10 Tips for Gardening with ChildrenApril 27, 2013 12:00 am
Children are natural gardeners. They are curious and learn by experiencing new things. They love to dig, they love dirt, and most even love worms. Here are some tips to help you and your little gardener have a great time growing together this season.
- Let them have their own space. Whether it is within the main garden or a separate plot of their own, it is good for children to have their own designated space. Make sure their garden space has good soil and full sun to ensure success.
- Prepare their soil before heading to the Garden Center. Do a soil test and add the proper soil amendments before you buy seeds or starts. That way your excited little gardener can get right to work after bringing home their garden goodies.
- Buy and release ladybugs. A fun task for kids of all ages!
- Choose plants that are easy to grow. Plants that have a short growing season, are easy to grow, and fun to harvest are the best to choose. Here are some of our top choices.Edibles: Potato, snow pea, radish, lettuce, pumpkin, cherry tomato, carrots, bush beans.Flowers: Sunflowers (sprouts quickly and grows rapidly), nasturtiums (bloom 50 days after seeds are planted.)
- Decorate. Painting flower pots, making a stepping stone, or making plant markers are all great ways to let your children be creative with their space.
- Teach while you plant. Let your time together be light-hearted and fun, but also use the opportunity to answer their gardening questions. Teach them about seeds and germination, tell them why weeding is important. And when you spot a good bug like a worm or ladybug, teach them the big jobs of these important creatures! (Little guys can do big jobs!)
- Give them proper tools. Plastic tools that break and gloves that don’t fit can frustrate any gardener. Drake’s 7 Dees carries a great line of children’s tools, gloves, watering cans and more. Giving them quality tools communicates that the job they are doing is important.
- Be sneaky to help them succeed. Depending upon their age, your child may need some behind the scene help. Pick a few weeds when they aren’t looking, replant seeds if it seems they flooded the originals right out of the garden. They don’t need to know every way you helped, ownership of their garden space is the main goal.
- Harvest and serve. Let your child harvest, wash, prepare (with assistance), and serve their fresh veggies to the family. Seeing the entire process, from seed to table, will give them a sense of accomplishment. They will see that gardening is more than play but contributes to the family’s well being. They will be so proud!
- Most of all, enjoy being together. Exploring nature and having fun in the yard makes for precious memories. Drink lemonade, lay down and look at the clouds, plant the flowers, play in the water, laugh, and enjoy the whole gardening experience together.