There are just things you can learn about God and life and love from the simple act of gardening. So it’s a good thing to do with kids, whether in small form like letting them draw their face on a paper cup and then growing some grass seed for hair (a homemade Chia) or maybe letting them choose and take care of a potted plant, to actually building them a little square wooden box and letting them grow veggies (the ones they know they like and the ones they will like after they have grown them!).
Here is a list of the reasons I want my grandbebes to garden with me. And why all kids would benefit!!
Dirt is fun. And dirt is creativity! God actually made man from the soil in a garden. I want the kiddos to know they can plant a seed and nurture life, too, just like their Creator! And making mud just for mud’s sake is alright, too! PLUS? Bugs!
Patience. The seed goes into the ground and we wait to see it sprout. The plant is plopped into a hole and we wait for the fruit. In between the beginning and the end, there is watching the tempertaure, the watering, the sunshine, getting rid of competing weeds. It is a good thing to learn to wait with hopeful expectancy!
Poop makes stuff grow – fast! The hard things in life that get dumped on us? They cause us to become better and stronger. I once accidentally dropped some watermelon seeds near a nice, aging pile of manure I was going to spread. The vines erupted like they were from the land of the giants. The plants were enormous and the fruit was amazingly sweet. Manure is good for the soul.
Sometimes I have to tie vines against a support stake. Sure they’d rather just meander off in every direction, but the tying is necessary. While to the vine being tied it could look like it is being controlled and bound, but the truth is, the plant will actually thrive and produce more because the leaves are arranged to receive sunlight and the soil below can now get the moisture and feeding it needs. Support is a good thing when you know you need it and especially when you don’t.
You’re pruned if you do and pruned if you don’t. Pruning-It is a cut. There is no way around it. Sprawling huge shrubbery that are leafing and flowering are difficult to approach with the pruners. But if you don’t? It will become long and leggy, overgrown and weak. And when allowed to go on in that state, it will lose its beauty and much of its fruitfulness. Jesus said He’d prune every branch that wasn’t fruiting and He’d prune every branch that was pruning so it would produce more. He knew His gardening! So see? You ARE pruned if you do and pruned if you don’t, so we may as well let Him do in us what we must do to our plants. And everywhere you cut, life explodes in every direction, making the plant stronger and thicker and healthier and more wonderful!
God will bless you to be a blessing. He gives seed to the sower. When I started gardening and didn’t have a clue – just mentioning that very fact brought out the giver in all the gardeners I knew. They hooked me up with starts and seeds and plants and tips. I, in turn, had a wildly successful first garden year and blessed every single person I knew with so many tomatoes and zucchini and onions and radishes and peppers…they all started running from me.
Bees are our friends. According to The Bee Movie with Jerry Seinfeld, bees are becoming extinct. I am not sure if that is so, but I know we haul our Colorado bees to California wine country during the winter and then back again for farming season here. There are less bees now and that is true. And bees are the great pollinators. They are wonderful and NOT aggressive. You can work side by side in the garden with the bees just a few inches away on your prettiest flowers and to them? You are just a landmark. I want the kiddies to know that there is a purpose for the bee and they shouldn’t be afraid…
Deadheading is a necessary part of having fabulous flowers. When the bloom has passed, remove it so the bright lovelies can shine.
You have to prepare the soil to have your plants grow. You cannot just plop something in this hard, rocky, clay-ey Colorado dirt and have it grow. In fact the only things that will grow in this native soil are weeds. If you want a good garden, you’ve gotta amend. You have got to add decomposing matter and time-released fertilizer and manure and compost and hummus and vermiculite. You have got to make sure what is in the pot or the garden plot is ready to receive and surround and care for the seed or young plant. Thought and preparation are so important for any wonderful project in life!
Gardening? It’s messy, hard work. But anything worth having is! Oui?
The great joy of the fruit of your labors will finally and most certainly happen! One day the flowers will blossom and the veggies will become edible. One day the tree will provide shade and the grass will be so green. And rejoicing! Zany-crazy-happy dancing! Cartwheels and hallelujahs! You actuallty get to REAP what you have sown! Glory be! No joy quite like it!
Everything between God and man started in a garden. I want the grandbebes to know that God will meet them there, that they’ll hear His voice whispering in the wind and see His majesty at the first fully ripe beefsteak tomato. I want them to know He will talk to them and give them understanding in the garden just like He did with Adam and Eve. And that sometimes He’ll ask them, like He did with Adam: “Where are you?” Not because He doesn’t know, but because He’ll want to know if they understand where they are in life right at that moment, if they comprehend how the lives they are living and the choices they are making are affecting their futures.
Yes. I want my grandbebes to know that I have found Him in the garden and they can, too.
It isn’t too late to do some fun gardening with the little tykes this summer!…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Go check in on the grandbebe gardens and assist as needed.
Pictured: The yard. The garden. This morning.