“Let’s water the corn Dad”
Growing up on a Dairy Farm, one of my fondest memories was wanting to get on my 50cc after school and bring the cows in for Dad to milk. I had other jobs, such as feeding the chooks and collecting the eggs, but these would always come second to milking or feeding the calves. I was always encouraged by my parents to be involved. I cherish those memories growing up on the farm.
For the past two years my son Zac’s preschool has had a spring planting programme. They plant different types of vegetables and flowers in small biodegradable pots. After several weeks, watching the progress of the germination, the children are encouraged to take their plants home and transfer them into the garden. Last year Zac grew two sunflowers, he did not show much interest but this year he has become very involved in the process. Firstly, he decided he would help plant the corn, silver-beat and herbs he brought home. He dug the soil out and planted his small pots and then covered them up with more soil. He decided he needed to water them. Zac then proceeded to flood the young plants, I was on hand and explained to him they probably had enough water for now. What was already evident was he had already learnt the basic principles.
With the hot weather our routine, after day-care, has been to go and water the plants. We have several raised vegetable beds which have capsicums, cherry tomatoes and potatoes. There is also lots of herbs. Watering the plants is now a very serious business as my youngest son, 3, who also likes to be part of the irrigation team. Zac has been taking especially great pride in his corn. I am not sure if this is because he notices the large growth of the plant but he is always insistent this is watered first. Last week I decided to harvest one of the cobbs with Zac. I have never seen a kid so excited, he was so immensely proud of his corn that he asked if he could take it to day-care the next day. I thought it would go missing throughout the day, but to my surprise he was still carrying it around when I went to pick him up. When we got home, I asked if he would like to husk the corn, he said yes. I showed him how to do pull the leaf off and with some help he started to expose the corncob.
I think I totally underestimated the thrill and enjoyment my son would have from the process of growing the corn and his other veggies. It was a delight and has encouraged me to plan a slightly bigger patch for the boys to learn more about growing next season. It has demonstrated the importance that education can play from a very young age for developing these initial skills but also healthy eating. I am certain they will eat the food if they are involved in the process of growing it. Zac has already started digging up my potatoes!
Interview with Zac
1, Did you like planting and growing the corn? “Yes”
2, What does the plant need to help it grow? “Sun and Water”
3, Did you have fun watering the plant? “Yeah”
4, How many times would you need to water the corn? “Before School”
5, Would you like to be a corn grower one day? “Yes, I want to grow all over my lawn”
6, What else would you like to grow next year? “Mmmmmm watermelon, grow Watermelon, can I go and buy a watermelon plant, then I fill my wheel barrow up with water and tip it on my watermelon, and it grows too big”
Well done to the pre-school Zac attends. It has very much highlighted the importance of teaching these skills to children at a young age, and at the same time letting them have fun doing it. A lesson for us all.
Zac’s sunflower 2018
Cover photo, Zac picking his first corncob (with help from Dad)
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower
Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower