Container gardens are all very fine, but I think for really getting close to nature, kids have to dig in the mud and get themselves dirty. They can wash up later.
So yesterday evening, I grabbed a couple of plastic shovels from the sand toys, a bunch of andhi mantharai seeds from the balcony and went downstairs. As Anjali and Sophia were playing in the slides, I found a nice earthy patch near the playground and began to dig. Very soon, the kids came piling around wanting to know what I was doing. I didnt say much, showed them how to clear the ground and continue digging. Very soon, there was a sizable bed of earth cleared of grass.
I handed out garlic cloves and some of the seeds and the kids planted them. I promised to bring more seeds in a couple of days.
While Anjali usually shies away from muddy messy stuff, this time round, she pitched in. I think that Anjali generally wants to make up her own opinions about whether the activity is worth the mess before she digs into it. As I have said, she is not against messy play, She is cautious.
Very soon, Anjali, Sophia, Sapna and Pooja were digging with shovels, making holes, picking up earthworms in their hands (This was a nice wriggly surprise for the kids). I hadnt really anticipated finding earthworms, but was glad I did. Anjali ofcourse, wanted to carry them, which I let her.
Then I picked up a handful of earth and held it under Sophia's nose. "Smell", I said. She sniffed obiligingly. It had rained the night before and the earth was damp, not soggy, with a mild earthy smell. It was not a gardeny smell, but it would do for now.
Soon, Anjali was also helping to dig holes for the seeds. Husband came down a few minutes later to inspect.
"Very nice", he said. But what will happen to the plants when they mow the grass?
I hadn't thought of that. Guess we'll have to cross that hurdle when we get to it.
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