I love watching Zinnia in the garden these days. She works with such confidence as she goes around picking whatever ingredients I've requested for dinner. She'll stop whatever she's doing if I ask, "Zinnia will you please go pick Mama some tomatoes?" She jumps up nodding, her head cocked slightly to the side, responding, "Ooh yeah! That's a good idea. That's a great idea!" And off she goes. My little gardener.
The lesssons reach father than planting, watering, harvesting and eating. As I mentioned a few weeks back, our unseasonably warm spring left our kale suffering from the heat, and susceptible to encroaching aphid colonies. With Steve's vigorous aphid hunting, and occasional application of neem oil, it seems the biggest threat is under control. Thankfully.
Zinnia, always within arms reach of any garden chore, has been learning alongside Dada how to handle aphids. She excitedly shows us when she finds a ladybug, proudly saying "ladybug like eat aphids". And a few days ago as Steve weeded, and I relaxed in the shade, she went about the task of inspecting the kale. As she walked among the kale plants I could hear her talking to herself but I couldn't decipher what she was saying. As she started ripping off leaves and tossing them to the ground I asked her what she was up to. We have a practice of only picking what we intend to eat, so I was curious about her growing discard pile.
"What are you doing sweetie?"
"Aphids all over Mama. Pick kale. We not like aphids. They eat too much our kale."
I had her bring over a leaf and sure enough, my girl was picking leaves with aphids on them, just like her Dada showed her how to do. We redirected her discard pile so those buggers weren't left to the garden floor and she was back at it.
Last night as she drifted off to sleep, curled in the crook of my arm she spoke softly to herself, "Aphids eat too much our kale. Ladybug like eat aphids. Rae Rae (Zinnia) pick all the aphids off."
And moments later, my little gardener was sound asleep.