Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gardening with Children

Every summer I plant an herb and vegetable garden in the backyard.  The past 2 years have been a little difficult with JJ running around.  My gardens have not turned out as I had intended but they have grown and produced.

Children learn by seeing and doing.  So why not give your child their own garden to tend to. Give them a small section of your garden or find a small place where they can start their own.

The first step in acknowledging the importance of the work they are doing in the garden by providing the appropriate tools. This is not the same as playing in the sandbox.  So go out and get them a "real" set of gardening tools of their own. There is nothing worse than using cheap plastics sandbox toys for gardening tools. 

The first phase of the garden will be fun.  Your child will enjoy clearing the ground and planting the seeds.  The second phase will start out with a bang but your child may fizzle out as the growing process is slow.  Pulling weeds and watering dirt can get boring after a few days.  Don’t give up on your child’s garden.  Tend to it for them during this lull.  Once the plants begin to grow and your child can physically observe the changes, they will be drawn back in.  The final stage where they can reap the rewards of their labor will have them rushing to the garden each day.  Show them how to determine what is ready to pick and what needs to wait a little longer.  But don’t stop there. Continue on to the kitchen and learn how to use your crops.

What are some good things to grow with children?

I find it good to either start with things they like.  Strawberries are easy and have a short cycle and will not grow all summer.  Or with a theme.  We enjoy the pizza theme, tomatoes, scallions, peppers, basil and oregano.  Once everything is ready, we make a pizza with all your ingredients.  Pumpkins are fun as well.  They grow big and are ready right around Halloween.  There are just so many options with gardening.  Most of all have fun and let them do.

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