Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kid's Gardening - The Full Circle

I was reading through other KinderGardens blogs the other day, and came across this sweet post from Mommy Topics where she talks about how as a "silly city girl" she was surprised that when she went to plant her garden, the pea seeds were just dried up peas, the pumpkins seeds were just... pumpkin seeds, and the sunflower seeds were plain ol' sunflower seeds. I had to laugh, but not at her. No, I remember quite well when I was surprised by the same thing when I started planting my first garden. I, too, remember that light bulb moment when I finally understood why they called it the "birds and the bees" talk. I should've been about eleven when I figured that out. I was twenty three.

What I'd like to know is how on earth did any of us manage to graduate elementary school without this basic knowledge? And sadly, I think you could ask most people what a pea seed looks like and they'd probably be stumped. We all know that plants come from seeds, but most people just figure seeds come from little Burpee packets in the store. Until I started gardening, I always did.

That's the beauty of home school. Seeds are no longer a mystery in our house.

Last year, we saved lettuce, pumpkin, marigold and sunflower seeds. We planted all but the pumpkin (ran out of room), and this year we're seeing the circle completed as each of those seeds is now a thriving plant in the garden.

This year, we're adding spinach seeds to our repertoire.

It's something of an adventure to see how each plant matures and goes to seed, and collecting seeds is different for each type of plant.

There are certainly more efficient ways of seed saving (rather than scattering dried leaves and chaff everywhere) but doing it this way makes it possible for even the Littlest One to get involved.

If you're interested in saving seeds from heirloom vegetables in your garden, there are plenty of books and internet guides on the subject. And, come next spring, you can give your Small Ones some colored pencils and envelopes, then fill the envelopes with seeds they saved themselves - they make a lovely May Day gift!


Kelly Knight said...

I remember sitting on your bed talking about boys and shaving cream, what, 14 years ago? Then a few years later seeing you at late night parties with our piercings and funny colored hair! And now, here we are. Moms. But living such different lives. I never imagined you would be a knitting, gardening, homeschooling mom. I didn't figure I would be a stay at home mom, running a daycare. Its strange to see the different paths people took into adulthood. We really should catch up some time. It would be interesting to hear how you are and how you got there :)

inadvertent farmer said...

What a great post! Yes I also smiled at the post your mentioned...its amazes me how much knowledge has been lost over just a very few generations.

Great photos of seed saving...and great job making your little ones have this very important knowledge about their food! Kim

Just Me said...

I think it's great that you save seeds to plant again from the stuff you grow. One less thing that you have to get elsewhere.

Do you guys roast any of the pumpkin seeds just to eat? Homemade are so much tastier than store bought.

Wendy said...

I agree that there are so many things about the natural world that I've learned within the past 5 years that I should have known as a kid. Who knows what the hell I was learning instead b/c I sure don't remember much!

I love photos of your little girls together because Chole looks so much like you and Cora so much like her dad!

Kirsten said...

love this! :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful :-)