"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our own version of square foot gardening.

My oldest daughter has had her own "plot" since she was about 3.  I helped her with her planting back then, guiding where she should put the seeds.  As she got older she wanted to do the planting by herself.  This led to wild seed sowing and quite a lot of wasted space.  We would find clumps of carrots and lettuce in one corner and completely bare spots in the other areas.  She would be disappointed things weren't growing well,  or wondered how they all ended up in a group.   
Here she is with her original "whiskey barrel" garden.

 Eventually the planter fell apart with old age, and she got to move up to one of the raised beds to use as her own vegetable garden.  Every year she gets to choose what she wants to plant there.   Her regular choices are sugar snap peas and several varieties of carrots.   She likes to experiment with some new vegetables too each year.    
The little gardener with her prized carrots a few years ago.

Now that she's 10 and understands instructions as well as being a math whiz, I tried to think of a way for her to use her math and gardening skills together.   I thought this year I'd help her with her spacing a bit by measuring one foot by one foot squares.  Not quite square foot gardening but more as a spatial guide for her.   Hopefully this will also help her to grow more vegetables since she will be using the space more efficiently
She got right to work the other day planting and marking where she wanted her vegetables to grow.  I could see her doing rough measurements and hear her doing a little division while figuring out how many seeds would fit in the one foot square spaces.    
Another benefit aside from learning about planting, has been that she just loves eating the vegetables she grows.  I think she prefers eating peas to candy.  Well, that might be pushing it a little, but she really did learn to like new vegetables this way.  
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  1. This is great! I love that your daughter loves to garden like her mom. Mine is just to the age that she'll help but she'll also whine about it a bit. 13 is great! I like this method and follow it very loosely.

  2. Great going, getting her started so young! I have struggled with finding the patience to garden with my daughter, as she's a bit of a wild thing at times. Making her own space or putting it in a handy container - those seem like the way to go. I know she would have a great time - maybe this is the year to really do it! Thanks for the inspiration. - Karen

  3. Now, this is awesome, Catherine, getting to see a gardener through time, as well as growing areas! What fun!

    I actually had part of my garden set up for square foot gardening in 4x4 beds when my 2 kids were growing up. At times, I gave them each one of the beds, but their interest usually didn't last the whole summer. They liked the planting, picking, and eating, though. My son liked to go hunting for bugs and other critters all season.

    I hope to see more pics of your daughter's gardening.

  4. Can I please borrow that pretty little girl in purple to stand in my garden?

  5. Peas ARE better than candy. :)

    Your post reminds me of my little ones, not so little anymore. It's kind of a bittersweet thing. I loved their presence, their chatter, their innocence. Now that teenage pursuits have trumped digging in the dirt, THERE'S MORE ROOM FOR ME... (wicked laughter!)

    I'm pretty sure that once they have homes of their own, they'll be gardening again.

    Your girls are adorable.

  6. This is great that she's been doing it for so long and that she still enjoys it - good sign? I think so. Love the fashion boots!

  7. I'm very impressed - my two have occasional bursts of enthusiasm, tempered with long periods of no interest whatsoever. They do like the harvesting side of things, though.

  8. What a beautiful gardener she is and this is a great way for her to learn and eat her veggies too!

  9. What a great helper you have there, Catherine! It's a great idea to give her her own raised bed! My boys are diggers, they like to dig planting holes for me.

  10. She's a cutie and a lucky girl her mommy shares garden space with her. Here's to a bumper crop for her with the new space use method.

  11. Heather - I'm enjoying it for as long as I can. I remember losing interest in anything outdoors during my high school years when socializing was more fun. I hope my 2 year old will enjoy gardening too.

    Karen - I think you should give it a try with your daughter. I bet she'd love to see what she could grow and there are so many things that grow so easily for little ones.

    Sue - I think it's great you did that for your kids. Even if they just enjoy the planting and harvesting it's still a learning experience for them.

    Darla - Isn't she a cute? I can't believe how little she was now that she's already 10.

    Grace- There is a bright side to them growing up :) I bet they will enjoy it when they have their own gardens, that's what happened with me. I remember hating it as a teen because of the garden chores I had to do.

