Green Thumbs—Every Child Needs Two!
- Friday, May 03, 2013
A Treasure Chest in Our Own Backyard!
The hand of the gardener can change the land and transform a life. Any type of garden is like a treasure chest waiting to be opened for the discovery of God’s amazing miracles. The purpose is to delight and enrich our children. I still remember the happy times my mother and I spent in our garden while I was growing up. My grandmother’s garden, too, was always a great source of joy throughout my life. Now that I am gardening with my children, I am gleaning a lot of my gardening inspiration from them both.
You can start a heritage of family memories that your children will pass down to future generations, bringing great blessings upon them. That garden may be growing beans or daisies, but in the child’s heart, eternal seeds are growing.
Safety in the Garden
When thinking about gardening, safety comes first. There are many beautiful, yet poisonous, plants. Time invested in identifying the plants that already exist in your garden and removing any that may be harmful is time well spent. Gardening tools can be dangerous if left lying around. Garden shed doors, garages, tool boxes, etc. should be off limits to unsupervised children.
Animals can contaminate the soil by depositing feces; cats’ waste can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease related to birth defects for the developing baby in the womb. Tetanus is a serious disease that affects the body’s muscles and nerves; typically, it is caused by a bacterium that is often found in soil. Wear gloves when working with soil, and always get into the habit of vigorous hand washing after gardening. Proper caution is needed to protect against skin damage from the sun, so get out the sun block and other protective gear.
Water in or near the garden can be a danger too. The presence of ponds, streams, and even water in containers can lead to drowning accidents. Chemicals in the garden can lead to serious health problems, prompting many people to investigate natural gardening alternatives.
Organic gardening—what does it mean? It is a gardening approach that works with nature rather than fighting against it with chemicals. Putting chemicals on your garden often makes the problem worse since some pests will just adapt to the pesticides, so you will have to add others, resulting in a toxic mixture in your garden. Scientific studies have proven that the chemicals used to kill off pests in the garden are very harmful to our health. “Few of the first gardening chemicals are still in legal use. Each year, more are taken off the market as evidence of health dangers emerges.”
The alternative is to establish a naturally healthy garden that can sustain itself without being dependent on artificial chemicals. Natural gardening starts with the soil, which needs to be built up and maintained by composting and crop rotation. Many of the pest control methods used in the past are becoming popular again as the dangers of pesticides and artificial fertilizers are revealed. One such method is intercropping, which is the practice of growing two or more crops in proximity. Intercropping encourages biodiversity, which in turn helps to limit outbreaks of crop pests.3 “Being an organic gardener is not about going back in time, but rather about going forward into a sustainable form of modern gardening.”4 What a great idea for a report for the kids: Sustainable Gardening—The Way of the Future!
Gardening for a Purpose
When God planted a garden, He had a purpose and a plan, and we need to do the same. Without a long-term vision in mind, those good gardening intentions can wither. Pick a purpose or two for your garden and it can flourish—be creative and have fun together! Here are a few ideas to get you going:
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