PLANTING MORE THAN JUST THE VEGETABLE SEEDS.

It's never too early to introduce children to gardening. Planting the seed of interest for gardening in toddlers can provide them with a plethora of learning experiences. Having taught for over 30 years, I've always found that hands-on activities coupled with the lesson, piques a child's interest. The GREAT OUTDOORS provides a setting like no other for acquiring knowledge in so many areas.

Appreciation for MOTHER NATURE and how it is intertwined with our very existence provides wisdom beyond what can be obtained in books.

Colors, smells, and textures of all that is found in a garden come to life, arousing many senses.

Gross and fine motor skills are worked on as these little bundles of joy make their way around the garden.

What little kid doesn't like to play with a hose as it spouts out water, a liquid needed for all life?

Lessons in responsibility abound!

These young minds will benefit from learning throughout the process of planting, nurturing and harvesting.

Food no longer comes from a shelf in the local supermarket, but rather from the dirt we walk on.

Healthy eating habits can be fostered at a very early age!

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A few weeks ago our son came to the farm with his beautiful family. One of the first things his oldest daughter, just three, asked me was, "Pop, can we take a walk." In the past, we have explored many different places on the farm, and when I asked her where she would like to go, her reply put a smile on my face. "Can we go to the garden and pick some beets?"

After breakfast, we strolled to the garden and for the first few minutes, their excitement had me following them around at a brisk pace.
It was a good thing that some of the veggies were ready to be harvested because they were ready to fill the basket we had brought along.
They plucked beats, with a little help from Pop. We cut cucumbers from the vines, but not before running into a bee doing its thing. What a great opportunity this provided to talk to them about the importance of bees.

An hour or so later we had filled the basket with all kinds of veggies and I had answered more questions in that hour than I had in the past month.
Anyone who has ever answered a question asked by a child, knows that a second question always follows, WHY?

Another thing that always makes me smile is just how independent children want to be, whether they can perform the task or not, they got it.
When we started to walk back to the house, I started out carrying the basket of goodies, but before I had taken my second step, Peyton said, "I'll carry the basket, Pop." Carry the basket she did, losing a few things on the way. She struggled, but every time I asked her if she needed some help, I got the standard reply, "I've got it, Pop."

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With all of the rain we have had over the past several months I didn't expect that our harvest would prove to be so bountiful.

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As was our hope, the deep freezer is almost filled to capacity, and there is still plenty left on the vines.

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It's always exciting to pick the tubers, never knowing what you'll find hidden below the surface.
The sweet potatoes need more time, but if their vines are any indication of what lies beneath, our second go at growing these delicious spuds should be more than what we expected. 🤞

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There is nothing better than a homegrown tomato, one that is allowed to ripen on the vine rather than while in transit from a thousand miles away.

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The sauce tomatoes were plentiful and are still coming in by the dozens. @amberyooper put out a recent post on making tomato sauce, and I think we may be giving his method a try next year. His technique seems to be simpler. He suggests looking into the Victorio 200 tomato strainer.

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We planted more cabbage than in the past and are thrilled with the solid huge heads that grew.

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Here is one of my favorite vegetables of all time, beets.
You talk about the nutritional benefits of a vegetable, beets are on the top of many lists.
Last year we made just two quarts of pickled beets, this year our plan is to make 10 quarts of these bad boys.

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And to think that 80% of this year's bounty was all started in this window box now has our freezer stuffed with enough veggies to get us to next year's growing season, boggles my mind.

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Yes, this post has been edited. Usually, I find some funky stuff that needs correcting after I push the button down, but in this case, I just wanted to add the footer to this post that @riverflows so graciously made, JUST FOR ME.
I must admit, I'm very proud of myself. Without a three-ring circus act, I was able to click on the footer, choose the correct choice from the six choices I was given, rename the footer, and find it in the downloads file in less than a minute. 😁😁😁

Garden on through to the other side my fellow gardeners, and don't forget to nurture young minds along with the veggies!

Come and join in on the fun @flemingfarm and @jerrytsuseer, let's enjoy what is happening in your dirt.

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