COLUMN: Growing up with a garden is good for little green thumbs

Research has shown that gardening improves children’s preference for fresh fruit and vegetables, and increases their knowledge of nutrition.

My husband informed me that while I was out the other evening, our two-year-old ate four entire carrots.

No, she doesn’t have a peculiar love of vegetables. Usually, she leaves the green and orange bits on her plate for last. Sometimes, I put out a plate of raw veggies before dinner so she will munch on them while she waits for her meal – she likes them more when they’re her only option.

But for some reason if it comes from our backyard garden, she will chow down both willingly and eagerly.

She pops bits of spinach leaves into her mouth that she has picked straight off the plant. She has her own pair of toddler-sized gardening gloves she loves to wear to dig up potatoes. She searches for the bluest blueberries on the bushes (she knows to “no eat green ones”).

And while she could care less about the chopped up carrots in shepherd’s pie, she loves the carrots she pulls out of the garden (we wash them, of course).

She helped us ready the garden as well, throwing the heirloom green bean seeds we bought at South Surrey’s Stewart Farm into pre-dug holes in the dirt, and toting soil to her dad in her little plastic wheelbarrow. Not to mention she discovered worms, caterpillars and other little creatures while doing so.

I’m thrilled that Elise enjoys the literal fruits of our labour. I didn’t garden as a child, and today the knack doesn’t come naturally for me – our garden, which we started this year after moving to a home with a larger yard, is something my husband has always wanted.

Hopefully, planting, playing in and eating from the garden will instill a greater awareness of where our food comes from and a greater willingness to get her hands dirty than I had in my youth.

According to Cornell University’s Garden Based Learning site, research has shown that gardening improves children’s preference for fresh fruit and vegetables, and increases their knowledge of nutrition.

The site refers to other studies showing children who garden have more positive attitudes about environmental issues, form emotional connections with their garden, and are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables as adults, among other benefits to their health and well-being.

But the most tangible benefit for us right now is that the garden gets an eager little girl outside in the fresh air.

And who wouldn’t want to hear their two-year-old ask if she can go outside because “Elise want carrots”?

Kristine Salzmann is a former Black Press reporter and mom to two-year-old Elise. She writes monthly for The Leader on parenting issues.

Just Posted

Family of South Surrey stabbing victim to make public appeal

Paul Prestbakmo died in the early morning hours of Aug. 16

Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘level playing field’ for taxi industry, ride hailing

SBOT pleased to see B.C. set no municipal boundaries for ride hailing, calls for same in taxi industry

Surrey date for Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy on ‘Age of Fools’ tour of Canada

Bell theatre date on Just For Laughs-presented tour of Canada

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of Lower Mainland robberies stretched from Surrey to Mission

‘Picnic on the Point’ raises $50K for Peace Arch Hospital

Event temporarily replaced Picnic on the Pier

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

Election Canada’s choice to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read