You're Never too Young to Grow a Garden
Eight-year-old Timmy loves tending his plot at the community garden. This outdoor classroom has taught Timmy patience, perseverance and the golden rule of successful gardening--learn from your mistakes.
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Green thumbs can grow on anyone who is willing to put in the time and energy, regardless of how old they are.
Timmy Crabtree is fearless on his dirt bike, and his footwork with a soccer ball is pretty impressive. And although Timmy is like most 8-year-olds, he also has an unusual passion for kids his age. "When is the last time you met a kid whose favorite pastime is tending his plot at the community garden?" asks master gardener Paul James.
"It's so fun to come out here and get to do stuff in my garden," Timmy says. "I learned that it was something that I really love to do and that's what got me inspired."
Says James: "Where else can you play in the dirt all day and not get in a lick of trouble? And I don't care if you're 80 or 8, there's something miraculous about planting a piece of old potato and pulling dinner out of the ground a few months later."
That sense of wonder is the foundation of one of the most powerful lessons a gardener will learn. Respecting nature, mind, body and mouth, gardening can offer rewards in many ways. "The taste is unbelievable, there's absolutely no comparison to the taste," Timmy says of garden fresh treats. "You can't go to the store and get half-as-good carrots. It'd be smarter to go plant your own even if you don't get as many. The taste is so rewarding that it's worth it."
Timmy's corn is done for the season, but something else he loves are these sugar pumpkins. He says they're his favorite crop to grow because all you have to do is plant the seeds and let nature take its course. "They're fun to grow, and they don't take as much effort as other kinds of crops, and they make really, really good pumpkin pies."
"This year I made a mistake by putting the peas on the cornstalks, and putting the beans on a trellis," he says. "Beans like to grow in a teepee shape and peas like to climb up little pieces like strings and stuff. I should have put the peas on the trellis." Along with learning some valuable planting lessons, Timmy has been busy spreading the fruits of his labors: he donates much of his harvest to the local food bank. And when he grows up he wants to follow in the family footsteps and be a farmer, raising animals and vegetables.
"With the wealth of knowledge he's accumulated by the ripe old age of eight, something tells me he's chosen the right path," says James. "And research shows that if you introduce children to gardening early in life, they'll take better care of the world around them."
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