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The Artful Gardener? +Some Gardening Books for Kids and Parents

by Jean Van't Hul
April 2, 2008
Gardening Books for Kids and Parents

My perennials are coming back! I’m so thrilled.

You can tell I’m new to gardening for this to be such a miracle to me.

I love gardening.

You know this. I’ve told you this. I realize that I’ve also told you that this blog is about ART and so I will try to keep most of my posts focused on that subject.

However! It is spring and my gardening heart is going pitter patter and my time is being spent outdoors more and more as the days get warmer, and so I am going to warn you that I might also post about GARDENING from time to time. I’ll also warn you that my love of gardening doesn’t always translate into a beautiful yard and garden.

I’m working on it but I’m still a newbie.

Gardening with Kids

Anyway, I’ll start with this—a birthday present from Harry. He had built me two raised beds when we first moved into our house, but it wasn’t enough for all the vegetables I wanted to grow. I tried growing squash in the flower garden and tomatoes in pots in a ring around the yard, but I really just needed (wanted) a couple of extra garden beds. And now I have them.

Thank you sweetie!

Raised Garden Beds

I already have three of the four beds planted with spinach, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, kyoto mizuna (an asian green that sounded good in  John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog), broccoli, cabbage, and parsley. Along the fence I have peas and beets. And in the back I have potatoes.

I know it doesn’t look like much now. But I’m sure I will feel inspired to give you updates occasionally (probably whether you want them or not).

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Oh, and I have herbs over on the other side of the yard, including rosemary, lemon thyme, Greek oregeno, summer savory, chives, cilantro, and dill. When the weather gets warmer I’ll start growing some of the warm weather stuff such as tomatoes, beans, squash, melons, basil, cucumbers, etc. You wanted to know all that, right?

I’ve just finished re-reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and am motivated to grow as much of our own food as possible this summer.

Not that I’m just into veggies.

I also love, love, love flowers and have started a bunch of annuals indoors (in addition to being in a tizzy over my perennials coming up).

Maia Watering

To make all this relevant to parenting, I’ll share my attempt to raise a gardener, or at least someone who appreciates nature and the miracle of growing things. Last year Maia picked almost all of my tomatoes while they were still green, so clearly it’s a work in process. However, she also ate fresh carrots and peas straight from the garden!

She has her own set of gardening tools (thanks to her grandma, who tried to raise me a gardener and who seemingly failed until I was in my twenties) and a new child-sized wheelbarrow. I’m thinking of buying one of those half whiskey barrels this year so Maia can have her very own, toddler-sized garden.

Some Gardening Books for Kids and Parents

Gardening Books for Kids and Parents by Sharon Lovejoy

Sharon Lovejoy, author of my favorite children’s gardening books including Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots and Sunflower Houses talks about the importance of children having their very own plot (or pot) even if they water the plants too much, pull the radishes prematurely, etc. The point is that they feel ownership of the garden.

Gardening Books for Kids by Lois Ehlert

We’re also enjoying reading picture books about gardening. Two that we have and like about vegetable gardening are: Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert as well as her book, Eating the Alphabet.

Jacks Garden Gardening book for children

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole is another good one.

Gardening Books for Kids by Eve Bunting

Eve Bunting is a favorite author of ours and she has a couple of gardening books for kids, including Sunflower House and Flower Garden.

Do you have any favorites to share? I’m always on the lookout for some good gardening books for kids.

And that, my friends, is the end of my (very long) post about gardening. Thank you for reading.

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