My little gardener finally has a garden! I’ve been wanting to add a nature element to our new homeschooling plan and since we’re finally getting the ball rolling on “summer school”, it was time to give her a place to get her hands dirty. The problem, of course, is that we rent our little house and we already have a very lovely garden that doesn’t have a lot of room for improvement. On the bright side, Eva is quite taken with all of the different plants that we have and I’m quite taken with the fact that I don’t have to mow/weed/water anything.
Still, I wanted to give her a place to grow something of her own and it just so happens that we already had the perfect place to start a garden. Last summer, we happened to be driving by a garage sale that was packing up and we stopped because they had some kid shoes scattered out on the lawn and I love me some secondhand kid shoes. They sold me a great pair of boots for a dollar and then offered us a water table for free if we’d take it away. It didn’t have a lid and there was once an umbrella that had broken off, but we were happy to take it and Eva played with it a few times before the weather got too cold.
I filled it up again just a few weeks ago and added a nearby basket of water toys, but two problems immediately popped up: (1) Eva kept taking water from the water table to add to her sandbox and she ended up creating a marsh and (2) every time Calvin is set loose outside, he goes straight to the water table to put the sand-and-bug-filled water into his mouth. So the water table has not been my favorite thing.
We recycled it. Now it’s a kid garden.
It wasn’t hard at all. I used a large nail to punch a bunch of holes in the bottom of the table and we added a layer of pebbles (to help with the moisture) and filled it with garden soil and some small plants. We picked out herbs that we use often and a couple of flowers in Eva’s favorite colors, along with some small tomato plants that will likely not make tomatoes because I can never get tomatoes to grow.
I also got some packets of seeds so she could start some plants from nothing. She has no concept of how seeds turn into plants so I’m hoping that something sprouts soon because right now she just thinks she’s out there making pots of mud.
One of the most fun things is that she’s actually eating some of the fruits of her labors and making that connection about where food comes from. This has been a little scary for me, because I thought that it would lead to her snacking on a whole host of deadly backyard plants, but she’s been good about asking whether or not something is edible. If you want to try one of her favorites, get yourself some spearmint leaves, cut them into thin strips, and toss them with some watermelon, honey, and lime juice. It’s pretty delicious!
Any gardening tips for me? Or recipes that Eva might like? We’re growing spearmint, peppermint, sweet basil, thyme, rosemary, and chives.