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Once you start, you won't stop growing


Guest post by Paul Dickson

Gardening with children
You would think that the first mouthful of dirt would be enough to determine that it tastes rank, alas the curious mind of our toddler wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing out on something tasty, so in went another handful.

The great thing about children is that they love to explore and their minds are longing to soak up new information. The great thing about being in an outdoor space is that no two days are ever the same. Take last week, for example, Taylor and I were in the garden and he was pulling up some weeds i.e. new seedlings.

Pulling up weedsAs it had been raining only a few hours before, there was quite a bit happening in our little garden bed. Not only were the worms heading up out of the ground to avoid drowning, the birds were on standby to swoop down and pick off the worms. I told Taylor that the birds were going to eat the worms and he got pretty upset. So, he ran over to the greenhouse, got a bucket and bought it back to the garden bed. He then proceeded to find what worms he could and kept them safe under the bucket. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that they would probably escape and then get eaten.

This little example is the reason why I’m a big fan of children gardening. Yes, they can grow some vegetables and understand the life cycle of plants, but there is so much more to be learned from spending time in an outdoor living space. Right there, Taylor had compassion and sense of urgency to rescue the poor little worms and he’s only two years old, I know adults with less compassion, in fact, there is one running the U.S right now. His mind came up with a solution to a problem in a pretty creative way. He didn’t want to have a discussion about the possible solutions, our little man just got on with putting actions in place. And he now had a story which he would no doubt tell mum when she got home from work.

kids helping in the garden
When speaking to other parents about gardening, I hear all the excuses as to why they can't-do it, number one being, they don’t know how to garden. It’s not bloody rocket science, you just need to give it a go. Plants have been evolving for a lot longer than man, so they’re pretty savvy in knowing what to do. They just need a hand with getting into the dirt and then every now and again, they’d appreciate a little bit of water…they’ll do the rest. The next excuse is that parents say they don’t have the time. OK, to begin with, it might take a bit of week to prep the area where the plants will grow, but after that, it’s not like you have to stand around whilst the seeds do their thing. The kids will be excited to see what they’re growing and will want to check daily to see if anything has popped up. If you don’t have a couple of minutes a day to pop outside with your excited child to see if anything has grown yet, I’d seriously buy a new diary and start planning your day better.

With gardening, the hardest part is getting started (as with almost anything rewarding in life), but once you get started and you start enjoying it with your kids, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done it earlier.


About the author

Paul Dickson 'The Dad'

Paul Dickson - Dads PatchAs well as launching a kids charity and becoming a husband, I’ve also become a dad since moving to NZ. We’re growing our own little kiwi who loves spending time in the great outdoors, which is an essential part of life in this part of the world. To capture the fun, trials and learnings of being a dad, I started the Dad’s Patch blog.


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