The good, the bad, and the ugly of gardening - please don't say you have not been warned!

Gardening has its rewards and it's downfalls

The Good

The magazines, the books, and our friends all tout the importance of and the value of the garden.  Gardening with kids has SO many benefits.  Fresh herbs and vegetables for eating, pride and ownership over taking care of something over an extended period of time, bright beautiful flowers and smiles on kids faces! 

Not to mention the fact that I LOVE that I can send my kids outside to pick a salad for dinner!  Here is one entirely from our garden and my 2 and 5 year old devoured it.
But, don't just take my word for it.  Here is what some amazing bloggers have to say...

"I garden with the kiddo because I'm just now starting to get the hang of it. Also, because I miss gardening with my grandmother when I was little. I'm hoping my son will be a excellent gardener... so Grandma would be proud :)"  - Petunia author of The Mommies Made Me Do It

"I love gardening with my kids and write about it a lot. I really feel that being outdoors and growing your own flowers and food helps everyone, especially kids, appreciate the earth. It also teaches patience...which kids can always use extra opportunities to learn!" Jennifer, author of Kitchen Counter Chronicles.
"We love gardening together, here are a couple of our gardening posts. 20 Reasons why it's great to get gardening with preschoolers & Gardening with kids even when space is limited . - Catherine author of Sun Hats and Wellie Boots

"This will be my first year gardening with my little ones, as my oldest just turned two, and I am SO EXCITED! I can't wait for my girls to dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and discover the magical feeling of bringing plants and vegetables to life!" Crystal, author of Growing A Jeweled Rose

"We're starting the gardening and with it I'm getting J and T involved from the very start. They help out at the weekend cutting down some bushes and loved playing in the garden rubbish before we put it for composting" - Cerys author of Rainy Day Mum

So many reasons  - Rebekah, author of The Golden Gleam

"I am not a huge gardener, but was always with my mom when she did and realize how important it is for the kids, so I send them out to the garden since they love nothing more than getting into the dirt with their hands!" - Chrissy author of Outlaw Mom

"I have set up a small gardening section in window sill. We live on the seventh floor but we are always trying to bring nature close to us. The time spent in this corner is the most memorable time for me and my three year old. We have planted some tomato seeding and waiting for it to grow!" - Mansi author of Experimenting Mom

"We love gardening with the kids. I am just drafting up some posts at the moment about our garden and how we have divided it up." - Ali author of  At Home with Ali

"The first time I introduced my daughter to gardening was with a planter box on our front porch: I know nothing about gardening, but I think it is a great learning experience for kids. Here is the simple activity we tried last year." - Gina author of East Cost Mommy

"When I was a little girl, we looked forward to the end of the growing season because then we would have a ROTTEN TOMATO fight." - Katey author of Having Fun at Home

We do lots of gardening together. I also run a School Gardening Club for 8-9years olds. You can see some of our projects here- Cathy, author of Nurture Store

"Oh we love gardening!! Though living in an apt with a v.little patio it is hard, we have managed to grow beans/tomatoes/bell peppers etc. Putti has joined us and was thrilled to see the veggies grow:) We did a little experiment too last year." - Roopa, author of Putti Prapancha

I love gardening but we don't have enough space to do that! My daughter is getting very much interested to do gardening! She is always asking me "Mommy when can we grow our garden" I'm just thinking what we can do about that. - Esther author of Creativity My Passion

"When I was little my father always wanted to grow tomatoes. He would get huge plants but never one tomato. Then, one year he got one. It was the tiniest saddest tomato ever, but he was so proud. He brought it in and cut it in to four pieces ...and we each took our little bite of the tomato like it was the only time we would ever get the chance, savoring every little bit. My father has passed away now, and I plant tomatoes every year because they remind me of him." Kristin author of Sense of Wonder.

"I manage to kill everything that's green, but I did help my daughter to plant some things of her own last spring, and some even grew! Until they got smashed to smithereens in a storm. (That part's not in the post!)" Jane author of Mama Pea Pod
 which leads us to...

The Bad

Yes, the bad.  I know.  Getting you inspired and thinking about all the wonderful joys and benefits of gardening with kids, then telling you that there is a flip side.  Sorry folks - I am all about being honest.  Please do not say you haven't been warned.  Gardening is NOT all sunshiny and flowery. 

Gardening takes time, money, and effort.

Gardening takes time.  Not just to plant, water, and harvest but also to monitor your plants daily.  In just one day, this is what some little guys did to my beet leaves (that's BAD) - and I stroll through the gardens daily to check for pests.  With seven, 4 foot by 6 foot garden beds, I bet I average at least 30 minutes every day of daily maintenance between weeding, watering, planting, and monitoring.

 Gardening takes effort.  It is easy to say if you plant it, it will grow.  The reality is that 2-3 times a week you will need to water it (if you don't plants die - that's bad!).  You will need to check for insects.  You will need to invest the time into this little seed or plant that you have brought into your yard.  If you are to find success at any type of gardening (with or without kids) you must be motivated, excited, and dedicated to your plants.  Little or no effort = dead plants.

The Ugly

 So did you remember that yummy looking salad at the top of this post?  Well, that salad was entirely from our garden, even after the loop worms came to visit.  Make you squeamish?  Yeah, me too.  If you are gardening the natural way - that means that when these little guys (or any other "friends") come over for lunch (and breakfast, and dinner, and snacks) then the natural way is to hand pick them off your vegetables.  This is the UGLY part of gardening for me.  One day I am picking these "friends" off my lettuce and the next day I am eating it.  You know, farmers do use pesticides and insecticides for a reason.  All plants are susceptible to insects and dirt.  The ones in your garden AND the ones in farmers gardens.  You will need to decide if you will be able to hand "pick" these guys off the plants and know that your vegetables "grow in the dirt." 

Gardening is not for everyone.  Sure there are some amazing things that come from gardening with kids.  BUT... Having a garden takes time, money, and a commitment.  Make sure you know the good, the bad, and the ugly of gardening before deciding how much you want take on.  Gardening truly is amazing.  As a mom, a teacher, and a backyard gardener, I feel that my life is more complete when I am able to garden with my kids.

Not sure if you want to tackle an entire backyard garden?  Start small, just like these 2 did!  
You may be amazed at how much learning takes place with just 2 pots!


Mansi said...

Great post. pretty much everything aout gardening. thanks for sharing my inputs. mansi @ experimenting mom

The Rainbows / Les Arcs-en-ciel said...

I am known to kill every plant I touch. I've killed a cactus. I've killed bamboo. Last summer we planted tomato plants and they flourished! I'm trying I get myself pumped about soon gardening this year. I don't enjoy it any of it, the process nor the result (or lack there of sometimes...)

Stacy of KSW said...

oh wow, what an eye opening post :) We haven't gotten to that part of gardening yet ... the worst that has happened to us is birds eating EVERYTHING! I had no idea birds ate tomatoes? until they ate all of ours.

Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing with me too!

Amanda said...

That is too funny. If you don't enjoy it, then may I ask why you garden? Just curious!

Amanda said...

Yes, birds get hungry too! I didn't even touch upon the squirils, mice, and even the occasional possum. Can't forget them! Tool (the fabric) can be an inexpensive option for covering plants. I've seen some amazing products on the market, but lots cost $$$!

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