Grow Squash and Kids Together!

Growing vegetables is an adventure. Growing kids is also an adventure. I propose they grow best together.

Growing kids and vegetables together is the best way to grow vegetable lovers. It’s like they cross-pollinate as they mature, with the kids helping the vegetables grow and the vegetables helping the kids grow. They grow best together.

Let’s take squash. Growing squash is messy and viney and soily and buggy and weedy. It doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to go. It is an adventure, with twists and turns. It spreads out wildly and takes over your space. It seems to be taking forever to grow up–there’s a sea of vines, occasional bug infestations, you can’t keep your garden organized or contained–then suddenly, before you know it, you see your full grown pumpkin peeking out between the leaves. It brings a smile of delight to your face. Deep satisfaction.

Just like that, growing kids is messy fingers and growing out of clothes and colds and fevers and achievements, all mixed together. It doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to go. It is an adventure, with twists and turns. You can’t see straight to the end and you are amazed when after much time…but also before you know it, you see your full grown kids have become adults. It’s an amazing thing.

Growing vegetables and kids is an adventure. Kids are best grown in the garden. Right there, amidst the squashes and their vines, the prickly cucumbers, the smooth bright tomatoes, and the long green beans. This is where kids thrive. It’s where vegetable lovers are cultivated. Set them in the garden as young sprouts, the small children, so they can grow to love vegetables, right alongside the crops. From when their fist is full with a cherry tomato til they can carry a whole basket of tomatoes, they cultivate a love for the vegetables and an understanding of how they grow.

At House in the Woods Farm, it is our mission to educate our customers through our CSA farm share program, where we raise up the children right in the garden. Families pick up the organic produce we harvest for them and pick their own flowers and cherry tomatoes, herbs and beans. They are invited to see what’s growing or being planted each week and are welcome to help out for a few minutes or a few hours. Their kids grow up picking flowers, popping cherry tomatoes in their mouths, and learning how sweet potatoes grow. And squash too.

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods Farm, an organic CSA farm in Adamstown, Maryland, with her husband, Phil. The farm is a Frederick Legacy business, celebrating 20 years of business. The Freedmans are 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at Mother Earth News here and on the farm’s Facebook Page. On the House in the Woods website, you can learn more about the farm, join the CSA, and subscribe to the newsletter.