It’s getting to be that time of year again, gardens will soon be getting into the ground here in SW Ontario. Why do I bring that up, after all this isn’t a gardening blog! Well, I bring it up because I have a teenager in my house, and that means I get to involve him in my plans! 🙂 Today let’s talk about teens and gardening.
Specific Skills that Cross Areas
I have to admit, the planning, at least for me, starts the year before. My son is at an age where he’s a good help in the work of gardening. It’s nice to have someone to talk over what worked and didn’t work in the garden that summer. It’s got me thinking about all the ways (other than talking with mom) gardens and teens work well together.
- If you have raised beds, a teen can help in the building. In fact last year, my lad built one of our raised beds completely independently. It’s so nice to be able to trust a lad to do what he says he can. It comes from helping his mom over the years and developing the needed skills.
- Building climbers, spring starter beds, or other needful things in a garden. Teens can do it! Give them the parameters, provide the supplies, let them research what needs doing, and they’ll get it done.
- Shop! I know I know, what teen doesn’t know how to shop. But seriously, they can shop for needed supplies. AND it’s a good skill to practice learning the language of gardening. Giving teens the opportunity to purchase specific items where they have to learn what things are called is a good skill to learn that crosses into a variety of areas.
Grow, Remove, Harvest!
4. Grow! Starting seeds in the house, planting rows outside, learning the differences between weeds and plants, and discussing why we might try something new, and sharing lessons learned. For instance, last year I thought I’d let my volunteer tomatoes grow in amidst the potatoes and discover potatoes dying. This year I learned why that happened and the lad said “see, I said we shouldn’t do that again”.
5. Remove the unwanted. Weeds, rocks, thinning out, overflow. learning to discern what needs to go and what can stay and the benefits of both.
6. Harvest! When to pick, how to store and use. Cooking, canning, and freezing. Teens can be helpful in gathering and storage. They can gain skills necessary for food security and independence. They might even, if you have an overabundance, choose to sell extras in the neighbourhood, and then you’ll have an entrepreneur on your hands. Watching my son cook with food that he picked from the garden is so satisfying.
7. Putting the Garden to bed. At the end of the gardening season, it’s time to put the garden to bed for the winter. At our place, that means turning the gardens and adding rabbit manure so it can set over the winter. Means an earlier start next year. Teens are great at doing hard labour and as they work they can be learning about soil composition, needs of the soil decomposers, crop rotation, weed suppression and the like. It’s also a great time to discuss what did and didn’t work. I keep my notes in a small book.
Additional Benefits of Teens and Gardening
8. The intangibles. Being out in the sun working hard is good don’t you find? I love working my hands through the dirt, feeling it for looseness, and checking for soil decomposers. There something wonderful about planting seeds and then waiting a few days for growth to occur. Seeing those first shoots, then seeing the growth and then the harvest. It’s always a wonderful thing to watch.
Teens and Gardening feels like the perfect fit to me, what do you think? Can you think of additional ways that teens can benefit from being out in the garden?
Homeschool Life Magazine this month has several articles you may find interesting this month. Some of them are listed Below. If you are interested in these topics the magazine sell for $5.95.
- Organizing the Schoolroom
- Homeschooling in the Great Outdoors
- Teaching Your Kids Not to Quit
- Unit Study: Victorian Age
- Virtual Field Trip: The Louvre
- Will Your Children Kneel or Bow?
- Preparing a High School Transcript
- Raising Children in Christ-like Character: Kindness
- Project Passport: The Middle Ages
- High School Prep Genius
SchoolhouseTeachers.com (affiliate link) has a number of courses to support teens and the various skills they learn gardening. From classes to help entrepreneurs, to how to homestead, and understand plants. Right now they are having a sale where you pay $39/quarter for all classes PreK-12. Just use the code SUPPORT.