Salvail: Open doors to the garden for children

A sad fact is that most of the people working in the horticultural industry have little to no real knowledge of it.

Getting kids to play in the dirt would seem to be an easy thing to do. It’s their natural instinct, as children, to want to explore and experience everything. Plants, soil, water and stones are like magnets for small children.

Yet as they grow older, in the world today, they tend to gravitate towards the TV, a computer, or similar gadget. The focus tends to be away from nature and towards technology.

It’s nice to see the world taking more interest and caring about the environment. With this green movement we are likely to see some great changes in the future.

It will, however, require a lot of people with biology and horticulture experience to help feed the masses, not only with the volumes required but also with the healthy combinations of foods that can be locally grown for each community and in each climatic condition.

What we all need to do is get young people interested in horticulture now, so that the foundation is built for the world of tomorrow.

We have seen a decline in all things horticultural in the last 25 years. There are fewer educational opportunities. We have seen yards reduce in size so there is not much or any room for vegetable gardens. People are focused on making income to stay on top of their mounting bills to maintain certain life styles.

The contact with the garden is out of the question.

Because of the reduced interest in hands-on industries like horticulture we may be out of luck in the future.

A sad fact is that most of the people working in the horticultural industry have little to no real knowledge of it.

My sincere hope is that with the new green movement we will somehow kick-start a new interest in this old profession. Here are a few things that could be helpful in getting kids interested in growing things:

• Take kids out into the wilderness on a regular basis, both in summer and winter

• Take interest in local wildlife and plants

• Find out what programs are offered at your children’s schools that teach or promote gardening

• Build a vegetable patch in your yard and assign a private plot to each child. They will love growing their own pumpkins to carve and feel pride in eating the carrots they have grown themselves.

• Take kids to your local garden centre

• Grow house plants and get the kids involved in keeping them alive

• Get the kids to plant seeds of any kind in any small patch of soil every spring.

You may not create a world changing horticultural genius but you may awaken a life-long gardener who passes on the passion to their kids in turn.