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Skaggs: Family time can be spent gardening

POSTED: April 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Today’s busy lifestyles often leave families little time to spend together. But now that the holidays are almost over, why not make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time with family?

One fun way to do just that is to get them involved in gardening. Gardening offers a perfect opportunity for a family to share and learn together. Many activities are suitable for family time in the garden. Here are a few ideas:

Garden together

Plant a vegetable garden. The rewards of a vegetable garden are as exciting to adults as they are to children, giving both a sense of accomplishment. Sharing the joy and excitement or even the disappointment and failure of a vegetable garden strengthens family ties.

If you do not have enough space to plant a traditional vegetable garden, you have other options. My family and I live in a small neighborhood, and we simply don’t have the room to plant much of a garden. In past years, my son and I have planted tomatoes in large containers.

While he doesn’t understand all the science behind how they grow, he was amazed at the progress of our tomato plants. While you might not produce a bumper crop, it will provide you an opportunity to get young children interested in gardening at an early age.

Conserve

Talk to your children and grandchildren about water conservation. We are all aware of the seriousness of the ongoing drought. However, children may not fully understand the seriousness of the situation.

Begin talking with your children about how they can help combat the drought by saving water — both in the landscape and garden and inside the home. Begin with simple tasks such as turning off the faucet while brushing or reusing bath water for watering trees and shrubs in the landscape.

Water conservation is not just for adults — it’s for people of all ages. The sooner we begin to educate our young people on how they can help, the greater our effect will be.

Get to know your plants

Learn the names of plants. Spending time in the garden to learn about plants can be fun for parents and children alike. In addition to learning about fruits, vegetables and flowers, this time is a perfect opportunity to learn the difference between beneficial bugs and true pests.

The garden is a fertile ground of opportunities for families to grow together and learn more about each other while tending the soil. It offers the opportunity for adults and children to share ideas and communicate. So this year, why not make gardening a family affair?

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County Extension Coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.



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