5 Tips for Starting a Garden with Kids
I always say: "Nothing brings people together like a salad, but a homegrown salad always tastes the best!" Even when the world is not going your way, you can always retreat to a garden.
Sharing a garden oasis with your little one can be an especially rewarding experience. It is so much fun to watch them learn and grow alongside the plants. Gardening, like eating, is best done together, so let’s get to gardening! Here are a few tips for gardening with your kids!
1. Start small
Big gardens can be tough for little hands, so it’s best to start small. You can grow something simple in cups by a window, pots on a balcony or patio, or you can have a small raised or in the ground garden outside in your yard. If you are already an avid gardener, give them their own few feet of space in addition to your garden to give them a sense of ownership and accomplishment for their own crop.
2. Pick things they want to eat
Unfortunately, there is no pizza plant, but let your child pick what foods they want to grow in their garden. They are more likely to stay interested for longer if they know there is a tasty treat at the end! Sunflowers, peas, pumpkins, and squash all are easily recognizable and have big seeds that are easy for little hands to handle. Cherry tomatoes and strawberries are great because they are relatively fast growing, and they make a great snack right off the vine! Different types of lettuces and carrots are a little slower to grow, but make a great homegrown salad!
3. Plant flowers too
It takes a lot of time to grow your own food, but if you plant flowers, you can enjoy their bright colors and lovely smell while you patiently wait! Planting things like marigolds, lavender, and petunias may actually help keep bugs away from your garden too! Children are sensory learners, so smelly things like mint, basil, and rosemary can be a great addition to your garden. Plus, they can be used to spice up your life (or at least your meals)!
4. Make homemade garden tags
Be organized and get crafty! Talk about which plants you chose and how they will look once they are grown. Have your child draw and label the plants you are growing on little cards. Attach them to popsicle sticks to mark where you plant each type of plant in your garden. Use crayons or laminate your cards to help them last longer. Gardens need lots of water, so they will probably get wet!
5. Have fun while learning!
Gardening is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature every day! Use this opportunity to help teach responsibility, organization, and a respect for nature. Explore your garden using all your senses. Talk with your child about how the plants look, feel, and smell differently from one another. Once they are grown, talk about how they taste different too! But most of all, use this opportunity to get a little dirty and have lots of fun!