Gardening is the perfect family activity. Particularly when kids are involved. They’re curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt.
And that’s exactly what Bay Meadows families who participate in the community garden are discovering. Gardening is a great way to teach loved ones to care for something over time while observing the cycle of life firsthand.
Who knew that Persimmon Park would be bursting with junior master gardeners? Now that harvest time is here, Bay Meadows resident Celine and her daughter make daily walks to their patch in the community garden. And Bay Meadows Mom Karen appreciates that all the community gardeners are great with kids and patient with her son Remy.
“[In addition to] being healthy for us, it is important that they know the importance of growing your own food,” Celine noted. “The most important lesson is that, with much patience and constant nurturing, there is a reward at the end.”
Q. Is it important to you to teach your kid(s) about gardening? Why?
Karen: Yes it is important. I want him to know where food comes from and appreciate how much work goes into producing the food that eventually ends up in his plate. As parents of a seven year old boy, we are always looking for engaging, fun activities for him and gardening is just perfect!
Q. What jobs does your daughter help with in the garden?
Celine: Watering the plants, taking out the weeds and harvesting.
Q. Did you grow up gardening?
Karen: No I grew up in Beijing, probably one of the most populous cities in the world and had no knowledge nor interest in gardening.
Q. Where did you each learn to garden?
Celine: I only learned how to garden when I got married 25 yrs. ago. I started by growing the easiest thing in the planet- Tomatoes! Soon after that, I found it very therapeutic and got hooked ever since.
Karen: I learned gardening here at Bay Meadows! Our community gardeners are great and I have learned so much from them. Working full time in financial services industry and raising a young boy can get stressful. Gardening helps me relax. I wish I could spend more time working on my garden and do a better job.
Q. What do you grow in your beds at Persimmon Park?
Celine: I grow Tomatoes, Lettuce, Kale, Swiss chard, Carrots and Padron Peppers.
Karen: We have a lot of lettuce, kale, pepper and bok choy. In summer we have tomatoes and cucumbers.
Q. Do you cook with your kids, too; do they help prepare food from the garden for meals at home?
Celine: Yes, every time we harvest our vegetables we eat them fresh in a salad or roast them.
Karen: My son loves the tomatoes and lettuce from our garden. He hasn’t warmed up to all the vegetables yet.
Here are a few tips for gardening with your children:
- Give them child-sized tools that are functional. Cheap plastic child’s gardening tools are worse than no tools at all; they break easily and frustrate the user.
- Engage them through the entire process, from seed to table.
- Start from seeds. While it’s a convenient shortcut to buy starters, children will learn more by seeing the growing process as it begins, from seed.
- Show off their work. When giving ‘garden tours’ to friends, point out the children’s beds. Take a photo of their harvest and send it to the grandparents.
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