Spring is finally here! And with warmer weather on the horizon, your thoughts might be turning to how you might grow your garden this year. If you have children, then gardening with your kids is one thing you’ll definitely want to do this year. Gardening with kids can be a great way to spend time together as a family while also learning more about the environment.
How Does Your Garden Grow, Anyway?
You and your child can’t wait to dig in and get to work on plans for this year’s garden. While that enthusiasm is great, you don’t want to dig in just yet. You need to assess the wind, shade, and sunlight in your garden. Don’t forget to look at other factors, too, including the types of wildlife who visit your yard. Deer who regularly visit your yard might see a vegetable garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet! In addition, residents of a homeowners’ association and renters may face restrictions regarding which plants — if any — may be placed in a garden.
Selecting Plants For Kids Is A Team Effort
When it comes to selecting plants for your kids to grow, you’ll have one question in mind: How difficult will it be to grow and nurture the plant? A plant that only a Master Gardener could love is out, but something that’s easier to grow (and a plant native to your locale) would be in. Consider your child’s favorite produce. Does she love tomatoes, spinach, or strawberries? Planting some of her favorite fruits and vegetables may encourage her to take care of her plants. To find the best plants to grow in your area, take a look at the website of the National Gardening Association. Other options may include reaching out to a botanic garden local to your area and the outreach extension site of your state’s university. For example, readers in Illinois can take a look at the University of Illinois Extension’s website for tips on gardening.
Get Gardening Equipment That Will Fit Your Child
Digging in the soil, weeding, and even harvesting the bounty of your garden all require special tools and equipment. While some tasks are better suited for adults and teens, even younger children can help out. With that in mind, you’ll want to select gardening equipment sized just for kids. Gardening gloves, spades, and even watering cans just for kids will be easier for your child to use and maneuver than adult-sized tools.
Container Gardening: The Perfect Option For Kids
You’ve probably seen plenty of magazine features on container gardening. There are plenty of options for kids to use container gardening, too, ranging from an assortment of pretty flowers to tomatoes, herbs, and even strawberries and blueberries. Container gardening allows your child to care for just a few plants at a time. After all, putting your child in charge of a large plot of land may feel overwhelming and could dissuade your child from gardening in the future. Container gardening isn’t limited to pots, either. You can create a raised garden bed or even use a vertical garden bed if space is limited. Gardening with a container is also ideal if your home doesn’t include a yard.
Make Gardening With Kids A Regular Event
Selecting the right plants is only one side of the coin. With gardening comes weeds, pruning, and watering the plant. While you likely don’t need to work in the garden every day, you and your child should plan to inspect your garden several times per week. This chore doesn’t need to take long, either. Depending on the size of your garden, it might only take 20 minutes to see how your garden is growing.
Incorporate Fun Gardening Ideas
Think gardening is all about waiting for things to grow? Think again! You and your child can include fun gardening ideas to make the experience more enriching and educational for both of you. Consider painting the exterior of your containers to give them personalized looks and creating plant markers so you can remember where everything is located in your garden. Other options include upcycling items for use in stepping stones and even painting garden gnomes. What about turning your garden into a science experiment? Older children might enjoy testing the best places to grow plants or finding out if compost is effective.
Get Ready To Get Messy
It’s almost impossible to work in the yard without getting a smudge of dirt on your clothes or skin. And when gardening with kids, you’ll find that they have a knack for getting muddy in almost the blink of an eye. While no one wants to spend countless hours scrubbing dirty laundry, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you’re planning to weed and dig, then wear clothes that are destined for the scrap heap. Use washable cushions to use when kneeling or sitting in the garden, and keep your hands and fingers clean and protected by using gardening gloves. Finally, soak and treat stains as soon as you can.
Celebrate The Harvest
What’s the point of growing veggies, fruits, and flowers if you don’t do anything with the harvest? When it’s time to pick the bounty of your garden, make it an event worthy of a celebration. Incorporate the zucchini and eggplants your child grew in a delicious homemade ratatouille, or even can and preserve fresh produce from the garden to eat later in the year. You could also simply set the flowers grown in your yard in a vase. Sharing and showing off the results of your child’s hard work is a reward that cannot be underestimated.
With a bit of preparation, gardening with your kids can be an enriching and invaluable experience for every member of you family. If you’re ready to dig in and start working, then take a look at these amazing gardening projects from DIY Idea Center.
- Vertical Pallet Garden — Let’s get vertical when planting herbs and veggies!
- Shabby Chic Chalk Garden Markers
- DIY Raised Garden Bed — This raised bed is easier for gardeners of all ages to dig in and start planting!
- Sea Glass Homemade Stepping Stone
- How to Can Fresh Tomatoes
- Upcycled K-Cup Planters — If you’re short on outdoor space, these planters will help your garden grow.
- Fourth of July Flower Pots
- Fairy Wind Chimes for a Fairy Garden — You and your child will love building this project together.
- DIY Window Flower Box
- Cheerful Cactus DIY Plant Pots — You can use this project to paint pots for other types of plants, too.
- Charming Stepped Planter
- How to Start Your Own Herb Garden — With tips on how to grow parsley, sage, basil, thyme, and more, older children will love growing their own herbs right in the backyard!
- Indoor Garden Mason Jar Planters
- Bonus: Darling Homemade Planters: 28 DIY Planters
- Even More Ideas: DIY Garden Ideas: 24 Garden Projects — These projects are so inspiring!