I'm always looking for enjoyable family events for our clients to take part in. Gardening can be an inexpensive hobby for a family to share in. They can spend time together, share thoughts and ideas, and reap the benefits of providing food for the family. The children can realize a sense of contributing to the family unit. The time spent together can be used to teach the young ones the value of being environmentally-conscious and the necessity of conserving our environment. Recently I had some potatoes sitting on the kitchen table, and they began to sprout. I didn't want to cook them, so I cut them into smaller pieces and then planted them in a flower pot that was outside in the yard. The pot was approximately 20 inches high and about 20 inches round. There was already a plant growing in the middle of the pot, and the plant looked quite lonely.
It didn't take long for the potato plants to grow foliage that was 2-3 inches long, and they made the arrangement in the pot look quite attractive. Very shortly afterward, the leaves grew to be about 4-5 inches. I thought about the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, and how Jack's plant had grown overnight. My plants seemed to be doing something similar to Jack's! The leaves on my plants are now about a foot high, and I am amazed. The plants are great to look at, and I may end up with some wonderful self-grown food for the dinner table. I want to plant more potato plants with some of my younger relatives. The plants grow so fast, and the children wouldn't have to wait a long time to see progress. Most children love to eat potatoes, especially as French fries. They can help with the planting, watering, harvesting, cooking and eating the end product. We can all experience the joy of being a little more self-sufficient.
This seems to be a great year for growing things. I purchased some flower seeds at a garage sale a few months ago, and planted them in back of some roses. The flowers have grown to be about 4 feet tall, and they look great intermingled with the roses. I love seeing the various colors of the flowers and they seem to provide a boost of energy to me. It's something about watching things grow that makes me feel good. I feel as though I am a creator of living things. It's a feeling I want the children to experience. I want to expose them more to nature and increase their appreciation of our environment.
Gardening provides people with a way to channel their energy into something beautiful. It provides them with comfort and joy. I am thoroughly enjoying my plants. Sitting in the yard and looking at the things I planted seems to soothe me. My brother worked many years at the Lakeside Park, maintaining the Rose Garden and other plants. He told me he found it relaxing to weed (removing weeds from around the plants). There is satisfaction in nurturing and helping a living thing grow. Gardening helps people turn stressful feelings into something positive which gives them pleasure. It can be a coping mechanism for daily frustrations.
I now think about planting tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables that grow easily in gardens.
Hopefully there is still time to get more gardening in before the end of the year. It can be for ornamental purposes, stress reduction, or for reaping the benefits of producing food.
Plants are vital to our existence. We should respect plants and their role in nature. Some people don't notice a living plant in their day-to-day routine. Putting plants in your home and allowing children to help take care of them can teach the children responsibility and an appreciation of living things. Having plants in the home can also be a form of improving air quality, or filling the rooms with wonderful scents.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee