While in Richmond the other day, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty that lies in the murals and tasteful graffiti that adorn the walls of the brick buildings in Jackson Ward. After grabbing a bite at Mama J's, the mural above caught my eye, and got me thinking of my planned 2015 garden. Many don't know this, but I'm a great cook and I managed a program, "Science and Our Food Supply," about ten years ago, and to this day, I have a deep appreciation about preparing my food from the farm, to the table.
Many communities have garden plots available; if you live in a community that does not, then consider planting a few vegetables, and/or flowers in a small corner in your yard. Over the years, I have come to enjoy potted gardens! For the past four years, I have grown an array of tomatoes, onions, peppers, okra, raspberries and flowers on my deck.
Another idea to consider is an herb garden! Below is a picture of mine, I started this one in my kitchen last year after realizing I had picked up a few items from Ikea, that I knew what to do with, so I decided to use the small jars to make fresh herbs from the local Farmer's Market available to me, while cooking! I usually keep mine stocked with fresh basil, dill, mint, and rosemary. In addition to having "fresh herbs on demand," it also makes a wonderful aroma in my kitchen!
To bring gardening completely across the curriculum, incorporate stories about flowers and vegetables into the activity with your child. For younger children, I recommend any "VeggieTales" story/movie, "Jack and the Beanstalk," the opportunities are endless! If you have a story you'd like to recommend, please add it in the comments below.
For pre-teens/teens (yes, your teens can garden with you), I recommend "The Rose that Grew from Concrete" and/or "Marigolds," by Eugenia W. Collier. Both works teach youth valuable lessons that have an impact on their teen years, in a variety of ways. After reading, have your pre-teen/teen grow roses, and/or marigolds in a flowerbed, or a small pot.
What will you and your child(ren) grow in your garden this summer?
BONUS: Here is a video of the short story, "Marigolds:" by Luis H on Vimeo
Marigolds from Luis H on Vimeo.