My Daughter's Strawberry Garden

Since my daughter has so much fun helping me with my garden, I decided that it was time to let her create one of her own.  A garden, after all, is a great way to teach children not only science, but also responsibility, independence and confidence.  There's a reason that many homeschooled children work in family owned gardens, after all! 

I told my daughter about this decision and was rewarded with an excited smile.  I asked her what she wanted to plant in it, and she thought about it for a while.  Finally, she looked up at me and responded.

"Ice cream seeds."

It took a bit of time to convince her that this wasn't an option.  I finally assured her that we could make ice cream and place what we had planted inside it. 

Naturally, she decided on strawberries, since strawberry ice cream is her favorite.  For a few days after this, my daughter continually talked to me about how she needed to get some strawberries.  She was very much looking forward to her garden.

Not knowing how much soil I needed to place inside the Earthbox I had chosen for her garden location, I had her get the box ready for her strawberry plants.  While she was focused on strawberry seeds specifically, I knew this was only because seeds are all she's seen me use this year, but that she'd be more inclined to watch over her garden if she had actual plants with leaves to look at from day one.

Since it was her garden, she needed to be involved from step one, so I opened a bag of soil and gave her a small shovel so that she could fill her Earthbox.  She worked quite diligently!

Of course, we're talking about a three year old here, so this process took forever.  I elected to help out by dumping half of the bag inside the box, which reduced the time involved significantly!  Once she had finished filling the box with dirt, I had her even out the soil, which, of course, was very exciting for her.  Her hands were covered in black dirt by the time she was done.

Finally, it was time to go to the Garden Center and purchase some strawberry plants... as well as the oregano seeds that I needed to complete my spaghetti garden!  There were plants everywhere, but she was single-minded.  She pranced through the rows of plants with one objective in mind:  Strawberries!!!  She ignored many flowers that would normally get her attention as she searched.  When she finally found the strawberry plants, she squealed with happiness, and I selected three for her. 

She rushed me out of the nursery as soon as they were paid for, and I got to listen to her talk about the plants the entire way home.  This gave me the opportunity to explain how the berries grow, and I was able to get her to understand the importance of not picking the flowers... something she loves to do.

Transplanting went pretty well.  She placed the first plant into the Earthbox, and I took care of the other two.  We then added more dirt into the box until the roots were entirely covered.  Of course, I use the word 'we', but in reality, after doing this for a while she got a bit bored and ran off to chase butterflies.  That's ok, though... she got the basics down!

Last, I grabbed some grass out of the attachment to my reel mower, and placed a small amount around the base of each plant to use as mulch. 

Why so little, you ask?  Well, in truth, I should have used a lot more, but it was difficult sifting through everything to locate grass that hadn't been mixed with walnut leaves.  The black walnut leaves would definitely kill the strawberry plants, since its phytotoxin is found within every portion of the tree. Not only that, but I also had to be careful not to get any pieces of creeping charlie in the mulch.  The plant can grow from the smallest of cuttings, after all!

My daughter is very excited about her garden!  I'm hoping for great success.  One of the reasons I began this blog, after all, was to teach her the value of being environmentally responsible, and this gives her an up close and personal view of the importance of nature!

I thought that having a three year old create her own garden would be a difficult task, but it was surprisingly easy, as well as fun.  All it takes is a large flower box or pot, so it can really be done by anyone, anywhere.  Even someone that lives in an apartment can do this with their child. 

I call this a total win!