Gardening is one of my favorite past-times. When I am in my garden I feel this sense of peace and purpose. I pay attention to little details I would otherwise miss, as I plan, sow, prune and harvest my plants. I slow down...revel in the beauty of a bloom...taste the tart sting of a ripe cherry tomato. If gardening can be all these things for us as adults, just imagine what it can do for our children. So much can be learned and gained by including your children in your gardening. We wanted to share some of our favorite insider tips on how to make gardening with your little ones work, and keep the zen in your garden while doing it!
Help them plant their very own garden.
This can look like a lot of things, a container garden, a small bed or area of the yard that is all their own, a window sill indoors with houseplants for them to tend to. Creating a space that is their own allows them to be creative and responsible in ways that you might otherwise not allow if they only assist you in your own garden!
Begin with a seed.
There is something magical about witnessing sprouts sown from little seeds that were once held in their hands. Every single plant we recommend growing with your little one (list included at the bottom of this post!) can be sown easily from seeds!
Let your little one decorate and label their garden or pots. Labels are a wonderful learning tool and can be made from popsicle sticks, the recycled bottoms of cans, or painted rocks.
Preserve the beauty!
Preserve the beauty of their garden and the outdoors for winter months. Press and label seeds, leaves, flowers. Keeping a garden journal with drawings, thoughts and a growth calendar is great for older children. Freeze, dehydrate or can veggies and produce and label with their name "Clara's Pickles" for fun treats when the weather is bleak.
Use nature to protect your garden.
You can mulch with leaves, pine needles, haw and grass clippings. Find items to tie between posts or stakes with yarn or string such as pinecones and branches to discourage birds and small animals from entering your garden. Find or pick up some beneficial friends like earthworms and make them a new home in your garden.
Take it full circle.
Allow your little to help prepare or arrange their veggies, fruits and blooms when it is time to harvest them. Learning how much time and energy went into their small harvest is a great way to foster a thankful heart when thinking about their food!
Our favorite crops to grow with our children! Be sure to check out your planting times for your own growing zone!
1. Sunflowers - Need plenty of space but are by far the most fun!
2. Carrots - Can sow directly into the ground, but many people don't realize they do great in a deep pot! Perfect for a container garden!
3. Lettuces - For the less patient, these grow quickly and are fun and easy to harvest. Can be grown indoors or out.
4. Cherry Tomatoes - You are in it for the long game, but the harvest is worth it!
5. Pumpkin - Keep your gardener busy all season with this late harvest crop.
6. Zinnias, Marigolds and Nasturtium - Are all quickly growing and fun to harvest.
7. Peas - We love to grow these because you can grow them in a teepee! So fun to harvest!
8. Alfalfa and other sprouts - You don't even need dirt to grow these! Quick harvest and fun to watch! Great for indoor growers.
We love to garden with our children. We hope this little guide encourages others to do the same!