When I think of how many treasures and funny gardening stories that readers have shared with us over the years, many of my favorites involve children finding their way around their first garden.
I recall my own children praying over tiny seeds, nurturing baby seedlings, and then promptly forgetting about them until a tomato or two showed up and they’d woo and sing to them until they ripened.
The most funny gardening stories, like the one I’m sharing today, lead with a big “ohhh, noooooo” and end with an “awwwww…” which is exactly how any good children’s tale should go, if you ask me!
The piece is called Fish For Fertilizer, by Donna Hicks, and it starts out with a mother eager to get her kids excited about getting their hands dirty in the garden, and tackles the ever-important topic of fertilizing garden beds. As three of her kids decided today wasn’t the day they wanted to learn, the other two stayed to absorb—perhaps a little too much—of the information.
But boy, that Christopher sure knows how to follow instructions!
I think you’ll get a real kick out of this story, just like I did.
Kids Make the Most Funny Gardening Stories
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject gardening humor into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!
Fish For Fertilizer
They work great. But . ..
By Donna Hicks
As a parent of five children, I have become accustomed to settling arguments. Teaching Carla (13), Michelle (12), Christopher (10), Shawn (8), and Norma (5) how to work out disputes has been an ongoing battle. Every time I hear one of them shriek, “Mo-mmm!,” I mentally prepare myself for another round of conflict resolution.
But there was one day that even I, Super Mom of five kids, was unprepared for. And it had to do with our family garden.
Growing a large vegetable garden helps us cut corners on the food budget. It also gives me the chance to teach my children the art and benefits of gardening—something I felt proud of. And it is a great way for us to spend time together as an entire family. Even Norma, the five-year-old, likes to help.
Actually, all three girls are helpful. The boys, in truth, prefer to search for strange insects to scare the girls with.
The trouble started when I decided to save money on fertilizer by incorporating a technique my husband taught me long ago (before he died in an accident). We both love to fish, and one year, after cleaning our catch, he took the bones and fish heads and buried them in the garden. The year we did that, the garden produced better than ever before. Now it was time for me to teach this lesson to the children.
One day after the kids and I caught several catfish and trout, I took them and all the leftover fish parts out to the garden. I showed them how to bury the scraps near our plants.
“This will help our garden grow and give us a lot more to eat,” I explained cheerfully.
“I ain’t touching that stuff!” said Norma. “That fish head is looking at me!”
“Me, neither!” said Michelle.
“Me, too!” said Carla.
The three girls started heading back to the house.
“Okay, girls,” I admonished them, “but you are missing a valuable lesson.”
“You two are just scaredy cats!” yelled Christopher. Little brother Shawn just laughed.
The boys seemed genuinely interested. They did a fantastic job helping me with our all-natural fertilizer. When we were done, I headed inside for a quick shower before I started dinner.
I was just stepping out of the shower when I heard all three girls shriek, “MO-MM!”
“What?” I yelled back, throwing on my bathrobe and open- ing the door.
“All the fish are gone!” cried Carla.
“They’re not here,” said Michelle. “None of them!”
“They dis-dapeared, Mommy,” explained my five-year-old. Sure enough, all the fish in our aquarium were nowhere to be found: the neons, the guppies, the zebras, and the black-and-speckled mollies. I moved a few of the aquarium decorations around. Still no fish.
“What happened to the fish?” I demanded.
It was Christopher, the ten-year-old who spoke. He seemed quite proud of himself.
“I took them outside.”
“Why in the world did you do that?” I demanded. “Where are they now?”
“In the garden.”
And he meant in the garden. Christopher really had absorbed my lesson about the benefits of burying fish to fertilize a backyard garden. I was shocked, but I didn’t have time to think about that. I was too busy trying to get my girls to stop crying, trying to get Shawn to stop laughing, and trying to get Christopher to understand what he had done wrong.
It must’ve been a half hour before I finally got things calmed back down. Even then, I could tell the girls wanted to bury Christopher in the garden!
Yes, I thought I was going to teach my children a good lesson when I decided to use fish to fertilize our garden.
But I think the person who really learned a lesson was me. ❖
By Donna Hicks, published originally in 2015, in GreenPrints Issue #101. Illustration by Dena Seiferling
Did you enjoy this gardening humor story? Please tell us how it made you feel when you read this heart-warming piece.