Hudson Valley Parent

HVP June 2019

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20 Hudson Valley Parent n June 2019 your kids as early as possible. "I have a two-year-old, and she loves planting seeds," says Susan Ndiyae, the Community Horticulture Educator at the Orange County branch of Cornell Cooperative Extension. "She pokes a hole in the ground, puts the seed in, and thinks it's the greatest thing ever," she says. Whatever you decide, the key to getting your kids engaged is to be prepared. Before you call your kids out to the garden, make sure you have what you need on hand so you can best capture the first minutes of engagement, Lerner advises. "Give them space for a kid-friendly activity or somewhere to run off to after their interest wanes," she says. "Watching worms and checking out ants disturbed by digging are valid gardening activities. Much of good gardening is learning to observe." It also helps to fill your garden with food or plants that your child likes. "If your child really likes carrots, for example, she'll be more excited about gardening if you're planting carrots," says Ndiyae. "It's also a good way to get your child to eat more vegetables," she says. "If your kids are involved in the planting process, they're more likely to eat a food they've watched watched grow before their eyes than something their parents picked out at the store." And if that's not enough, home-grown vegetables offer another advantage over their store-bought counterparts: they usually taste much better. "Do a taste test with your kids," Ndiyae says. "If you're growing tomatoes at home, buy a tomato at the store and taste it alongside the one you grew. Your kids will notice the difference, and they'll get excited about it." GARDENING (Continued from Page 19)

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