In my life I have never been able to keep plants alive…EVER!! Trust me, I have tried and they just die! I guess you can say I have the opposite of a green thumb…whatever that is!
You can imagine how nervous I was when Love Bear asked if we could plant a garden in our small apartment patio this year. I wanted her to have the experience of learning through gardening, but had some serious doubts about my ability to keep these plants alive long enough to teach her and Imagination Bear anything.
With my nerves in my back pocket, Love Bear and I headed down to the local home improvement store and spent some money on soil, pots, seeds and flowers. The joy and excitement in her face was priceless…but would it last?
We purchased tomato seeds, strawberry and basil seeds. We used the information we found at Renee’s Garden about growing tomatoes as our how-to guide. I love that her techniques and tips come fully illustrated with step-by step photos! Great for visual learners like me!
The little bears helped plant our seeds and water them. They water their seeds, now plants, regularly and have kept them going for weeks! We are happy to report that we now have a big tomato, two strawberry and four basil plants. We even have a small green tomato growing already!! I’ve also been able to use some of the basil to top homemade pizza and pasta dishes, which is very cool in my book! We haven’t had any strawberries yet, but they are coming…and Imagination Bear can’t wait – That is the only plant she cares about!
While the little bears have been waiting for the tomato and strawberry plant to produce fruit, we’ve used a yard stick to measure our basil and tomato plants periodically. They’ve also been keeping a small “science journal” (AKA – pieces of blank paper the girls get to draw on – nothing fancy) where we track the growth of the plan. We use these papers to then see what things have changed on the plants. In the future we will be dissecting one of our tomatoes and continuing to expand our garden into a science unit on plants. For now we are just happy that plants are growing and that we will soon have a tomato we grew from a seed!
Here is to setting your fears aside and diving into something you think will be an epic failure. Why, you ask? Because the kids want to learn about it!!
So what have we learned while gardening so far?
While planting our seeds we learned some great practical life skills like scooping and pouring. We learned to read the back of the labels on plants – who knew they had so much information on them!! (OK – you all probably knew this already, but I didn’t!)
While waiting for our seeds to sprout we learned that plants don’t grow overnight. Watching seeds grow and change, and tending to tiny seedlings had helped us gain patience and learn about the basic needs of plants.
While observing our plants we’ve learned about observing to identify change. Spending a few minutes each week focusing in on what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and predicting what we thing will change next. We’ve learned to use tools like a yard stick, and our “science journal” to collect data about the changes we see happening.