    Rain Gardener - I hope it's a good sign :) She loves being outside. She was out in the snow in flip flops today checking on plants :)

    Amanda - The harvesting is the most fun though :)

    Mildred - I've told a lot of my friends that the way I got her to enjoy veges was growing her own. They are so much better fresh from the garden.

    Tatyana - That's great they love to dig holes for you. As they get bigger and stronger they can really help you!

    Tina - Thanks, I hope she has great success with it too. Then we all win and get to enjoy her veges! :)

  12. I just think it's fantastic that a 10 year old is learning all about gardening. And the added plus of how she likes to eat her veggies. That's a win-win situation.

  13. You are so lucky she has the same interests as you do. This will be a life long lesson for her too!

  14. Susie - It definitely is a win-win, especially since she's a great girl anyway :)

    Randy - I am lucky she loves to garden. I've had her out with me since she was a baby, and now I've got her little sister out with me too.

  15. How cute is that?! I wish I'd been more into gardening when the girls were little.

  16. I'm so happy to see her sticking with it. Gives me hope my little guy will do the same. We planted his beans today, and by we I mean we because he just wanted to poke a stick at the tulips.

  17. Lucky you! My 3 girls don't seem to care for gardening. Neither does the boy but he'll help digging and don't mind the dirt unlike his sisters.
    It's good that your daughter is eating more veggies, might make her appreciates her patch more.blossom Blooms

  18. What a joy to see and read about! A wonderful experience that will last forever for both of you. I hope you have the same experience with your little one next. The pictures were priceless.


  19. Kylee - It's been a fun experience :)

    Melanthia - My little one isn't very interested either, her way of helping is by pouring water on herself. I think next summer they'll be old enough to be more interested.

    lili1 1 - I guess they all end up with their own interests. Most of her friends aren't interested in gardening either.

    Flower Lady - Thanks! Yes, next summer I'll have to find my little one her own plot and hopefully she'll enjoy gardening too :)

  20. It is a blessing that your children and husband are so into gardening. Mine could careless...maybe I will rub off on him oneday.

  21. Hi Catherine, this is the bestest of the bestest! Your little math whiz growing her own veggies. Just think of what she will do when she is all grown up with childres of her own. Well done, my dears! :-)

  22. Fantastic post-great pictures! You have cultivated one smart little gardener there, and produced some great memories too.

  23. Dirt Princess - My husband isn't really that into it either. He helps do the hard work, but otherwise isn't out there helping weeding or that kind of thing. I think because I've had my girls out since they were little they just got used to being out there and became interested.

    Frances - I hope she will enjoy gardening with her own kids, it seems to run in our genes in my family :)

    Aerie-el - Thanks! I hope her memories of gardening as a little girl will be as good as mine are of her being a great little gardener.

  24. That is so wonderful...getting her started so early. What a pretty girl ! Love the photos on your sidebar--cute!

  25. That's really wonderful! It's cool she has her very own garden to experiment in, and I hope she has great success and record yields with her new system.

    I was raised in a gardening family and so were my kids. All of them have the interest, but only one so far has a space of her own for gardening. She's using it too, and I suspect the other two will once they have some outdoor space of their own.

  26. I think it's great you have you children involved with their own gardening projects! The little bunny is a nice touch!

  27. What a great idea! I'm going to have to give my little ones some space in the garden, too, especially if that will help them get excited about eating their veggies.

  28. Kanak Hagjer - Thanks!

    garden girl - It's great that your kids have the interest too. It makes it so fun to be out their together doing something you love.

    Tessa- She really does have fun, and she's almost worse than me when it comes to buying seeds :)

    VW - I bet your kids would have a great time. It doesn't take much space, especially when they are little. The veggie eating was a great reason to let her expand!

  29. You must be thrilled to see your daughter growing up gardening already! My two kids are in their 20's, and somehow I didn't pass my love of gardening on to them. Perhaps when they get their own homes someday. But I did recently decide to buy my daughter her first houseplant next time we see her, so maybe that will light the fire.

  30. This is truly gardening at its best. Just think of how grand her garden will be when she is your age.


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