She arrived with her mom wearing the apron Beth had made for her when she took over our garden last summer. She came to the kitchen, gave us a hug and asked if she could help me toss the salad I was getting ready for dinner. She pulled over a step stool to reach over the large bowl on the counter. Once the salad was all ready, she made me change into a different apron, because the one I was wearing was “a cooking apron, not a gardening one”. I had invited B (my 6 year old garden helper) to come a week ago so we could plant together next year’s garlic crop, and she was definitely ready for business.
Earlier that afternoon, before B’s arrival, I had separated two pounds of organic garlic that I had bought at D Acres Farm in our last visit to New Hampshire in early October.
The cloves all felt firm and were much better than average in size. I had gotten a nice assortment of garlic, some purple, some white, but all apparently the hard neck type.
My previous attempt to grow garlic in my garden using store bought garlic a couple of years ago was not successful at all, so besides getting better seed, I prepared one of my newly built raised beds with a nice 2” top layer of rock dust enriched compost on top of a fluffy layer of compost/vermiculite/peat moss prepared following the traditional Mel’s Mix recipe.
When B arrived in the garden she was surprised to see how different it was from when she last saw it in the summer. She was concerned that the side of the raised bed we were going to work at was a bit too close to the edge of our garden, but once she sat on the ground she was no longer worried. I explained what we were going to do, and showed her how plant the cloves with the pointy side up inside the holes I had previously made about a finger deep and 4” apart.
In order to keep track of our work progress, I had marked the whole bed with a grid made out of cording. We planted one square at a time, before going to the next square, and we marked the planted area by spreading some of the garlic peelings on top of the dirt.
B caught on what was needed to be done immediately, she did not miss planting any of the cloves in the correct place, and truly enjoyed beating me at planting each our designated squares.
In total, we planted 135 cloves, if we get them all to produce a full head we will be set with garlic for next winter, and will feel much safer should vampires start attacking.
Sharing some of my gardening chores with B is truly an enjoyable experience. She may be too young to completely understand many of the reasons why things are done one way or another, but it seems she also finds enjoyment at getting her hands dirty working the ground. It is hard to tell if she will still be interested in gardening as she grows up, but I will be happy to nurture her curiosity in this field while she is.
Do you garden with your children? What activities do you share with them?