• Earth Day~Plant a Garden With Your Kids

    My younger son and I just planted our garden for the year. Honestly, this has to be the best way to teach your kids about how important it is to be mindful of what we’re putting into the Earth as well as our bodies. We use organic soil, organic seeds, and organic fertilizers in our efforts of going green. We haven’t had a problem with pest control—my husband and the baby are very happy to hand pick bugs
    off the plants—but if we did, there are many organic, safe pest remedies available at your local nursery, and many can be mixed at home with common household items. I let the baby pick which seeds to plant this year and he chose all the things he loves: carrots, Swiss chard, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins (extremely giant!), and lettuce. Broccoli will go in later. We don’t have a ton of space, so the selection had to be limited, but the most important thing is to let your kids be really involved in the creation of their garden. It’s a great time to teach them about Earth Day issues like pollution and water scarcity as well as nutrition. (The reason my older son isn’t involved in this project is that he’s in school all day, and he only willingly eats carrots!)
    You can start your seeds in store bought seed starters, (Burpee has an organic one where everything can be composted or recycled when you’re through.) but a really fun thing to do, and one that’s also great for the planet, is to start your seeds in egg shells. When you crack eggs to use in recipes, try to crack them towards the top so that you leave a majority of the egg shell whole. Rinse them out and save them until you have enough to start your plants. We keep ours in the carton (you can also just use the carton—separate the egg sections and bury them straight in the ground once your seedlings are ready to go outside—so that they’re easier to work with. Fill the shell with soil, drop a seed in, and add water. Keep your “pots” in a window with lots of sun, watering when the tops are dry. You can plant the egg shells directly into your garden. I like to crack them a bit so the roots don’t have to work so hard to reach the new soil. You don’t need a lot of space for your garden. We use an old bookcase that my husband built turned on its side and filled with garden soil. We put our watermelon and pumpkins in large pots and just let them go wild in the side yard. Be creative and try to reuse containers where you can.
    Every day, we go out and the baby waters with his watering can. He really loves his garden and shows everyone when they come over. There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement on his face when he gets to pick vegetables that he grew from seeds. I hope this really instills a love of vegetables and healthy eating for life, but since I do have a twelve year old that did the same activity starting when he was two and now only eats healthy food under duress, I know that could be wishful thinking!
    Have fun and GET DIRTY!

    Kelly Polston
    Contributing Author and Chef



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    4 Comments On This Post

    1. can’t wait to have the possibility to do so, spacewise (we need to work the earth as it’s full of rocks) and as soon as my baby is old enough to understand and talk… he’s going to turn 2 in July but no sign of willingness to copy us talking, ok we’ve got 2 languages in the family but I get really frustrated when he refuses (getting angry even) to repeat mamma or any other word that I propose.

    2. I agree with you, starting a garden with your children is a great way to keep them active and educate them about healthy nutritious foods. Check out Working For Green, we seek to inspire others to make small changes to help the environment and save money through inspirational people across the country. Here’s a link to one of our videos about an eco friendly day care center in Portland, OR. They teach the children plant and manage the school’s vegetable garden.

      http://www.workingforgreen.net/node/203

      -Kristin

    3. lettin our children be out in the garden evry day esp. before baths and giving them total freedom to get in touch with mother earth is the best gift we can give to our children as well as to our mother earth .the bond that is formed is precious and for life !

    4. I did this with my daughter and it got her interested in more than just video games and dolls. About a year ago I had to leave for a tour in Iraq. I started writing letters to her and was not able to keep up the garden we planted. My mom had found some letters online at the Eco direct store and she sent them to me. The letters were ones that had seeds in them and could be planted. So my daughter and I have been exchanging these letters for a few months now. The goal is to come home asap and show her the plant that grew from her letter and vice versa.

      It has been a wonderful way to connect so thank you for this.

      @Kristin
      I adore the programs that teach children the value of growth in this way.

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    Going Green with Hip Moms Go Green is fun and attainable. We're dedicated to empowering you to simultaneously effect a healthful difference in the lives of your children and planet. Whether you're looking for tips on how to make your existing home green, want to identify creative ways to share environmental and social responsibility with your little ones, or incorporate nutrient-dense foods into your family's diet in a delicious way, HipMomsGoGreen is your ultimate resource. We bring all of your favorite eco-topics and products to the table to make going green part of your everyday life.