After the kids helped me plant all the seeds in the seed pots and watched them grow, they continued to be excited about helping in the garden. The idea of giving children tender transplants to put in the ground can make people nervous (myself included), but if they actually want to help, then I am going to teach them how to do it in a way that nobody gets hurt.
We started out with the toy trucks digging the holes for the transplants. Very easy for the kids to do. Digging holes in the dirt is just play for them. I went around and marked all the spots where they needed to dig with rocks. Then they went around with the trucks and dug the holes. When they got distracted after a while, I finished up the last few and tidied up where they had been.
The hugel beds are pretty new so they aren’t settled very well. They had a little struggle here, but so did I. Too many gaps between the logs where the soil hadn’t quite settled in. I just had to go around and make sure there weren’t any weird air pokets where we were planting things.
Once we got all of the holes dug, the dump truck hauled the seedlings across the yard to their new garden beds.
Before we started planting, I explained to the kids how we were going to put the plants in the ground. We chatted about being gentle to the plants and their roots because thy could get hurt easily, just like any baby. I took all of the seedlings out of their pots and handed them over. the kids put the little plants in the ground and very gently covered the root balls with soil. We talked about gently pushing on the soil so that it was right next to the roots, so the plants would be able to get nutrients from the soil.
The bigger the seedlings, the easier it is for the little ones to handle and the less delicate the seedlings will be. My kids did a lot of squash and tomatoes while I did the tiny plants, like basil, once they had enough with planting.
Potatoes were also a great thing for the kids to plant. They can pretty much just dump the seed potatoes, from a dump truck of course, into the tires. Covering Potatoes with dirt is another task that can be done with dump trucks and excavators.
I am working very hard this summer to try and keep the kids involved in every step of the gardening. If they miss a step, there is a tiny disconnect. That may not matter, but I’m hoping if they do everythingalong the way, they will stay interested. So interested that they eat vegetables willingly. We only have two kinds of vegetables that they will eat willingly right now. Expanding that would help!