OUTDOORS

Little Green Fingers for the Summer Garden

Watering our crate gardenSummer here in London is still young enough that we can get a good crop of veggies and herbs going in even the smallest of city gardens or balconies, and with that comes many opportunities of learning for my two little gardeners.

Even though I am a trained Montessori teacher, it has been a learning curve to be a Montessori parent. I have found that the Activities of Everyday Life (Or Practical Life) area of learning has been the first one that my children are exposed to, naturally, within the home as they want to share in with our family washing up, folding their own clothes, self-care like hair brushing and, of course, gardening!

Gardening is especially attractive because it’s an opportunity to work with their hands, to feel the dirt and to get lost within tactile senses. It’s calming and nurturing, as by gently tending to a garden, your heart is tended to by that same garden. Small or big, we can all benefit from growing our own herbs, vegetables and fruit.

Caring for our plants and our environment has brought rich new vocabulary, interesting discussion and concepts which has taken our dwindling home-learning through into the holidays with excitement.

Crate prep

compacting our first courgette plant

Watering our crate planter

Crate planting

Tomato plant

 

We have started our little crate vegetable garden as you can see — we have corn, courgette, tomato, spring onion, pepper and chilli plants on the go. Here are just some easy activities of everyday life which will bring the benefits of incorporating gardening into your family life:

Starting off

  • Placing cress seeds on a damp tissue/botting paper in a jar on a sunny windowsill
  • Placing seeds on a damp cotton wool inside a clear plastic bag in a sunny spot
  • Making newspaper cups for seed sprouting
  • Tracking growth on a chart, day by day
  • Organising gardening tools (child size), in a garden box or on hooks

Preparation and Planting

  • Using a rake to tidy leaves
  • Turning over soil and preparing planting beds with compost
  • Lining crates or boxes with plastic or card, including drainage holes
  • Making rows for planting using toothpicks and string for measuring distance
  • Digging holes for seeds or seedlings to be planted
  • Planting windowsill germinated seeds
  • Watering and compacting soil around seeds and seedlings
  • Labelling each plant with a picture and/or name using lollipop sticks or wooden spoons

Maintenance and harvesting

  • Trimming dead leaves and cleaning planting beds
  • Removing weeds
  • Watering regularly
  • Harvest depending on crop – some may be better for late summer such pumpkin or tomatoes, or late spring such as strawberries or lettuce

Using and sharing

  • Cutting flowers for flower arranging or sharing with neighbours
  • Pressing petals and flowers for making cards and decorations
  • Picking and washing lettuce and tomatoes for salad
  • Picking larger crops such as courgettes for slicing and cooking
  • Picking fresh herbs to make herb oil or to add to the spice cupboard

The environmental impact of looking after our world is increasingly important, and these kinds of activities give children a connection to the world around them, gratitude for sustenance  and bounty, the natural order of growth and the passing seasons.

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” Maria Montessori

Children love meaningful work, they love to contribute to the family and to have their efforts feel worthwhile by sharing and enjoying the fruits of their labour, literally, with others. Do you have small or large spots for your children to get green-fingered? What are their favourite job, and what do you love seeing them do?

Love and light

Zainab x

 

 

 


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