Gardening with the Babies

This weekend, my children and I decided the overgrown garden needed our help.

They are always very eager for fun garden activities - like harvesting the strawberries - but I didn't think I was going to get such enthusiasm when I asked for help this time.

The middle one, who is 7, said she wanted Mama time and offered to come and help me with the weeds. She's very strong, so she did a wonderful job yanking unwanted foliage to give the tomatoes, squash and mystery vegetable vine more sunshine.

The little one turned up and decided at age 4, she didn't need to be weeding because she wasn't sure what was weed and what was wanted. So she offered to supervise and keep us company.

The little man arrived next, and decided he was going to check behind us for missed strawberries. But pulling grass looked like fun too, so he joined right in. Unlike the girls and I, he felt this called for ninja-type noises to make the work move along.

We worked really hard for a good hour - but with all the questions about the garden, the weeds, the "volunteer" plants (what does that mean? Did God know we didn't have time this year?) and lots of liberal praise for their efforts, it just flew.

Then we had even more fun with the sprinkler, watering the baby plants (two chili peppers since we didn't get volunteers), everyone got wet, we decided to do Daddy's job and tinker with the settings and the garden looked a lot better when we were done.

For me - I love that my children jumped right in, even with hard work and dirt, and helped their over-scheduled mama with what would have been a really daunting and un-fun task.

They seemed to have a lot of fun - not just the mama time, which they get anyway, but mama time doing something interesting. They like to watch things grow. They like that the garden looked different than it did two weeks ago, and that it will look different when we go back in this weekend. They loved going to the garden to pick salad for our guests Friday night.

I'm thankful I have country babies - I like that my little people understand everything that a simple tomato has behind it - the work, the sun, the water, the care. I'm thankful they understand a little about why we want to grow some of our own food, and how to do it.

They are probably just thankful for the strawberries right now, but maybe like the volunteer tomatoes, the experiences will take root and grow year after year.


Jennifer Z.

Blogging on juggling rural New York home life with Manhattan worklife here at 


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