Teaching Garden Etiquette to the Locusts

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My children ruin my garden every year. They step fresh into the semi-raised beds, trampling the mint to get to the ripe strawberry. They grab for the green tomatoes too early and come inside dripping in red tomato juice. Raspberries are picked to fill their hands and then shoved into their mouths one delicious handful at a time.

In years prior, my husband decided to put a fence with a lock around our garden. His want for fresh produce trumped the wild grazing of our three boys. I objected but understood in the end. We almost never had enough tomatoes to make sauce, raspberries to put in our pancakes or strawberries for our summer cobbler.

They were like beautiful locusts that left their big footprints in the beds.

Eventually, due to some home improvement project, the fence came down and the locusts found their way back into my kitchen garden.

I didn’t mind. I loved those strawberry scented kisses and dirty tomato juice stained hands. I loved that they would save me one ripe raspberry to be popped into my mouth as I weeded my flower beds. With grins of pride they brought me chives for our baked potatoes and mint for my sun tea.

I hid my true garden down the street anyway.

I joined a community garden last year. I walked a couple of blocks to water it. I even let the children come and help me harvest and water the small salsa garden.

It was the Switzerland in our garden dilemma. It provided enough for us to eat as a family while allowing the feast to continue in our back yard.

I am too busy to join the community garden this year. I wouldn’t be able to keep things weeded according to their standards. My garden this year will be wild and unkempt. My children will have their own secret garden.

I will not stop them. I will explain, yet again, where to step, what is ripe, and how to pull the green beans from the vine without destroying the plant. They will step on plants by mistake, harvest things way too early and pull plants from the ground.

And from their daily harvest, they will learn how to treat the world gently.

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Tashmica Torok is an entrepreneur, blogger and community activist. Her blog, Mother Flippin': One Funny Mother, is about encouraging women to improve the world through thoughtful, honest parenting, responsible business practices, and advocacy for those less fortunate. When she is not raising her children or raising funds for charity, she is raising havoc playing roller derby or laughing at her own failures.

***Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn’t think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family’s simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don’t like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer’s Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer’s Market has become her son’s classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment‘s hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature’s Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter’s blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it’s a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children’s generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family’s food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don’t have a garden? “You can still grow food!” says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she’s doing.
  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer’s MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it’s important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn’t Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it’s never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse “bean teepee” and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin’ (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.

6 Responses to Teaching Garden Etiquette to the Locusts

  1. Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com  

    I love your reverence with this post; I would probably get annoyed and irritable but you are being loving and compassionate as your little ones learn. Thanks for the interesting perspective; I can learn a lot from that :)

  2. MJ

    Awesome. I love how you recognize and honor their perspective. When I look at your pictures, I see joy and pure happiness on their faces. And the fact that they are covered in mud, perfect!!

  3. Lauren  

    Oh, I love this! So poetic. I need to learn that same graciousness and patience. Because, you’re right — they are learning.

  4. Dionna  

    I’m with you – as much sweat and energy goes into the garden, I wouldn’t trade any of it for more produce at the expense of keeping it out of my son’s grubby little hands. I love to see him enjoying the fruits of our labors. Thank you so much for allowing us to run this on NPN today!!

  5. Tashmica  

    Thank your for all of the sweet comments and thanks Dionna for letting me participate. :)

  6. Carrie

    I love how “ruining” the garden is only a matter of perspective. Your kids are going to have great memories, and happy bellies, from your garden. Love the muddy photo of them!

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