Try and explain to a five-year-old that the vegetable plants belong to everyone.
“But that’s MY plant!”
“Yes, you planted that one, but it belongs to everyone. We all helped.”
She points. “That one’s mine.”
Still working on the concept of co-op gardening, I attempted to explain further, “It’s a co-op garden which means, we all share in the vegetable planting AND the vegetable eating.”
Met by a hard-nosed glare, I decided it was best to let go of the subject. A wise gardener knows when to let go of the vine.
For now, we’ll simply enjoy the fruits of our labors and if that means each child is enjoying a particular plant, than so be it. At least we’re all enjoying the garden, right?
And speaking of enjoying the garden, one of the best ways to do so is to use our sense of smell. Take these herbs, basil and rosemary.
Not only beautiful, you can almost smell them, can’t you?
Can’t wait to start clipping! And rather than rotate these lovely herbs, we can leave them in as long as they’ll continue producing — which means the rosemary will stay for an indeterminate amount of time while the basil will succumb to the freeze.
In addition to our glorious herbs, we now have strawberries, thanks to our kindergarteners. These kids KNOW how to garden and weeded this bed in no time flat.
Once the weeds were out, we transplanted small Quinault strawberries.
This variety is wonderful, because it will produce numerous berries and do so well into May/June. They’ll also spread out and fill this bed quite nicely.
Rounding out our fully planted garden is kale. As babies, these plants can easily be mistaken for beets, but they are quite different. Large and leafy, these small cherubs will grow to produce large nutrient-rich leaves. YUM.
Can’t wait until harvest! Which at the rate these kids are growing — don’t blink! — will happen before you know it. Take these upper elementary kids. Savvy and sweet, thinning the corn and pumpkin, they decided a little corn/pumpkin dressing might be nice around the monument built in honor of their lost tomato plant, to sort of spruce things up a bit.
Clever, aren’t they? And the good news? They only grow more clever with each passing year… Yes, I DO mean middle school. Can’t wait!
In the meanwhile, I think it’s best to simply enjoy their enthusiasm. I mean, doesn’t matter if it’s weeds or seeds, these kids take to a task like white on rice —
— and get the job done, tout de suite! And remember the jungle tangle of black beans? Well, it’s a jungle no more after these kids whipped through it, pulling excess bean plants as they went.
No one ever wants to pull perfectly healthy plants, unless of course they’re inhibiting one another’s growth. But then, what’s a gardener to do?
P.S. What I said was kale isn’t — it’s Swiss Chard. Oops! My apologies — but it is just as healthy and delightful!