Gardening for Kids

By Sharon Turner

Gardening for Kids

Few things can excite and keep a kid’s interest more than giving them their own garden. The experience of being outside in the sun, and watching the growth of carefully tended plants, can cultivate a love of nature and its profound beauty, as well as a basic understanding of how food gets to the table.

The space provided to your young ones does not have to be large; even a few big containers will work for planting flowers and vegetables. Sun for 6 – 8 hours is best for most plants, but some flowers, root vegetables and leafy greens can thrive with 4 – 5 hours of light. The addition of compost to the garden or container enriches the soil with organic matter and nutrition that plants love.

Plans for the garden, such as what plants to grow and where to put them, should be up to the small person to decide. Your help in narrowing the selection of plants will ensure success. Your plants can be grown from seed or purchased in small containers. Some wonderful choices for seedlings are squash, pumpkin, melon, cucumbers and beans. Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers can be seeded, but need to be started early indoors to get produce by summer. Lovely flowers from seed include impatiens (shade), cleome, pansy, marigolds and sunflowers. For these summer producing plants, sow the seeds into the soil after March 15, the average last frost date in our area.

Water hoses and sprinklers lure children with the splashing and streaming of water. Teaching your kid the nurturing aspect of plant care is a lifelong lesson on caring for living things. Allow your child to experience this in their own way: allow some muddy clothes and shoes or, perhaps your small person is a neat individual and prefers a watering can that keeps the water distribution in check. Whatever personality, keep it fun for the child.

Every home has room for a kid to garden and now is the time to get started on the adventure with your little one. Find a spot and start digging!

Be sure to read this book to your kids by Mary B. Rein

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