We have been gardening with our kids for a lot of years. As with everything, take into account the age and ability of your children. Building a garden with kids can be fun and filling for your whole family, plus a great way to get them trying new foods.
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Building a Garden with Kids
Gardening is a fun solo endeavor for anyone, but when you bring your kids into it will turn into a fun family event that will last all summer long. Kids love to play outside and want to discover the world around them. Teaching kids how to grow and nurture a garden will help them to eat healthier later on in life.
What can you grow in a garden for kids?
Let your child help you pick out what they want to grow. If you start off with spinach or kale, which are very easy to grow, their first thoughts are going to be “are you going to make me eat that?” Let your children help pick out the foods you will be growing in their little part of your garden.
Small hands will do better with bigger seeds. The following small list is a guide to bigger seeds that grow fast and will keep your child’s interest longer.
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflowers can help bring bees and birds to your garden. These pollinators are an integral part of the gardening process. Many people plant them around the edges of their garden so they are near enough to attract the pollinators but far enough away to not cause harm to other plants.
Pole Beans & Snap Peas: Pole beans and snap peas are other great starters for children as they grow heartily and quickly. When you harvest them, they will grow more beans, allowing you to have a supply throughout the growing season. Snap sugar peas are a delicious treat right off the vine.
Radish & Marigolds: Radishes and marigolds are also great starters as they grow quickly and are hearty plants that can endure some rough handling from little hands while they learn. Carrots, zucchini, and pumpkins all fall into this category as well.
Helping Kids Start from Seeds
If you are starting from seeds, teaching kids how to plant, water, and germinate the seeds is an important first step. They get to watch as the first seedlings appear and this will get them wondering how that happened and what comes next.
Showing your kiddos how to get the soil just right and what to start the seeds off in is another rewarding experience. You can easily start with seedling starters from any store. They often create little greenhouses.
This is a great project for those bored little ones during Spring Break right before the planting season starts. We recently got a smaller grow light to set up on our countertop which is perfect for starting seeds inside.
Buying seedlings from your local farmer’s market or nursery is another affordable way to start your young gardener’s experience. It is a fun trip and you can show them how to pick out the heartiest looking seedlings.
When do you start your kids gardening?
While kids of all ages are welcome to help with gardening, there are some basic skills that are important to have (or learn) before digging in.
Let your children pick what they want to grow and get the seeds started indoors. This is a great way to teach kids about the germination process and how growing seeds work. Starting from seeds lets you and your child follow the entire lifecycle from seed to sprout to flower and finally the fruit.
Get your kids to help with pulling weeds! As kids, most of us loved getting our hands dirty – our kids are no different! When it is time to plant the sprouts outside, let them in on that fun, too. Teach them how big of a hole to dig and how to water a seedling for the best results.