting soil

So, baby elephant ears.  

My kids love gardening, especially my daughter.  If she's allowed to dig holes, get her hands dirty, shower the new plants with water...she's a happy girl.  Daniel likes it, too, but his attention span is a lot shorter.

I don't think my kids are very unique in that way.  I think most kids delight in getting outside and getting dirty.  And if they can be a part of watching a new thing grow, all the better.  

There are also so many teachable moments when it comes to gardening.  Everything from root systems, to photosynthesis, to the insects and worms in the dirt can become a new lesson.

Exhibit A:

Earthworms are such friendly little guys.  Quietly, blindly, going about their business in the dirt.  

"Why are they slimy?"

"Why are they blind?"  

"What do they eat?"  

"Is it okay for them to get on the elephant ears?"

There are all kinds of lessons here...even an extended lesson on how to treat little animals (it doesn't include flinging them across the dirt, in case you were interested).

And then there's the satisfaction over accomplishing a goal.  Our front yard looked like this yesterday afternoon:

What a mess.  But things have to get worse before they get better, right?  If you look at the end of the garden bed over on the left side, you'll see a large clump of elephant ears.  Our plan was to spread them out to fill out the whole bed.  So we spent some time digging up the babies.  I dug them up and Natalie and Daniel spread them out.

And Silas helped.  Sort of.  Really, he just crawled around in the dirt.  

And ended up like this:

Sigh.  He's definitely been my dirtiest baby.

Then we dug new holes and planted them!  Natalie loved this part!  

We still need edgers and mulch, but this is looking so much better already.  And my hope is that by this time next year, we'll have some beautiful elephant ears to hide the old, stained concrete porch.  

All right now, get outside!  Go plant something -- and get your kids involved!  Tell them to observe as many bugs as they can find!  Start digging holes and those bugs come flooding to the surface.  And then go look up what earthworms eat...we still need to figure that one out ;)


  1. Brilliant, my boys love gardening too and that is one brilliant photo of your youngest, nothing like a good bit of dirt! Thanks for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party, I hope you join us again this friday as youve got heaps of great ideas

    1. Thank you! And I agree, it's good to let little ones get dirty :) I will definitely come back again this Friday!


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