Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The magic of a summer garden

 The garden is such a wonderful resource we have at Tumbleweed. Since the start of the warmer temperatures in spring we have seen an explosion of life in the garden. Our plants are growing bigger each day and recognizable vegetables we all know and love are emerging. We love checking on the garden every time we come back from the weekend and seeing what’s new. Sometimes flowers pop up over a few days or crops ripen and are ready to be picked. We harvested the peas on thursday and came back to find several more growing on monday!
We enjoy watching what kind of creatures are crawling in the garden like spiders, beetles, worms and all sorts of multi-legged insects.
One day we released ladybugs and watched where they went and what they did. We talked about how ladybugs help the garden stay healthy because they eat aphids, a bug that eats the plants. Lately we have been noticing beautiful butterflies fly through the garden. Someone always notices and follows the butterfly until it is out of sight. We talk about the important role of insects like bees and what they do to help plants grow.  

The garden presents many learning opportunities ready to be explored. We first started learning about seeds and how a little seed holds the power of life and takes root once it is planted in the ground. Then we learned that once the seed is in the ground it needs nourishment like the sun and water to help it grow strong. As it develops roots it gets the nutrients it needs from the soil and continues to grow.

Since we planted seeds and plant starts in the spring the garden has seen an explosion of growth. At first there were only branches, then leaves began to grow in the spring. We observed blossoms on the branches, and soon enough the little buds turned into miniature versions of the fruits and vegetables we recognize every day like apples, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots.

Children love helping take care of the garden by watering it and helping pull weeds. When it is time to harvest they can help pick peas or pull the leaves off to separate a head of cauliflower or cabbage from the rest of the plant.

When we wait to harvest something as a group, like raspberries, it can be challenging for everyone, especially when we enjoy raspberries so much and they are right at our fingertips, but the garden is a helpful tool to teach the importance of waiting and as a result we develop patience. We learn that through waiting to pick the raspberries as a group that we will be able to
pick them when they are ready to be eaten and enjoy them all together for snack. Through this experience we can promote collaboration through working together to take care of the garden and then enjoy the fruit of our efforts together.