Mothering on the Edge

Monday, August 11, 2008

Interview with a Gardener

Much delayed, an interview with Muum, a master gardener!

What’s the deal with composting? Our Utah soils, in general, are not very fertile. Composting is an ideal (and ecologically sound) way to provide better soil - and by better I mean - better texture, better fertility /more nutrients in the soil.

I heard you chuckle when you stir your compost. Is that true? Yes! Do you ever find yourself way more excited about something than you thought you would be? Do you ever find yourself enjoying something way more than you thought you would? That is what composting is like for me. I like mixing it, moving it, stirring it, adding stuff to it, sifting out the finished compost. It is just all very satisfying to me. Something for nothing, except some work.
"this is black gold, baby!"

What do you usually plant in your vegetable garden? tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions, lettuce, squash, winter and summer, carrots, and parsnips. Sometimes pumpkins, spinach..........

What will excite you the most when it comes up? ? pumpkins, maybe?

What are you doing new this year? swiss chard. does anybody have any recipes?

What do you recommend for getting children involved with gardening?
Work, work, work!!!!

although if yard work is a part of life, at some point some children do develop an interest! (i.e, you did!)

I think work along side a child is a good thing on many fronts, it is time to talk ( for them to talk to you, mostly) and they will work better with you than going away and doing an assignment. It gives you a chance to praise them for their help, and they can see your enthusiasm for the task at hand.

Giving them one vegetable to be 'in charge of' has worked well w/ Katie, we sit down and talk about the garden, and ask her to look at the list of veggies we'll be growing, then she can choose one to plant, help with , etc. That's why we eat parsnips now!

They could also pick out a flower/plant to be responsible for, too. Then during the summer, when I go out to the garden , I take her sometimes and tell her what to do to take care of the pumpkins or the corn or weed her veggie /plant of choice.

If we are headed to the nursery, sometimes I let her buy one thing that is hers. That fosters a lot of enthusiasm. I don't let her buy just anything, but if she says wow, that is pretty, and it is in my $budget and I think it will grow for her, I might get it for her.

those are a few ideas. Mostly I think it is important for people to have some kind of 'garden literacy' so that if they needed to grow their own food, they at least have some idea where to start. And I think gardening is an enjoyable, stress-reducing hobby - how could it not be good for everyone?

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