Like everything else, this family project begins by introducing kids with this fabulous idea of planting a garden. Involving kids in the entire process from day one will keep them interested in further development, and by making them a part of the team will inspire them to commit to such an important mission. Design the garden and ask for their opinion. Go through the basic of gardening together, suggest some easy growing and low-maintenance plants, and let them decide which ones they will grow. Do all the preparations together, from making a plan for the entire season to going shopping for seeds or starting soil.
Although buying starters is a useful option when in a hurry to create a garden, learning to grow a plant from the seed will provide an exceptional gardening experience for your kids. Taking care of the young seedlings indoors will prepare them for the next step, while it will give them an idea of the delicate nature of plants as well as the amount of care and nurture they require. The joy of seeing a seed sprouts will fascinate your kids as they will, for the first time, witness the miracle of new life.
Give them a part of the garden where they will be able to work and grow their plants. Whether it is a ground surface, raised bed or a container, make it their territory and their responsibility. Of course, make sure that this area has good soil and gets enough sunlight. In other words, set up the perfect conditions for gardening and make sure their first time growing plants is easy and successful. Together prepare the garden beds and allow children to spread soil and manure. Help them to estimate the number of plants and to measure the ideal spacing between young plants.
Make it interesting for kids, so stick to plants which are easy to grow and have a short growing season, since the last thing your kid wants to hear, after planting a hazelnut seed, that it will produce nuts in about five years. Choose plants like lettuce, cherry tomato, carrots, potato, radish, etc. Although they require some additional space, pumpkins and sunflowers are favorite among children, so make some room for this lovely and easy to grow plants.
Kids like the dirt, so it is not going to be much of a problem. Let them feel the soil and work around the plants. If they are old enough, teach them how to use, clean and store useful garden equipment, but if you have toddlers running around in the garden, perhaps kids’ gardening tools is the best choice. Let them dig the holes where they will put the plants that were previously in the containers. Also, show them how to water the plants properly and teach them how to avoid water waste. Collect rainfall and make a watering schedule for their garden.
Short growing season plants are ideal for giving your kids the pleasure to harvest the vegetables and put them right on the table. Teach them when to pick fruits and vegetables and how to do it without damaging the plant. Make sure to prepare something to eat out their harvest, whether it is an apple pie or a fresh and healthy salad. Tasting the fruit of their labor will create a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, which is more than beneficial at such an early age.
When raising kids, gardening together is the most constructive and rewarding thing to do. Not only they will get to spend time outdoors, learn valuable skills and produce something of their own, but they will immerse themselves in a meaningful experience that will be imprinted in their minds for life. Needless to mention, but still, images of the whole family in the garden will be one of the dearests childhood memories.