From the Garden: This Fall, Introduce Your Kids to the Garden!

By Erin Breglia

Autumn offers many oppor­tu­ni­ties to bond with those we love. Fam­i­lies can come togeth­er to pick apples, explore a corn maze, or select the per­fect Hal­loween pumpkin. 

When I was grow­ing up, rak­ing leaves to form the biggest pile ever” was a tra­di­tion for my broth­ers and me. We would turn this chore into a cham­pi­onship and spend hours enjoy­ing the task — and learn about com­post­ing in the process. After dump­ing the leaves onto the com­post pile, my mom would have us turn it, mix­ing the leaves in with the dirt and oth­er organ­ic scraps. Occa­sion­al­ly, we would also spread the recent­ly com­post­ed soil onto our veg­etable bed.

Your garden’s fall main­te­nance is a way for your fam­i­ly to enjoy each other’s com­pa­ny while tidy­ing up before win­ter sets in. Most kids real­ly love to dig, so edg­ing the gar­den, dig­ging pota­toes, or plant­i­ng a sec­ond sea­son of crops such as spinach and let­tuce are great ways to engage them — and they learn to appre­ci­ate the nat­ur­al world in the process. Whether it’s flow­ers or veg­eta­bles, involv­ing your chil­dren in plant­i­ng and har­vest­ing ensures that they are more like­ly to take own­er­ship and care for them.

Anoth­er fun project is cre­at­ing a sim­ple fire pit to enjoy on chilly autumn nights. This can be used to burn some of the dead woody mate­r­i­al that was cleaned up. A small fire is a great way to bring peo­ple togeth­er. Smores anyone?

Don’t for­get the fun involved in bring­ing the fin­ery of fall indoors. An excel­lent fam­i­ly project is select­ing tra­di­tion­al fall décor from your gar­den, yard or field — mums, asters, gourds, corn­stalks, pump­kins, and, of course, leaves. Leaves are a good way to edu­cate chil­dren about the nat­ur­al world by call­ing atten­tion to their many dif­fer­ent shapes, sizes, and colors. 

And how about an out­ing? Lan­dis has sev­er­al trails on which to appre­ci­ate the sights, sounds, and smells of fall. If you’d like your vis­it to be a bit more struc­tured, join us when we ask the pub­lic to help us put the gar­dens to bed.” It is typ­i­cal for fam­i­lies and groups of friends to come out and pitch in. We accom­plish a lot in a few hours , and chil­dren usu­al­ly learn some­thing too – includ­ing the val­ue of team­work and the ways in which nature works its wonders. 

This season’s Fall Gar­den Clean-Up” is sched­uled for Tues­day, Octo­ber 15, from 10 AM to noon. Bring the kids!

Fall 2019

Volume 37 , Number 3

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