Back when I had a greenhouse business, from 2002-2007, I had some opportunities to host field trips from my children’s school classes. This was a wonderful way to get the young kids interested in how things work. Unfortunately these days there is this mentality by many children that things have always been the way there are today. I mean really, my kids get sideways the moment out wireless internet has a hiccup.
With a real, live functioning greenhouse as my vehicle I was able to show my kids that there was much more to plants than just running off to the local big box or hardware store to get a plant. The business was a family affair as all four of us had our hands and sometimes more in the process. We toted and fetched thousands of plants, used hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and worried over temperature swings the whole time. In truth it is a hard life. I mean there is a pay off when the greenhouse is in full bloom, but the costs, both fiscal and physical can be great.
But enough about that, this post is about teaching kids. So I want to share some pictures of the field trips that visited my place. I came up with what I thought was a clever name “Potter’s Dream Greenhouse”. It was supposed to invoke the idea that any “potter” would find their “dream” within my greenhouse. Ah, the best laid plans! Some people who did not know my name thought I was Potter. Others just simply did not care if I called it “Popsicles Melting on a Summer Day”.
I suppose you could count the kids among the crowd that really did not get the name. I understand, i mean in truth many of them are just excited to get out of school for a couple of hours. I know that feeling. Winter time is my least favorite time of the year. I was spoiled during my greenhouse time in that there was always something that needed to be done and it could not wait on agreeable weather. I was up and out early most days to take care of the needs of the business.
I made sure to have a hands on activity for the kids when they came. I love kids, have two of my own and am happy to have any of my nephews, nieces or friends of my kids around at any time. But I know they expect to be entertained. I have no issue with that as I have the mentality similar to a child at times. Of course I mean I know how to talk to a kid like a kid. I also know they want to touch and experience. If I invited them all over and said “Don’t touch anything” they would immediately deem this a no fun activity.
In some of the pictures you will seem them work on potting a plant. If i remember right it was a cabbage seedling I offered up for their activity. These are easily grown and plentiful since when you sew the tiny seeds it is difficult to only sew a few. I selected some of my lest expensive pots and let them have at it, teaching them how I potted seedlings. They got take something home, which is another important thing for a child. Whether or not they took tem home and grew them further I cannot imagine, but for a little while they had a prize.
We all know it is cheaper to buy your fruits and vegetables as well as flower plants from a retail store. I hear that all the time and for those that choose to do that, so be it. But I enjoy the challenge of coaxing seeds and plants from their beginning stages into a finished product. It is a kind of escape from being inside all the time with my work. It is also something I share with my wife and reluctantly, my kids. They are not huge fans, but will help at times.
I hope some of the children that circulated through my greenhouses on the field trips remember some of what they saw. Perhaps they decided to help their mom or dad in their own green thumb adventures. All we can do is share our passion for life and see where the dust settles. Isn’t that what we are doing here with our writing?