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Jul 7nd

My Garden is my Classroom

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Today I took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed gardening with my kids. We usually plant a vegetable garden, but this year has been so busy that we got off to a really late start thus necessitating the catch-up session. In addition to the usual watering and weeding, today’s tasks also included harvesting our first load of compost from our home compost bin. Not having a lot of sun in the back yard makes for an interesting and slow gardening and composting experience but I was hopeful with the rich earthy smell emanating from the black bin as I approached it today.in the garden with some children

Opening in initiated squeals of joy (from me) and gasps of wonder from my youngest both amazed that the pile of peelings and grass clippings had finally transformed itself into rich and fluffy dirt. “How did it happen?”Asked Maya at my side, “the worms made dirt for us” I answered as we both reached in with our recycled jug-buckets and filled them with fresh compost to spread under our growing cherry tomatoes. As we both kneeled to spread mix in the compost we discovered several bits of plastic that had escaped the screening process and made it into the compost bin over the last couple of years. The conversation that ensued provided a great learning opportunity about recycling, composting and the need to reduce the use of plastics in our society.

It dawned on me what a wonderful things gardens are, not only to grow our own produce, but as a classroom about the environment. With all the media hype about composting and recycling it can be easy to neglect the importance of these conversations with our children; but the impact of holding a pile of dirt that was once a peach (except that darn plastic sticker) can do more for a child than any ad campaign about plastic bags. The importance of connecting with nature is vital to becoming global citizens, but by facilitating that connection we strengthen not only our ties with the earth but with its next generation of caretakers as well.kid dirt

“yum yum for the worms. Yum yum for the tomatoes. Yum yum for me!” – says Maya. The cycle of life has never been simpler.