From scratch: sowing the Easter garden
It was just before Easter in one year. Claudia’s grandson told her, “Grandma, I want to grow food!” Not the usual request of a five-year-old child, but Claudia was a gardener and knew what to do with her grandson’s wishes. On Easter that year, she filled a basket with seeds and with the advent of spring helped him get started.
I love this story! First, I like that this young boy had the awareness and confidence to state what he wanted – and that it was growing food. And I like that his grandmother responded so positively. Not everyone takes young children seriously.
Second, in my opinion, a large basket of chocolate bunnies, peeps® and jelly beans tends to make Easter look like spring Halloween. Basically, I just don’t like the idea of all this sugar. So when my son was little, we put a small amount of candy in his basket and filled the rest with art materials to ensure his love of drawing and painting. He liked it more than the little chocolate bunny and the handful of jelly.
Third, of course, I love anything that promotes growing vegetables, especially when it comes to young children. And what a great way to strengthen the connection between the generations.
So if there are young people in your life, I invite you to imagine an Easter basket filled with bags of seeds, children’s hand tools and garden gloves. Maybe a little watering can and a book like “From Seed to Plant” by Gail Gibbons. (Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uecitT) You can also switch from plastic Easter “grass” to paper replacement. (Available from Target, Michael’s and Amazon and probably from other sources.)
If desired, you could go further and add garden boots or paws and a hoe. Garden hat. A little book for writing and drawing pictures. Or, because gardening is a gift that you can continue to give for a long time, you may want to save some of these things for birthdays and other events.
With the warming weather and increasing daylight, spring is obviously the perfect time to start such a project. But I think planting seeds also goes perfectly with the Easter story and can be used to reinforce speech: what seems dead is buried. Love revives him. For seeds, perhaps, love is moisture and warmth. And as long as there is love – to care for, weed, water, feed – the plants that grow from these “dead” seeds will flourish.
There are many sources for vegetable seeds, and many companies offer “collections” just for kids. (I was looking for “baby vegetable seeds.”) Here are some options I came across:
From Etsy, “My first garden kit for kids”. Includes seed pots along with seeds for six fast-growing vegetables: cherry tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, peas, zucchini, pumpkin. (https://etsy.me/3E0aA2R)
From Pinetree Seeds, “Children’s Collection is Just My Size,” including Kentucky Blue Pole Bean, Jack-be-Little Pumpkin, Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea, Muncher Cucumber, Little Finger Carrot and Giant Gray Striped Sunflower. (https://www.superseeds.com/products/just-my-size-kids-collection)
From Strictly Medicinal Seeds, “Kidz Vegetable Garden,” including Royal Purple Pod beans, Cosmic Purple Carrot, Lemon Acumber, Laxton’s Progress Peas, Tom Thumb Popcorn, Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin and Mammoth Sunflower. (https://bit.ly/3JkqW77)
Note: Staying at the Vendor boutique last Sunday at the Garden Club Federation of PA Convention in Malvern was a wonderful experience. I had to meet and talk to a large number of garden club members from all over the state, including Claudia, who shared a story about her grandson. And thank you to the readers who also came to my table! It was nice to meet you and hear some of your gardening stories.
Pam Baxter is an avid organic gardener living in Kimberton. Send an email to email@example.com or mailbox 80, Kimberton, Pennsylvania, 19442. Share your gardening stories on Facebook at Chester County Roots. Pam’s nature books for kids and families are available on Amazon, at Amazon.com/author/pamelabaxter.