Gardening with Kids: Tips to Get Started
Gardening is a great way to get kids outside and having fun while learning. It is also a fantastic way to introduce gardening concepts such as planting, growing, harvesting, and gardening tools. Kids that garden learn about how food grows from seeds to their table! Gardening with kids can be an enriching experience for both parents and children alike! In this blog post, I will share some tips on gardening with your child or children- it’s never too early to start gardening with your kids!
What can you grow in a kid-friendly garden?
This is a question we get asked all the time! When it comes to gardening, children need some guidance. Let’s talk about what you can grow in your garden for kids and how they will benefit from these plants.
Give your child a direct say in choosing their own plants.
The first step in gardening with kids is an important one–letting your child choose what they want to grow! They could be more excited about eating the harvest if they helped decide on their favorite produce items, such as carrots or potatoes! If you come at them with broccoli or spinach, they may be a little hesitant to start gardening.
Choose plants with big seeds
If you are looking at planting a garden with kids, it is important to understand what plants will work well. Seeds about the size of a marble or larger will be easier for children to handle and plant. Below is a small list of plants that will make your child’s gardening journey fun, exploratory, and engaging.
Here are some quick-growing plants that produce a lot of fruit during the growing season:
My favorite flower to plant in the garden is sunflowers. The bright yellow petals are perfect for attracting bees and birds, which are necessary for your garden to flourish!
The cons of planting sunflowers include that they can overtake other plants if not planted with careful thought in respect to other plants.
However, these benefits outweigh their disadvantages, so I think it’s worth planting sunflowers if you’re gardening with kids. They’ll find the tall, yellow flowers and yummy seeds pretty impressive!
The easiest plant, in my opinion, is tomatoes – all you need is a pot, some dirt, a tomato seedling, and your child will be on their way to becoming gardeners too!
Pole Beans and Snap Peas
Pole beans and snap peas are two common choices for a starter with kids because they grow quickly. When you harvest them, the bean pods will magically produce more beans themselves! And because pole beans can be grown vertically on poles, all that extra space is yours to fill with other plants or herbs.
Other Great Starter Plants
Radishes and marigolds are two great starter plants for kids. Radishes grow fast, so they can be very satisfying for little hands learning to garden while still being hearty enough that the plants will survive some mishandling.
Marigolds also thrive in difficult conditions but have a softer feel, perfect for eager little fingers that may lose patience with veggies.
Carrots, zucchini, and pumpkins also make great first plants for kids.
Starting and Planting Seeds for Kids
It’s always satisfying to see kids get excited about the natural world. And it should be even more exciting when they’re taking their first steps in gardening and watching a little seedling grow into something beautiful.
If you are starting from seeds, teaching your kid how to plant, water them appropriately and germinate the plants is an important step for children of all ages! They will enjoy seeing new life sprout up.
Teaching kids about getting the soil just right and what to start their seeds in is another fun experience. One of the most popular options for planting with gardens is to start with seedling starters like you can buy at any big box store. If you’re into flower gardening, you can get this flower plant growing kit online. If you’d prefer to do something a little more creative and DIY, then make your own starter kit! Use this one simple tip and watch it become as easy as pie!
Buy some small pots or other containers from your local grocery store or craft shop. Choose enough to cover all different sizes- some should be on the bigger side while others should be smaller. Some good ideas include butter tubs, zip-top bags, or even empty coffee cans. They don’t have to match in size either—use them however works best for you and your garden size.
Buying Seedlings for Your Child’s Garden
Planting seeds instead of seedlings is not only a great way to save money, but it also stimulates the imagination of young gardeners. Seedlings from your local farmer’s market or nursery are a fantastic option that can provide instant gratification as well as cost savings.
When you do buy seedlings, select the healthiest-looking ones. You can start by discussing soil preparation and mention the additives used to keep your garden in check. When purchasing seedlings, look for sturdy varieties that aren’t flowering.
At what age can kids start gardening?
Before you start digging in the dirt with your children, make sure they know some basic gardening skills. Some of the skills your child should know or be able to learn include:
– gardening tools: how to use them, and what they are used for
– planting seeds or seedlings in the garden bed according to your instructions (with a little help, of course)
– watering plants well when needed and not overdoing it
I recommend planting a garden with kids at around age 5. This is the perfect age to introduce kids to gardening and help them develop a lifelong hobby or passion. Kids at this age are eager to help. They take in anything they can learn and do so enthusiastically. They also have the motor skills to handle seedlings without demolishing them, but your toddler or preschooler is likely to learn along the way.
When should you start preparing your garden?
Depending on your gardening zone, most will begin garden preparations in February if you are going to start with seeds. Get your children’s input on what they would grow in their garden and start the seeds indoors before planting them outside. This is a great way to expose kids to the process of how seeds work. Starting from seeds lets you and your child experience a plant’s entire lifecycle, from seed to sprout to flower and finally the fruit.
What gardening chores can kids help with?
Allow your kids to help weed the garden by pulling weeds and adding mulch. As children, all of us loved getting our hands dirty – and it seems that our kids aren’t any different! When it comes time to plant the sprouts outside, educate them about the process. Show them how to dig the hole, water the plants, and other gardening techniques.
Planting a garden with kids is a wonderful way for kids to reap the benefits of their own labor. Allowing your child in on the process gives them a sense of achievement and maybe even something to show off. Gardening with your kids is a great way to spend quality time together and teach them something they’ll use for the rest of their lives. When you spend time together in your garden, you create lifelong memories.
Your child may enjoy keeping a gardening journal about the experience!