The birds are chirping, the grass is growing, and the bees are buzzing; its time to do some gardening! I don’t think there is anything more satisfying then going out to your own garden and picking your own fruits and vegetables. Gardening is one of my favorite outdoor family activities and it is a great way to get your kids outside and connected with nature. Teaching kids gardening will also open their eyes to where our food comes from, and how it is grown.
Container gardening is a great way to begin gardening with kids. A surprising amount of food can be grown from containers. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pole beans, herbs and strawberries can all thrive in containers. Buy pots that drain and are at 18 inches in diameter.
Teaching Kids Gardening
Here are three tips to introduce kids to gardening:
- Before you begin, teach your kids how gardening tools are used. Show them a hoe, shovel, and trowel. Explain how each tool works. If you have really young children using a trowel is a perfect option to get them involved.
- Let your kids pick out their own plants at the nursery. They will be excited to see the tiny plant they picked out grow to maturity.
- Let them get dirty! Show them how to scoop out a space for the plant, then transplant the plant from the pot to container. Explain how the soil needs nutrients, as well as sun and water to help the plants grow.
Buy plants your kids will actually eat. Although, having your kids help you grow a food they don’t normally eat can broaden their horizons. Who wouldn’t want to try a new veggie they grew from scratch?
Make sure you stake or trellis the plants to allow them to be productive. The plants should get approximately four to six hours of sun a day.
An important element of teaching kids gardening is having them help keep the plants hydrated and weeded. Once the plants begin producing, kids can harvest the fruits and veggies. They can help you prepare recipes using produce they have grown. Or they can snack on strawberries and cherry tomatoes straight off the bush. Yummy!
Gardening teaches kids about seasonal fruits and vegetables. They learn to discern quality produce. What is tasty in Spring won’t even grow in grow in Fall. Try to have a taste-test with them to see if they can tell the difference between store-bought or home-grown. I’ll bet they pick what they have grown any day of the week.
Happy planting! I hope your family enjoys this growing season.