Have you started your veggie garden yet? It may seem early, but sowing cool-weather leafy greens in containers is perfect once temperatures creep above zero. The seeds won’t be damaged by cold nights or random chills.
We’ve planted sweet peas, kale, rainbow swiss chard and spinach, and we’ve recruited a little person to help: a three year-old, specifically.
Kids love gardening. This is something we’ve learned through our Organics 4 Orphans work. About a dozen primary schools in Kenya are now using our system for growing plentiful, nutrient-dense, organic food – right on the school grounds! It’s active, hands-on learning. Kids who are restless at a desk become the most ardent students of plant-life on the field.
You can enlist children as young as toddlers to water. While it may slip your mind from time to time that lettuces prefer a daily dousing, young kids have a wonderful capacity to internalize routine. Tell them once, give them their own watering can, and you’ll have a built-in reminder system – rain or shine.
By two, most children can be taught basic weeding. That said, you’ll need to watch that your crops aren’t yanked up in the process. A two-year old can be overzealous.
A three-year old is the perfect assistant. By three, a kid can basically farm: they can use hand-tools to prepare container soil, sow seeds with reasonable aim, and even harvest.
In Africa, involving children is particularly poignant because we know these skills will set them up for a lifetime of food security. They’ll have the knowledge to grow enough for themselves and their families, without dependence on chemical fertilizers or expensive seeds. They’ll use what water is at hand, without waste. They’ll turn throw-away land into a source of income. Talk about rewarding!
We teach nutrition and natural medicine along with bio-intensive gardening in Africa. You can do the same. Learn what native plants are most nourishing, and why (hint: they’ll usually be green and leafy). Find out what roots, leaves and seeds are healing. Then pass the knowledge on to the little ones in your life. You’ll imprint forever an awareness of our symbiotic relationship with the natural world.
Finally, when the work is done, kick back and assign your helper their final task of the day: giving your sore back or hamstrings a spray with our Magnesium Chloride. It really helps loosen muscles and ease cramping!