Start Spring with a Kid’s Gardenby Elizabeth MacDonald
While the world seems gray, choose green! One of the greatest things you can do right now is to start a spring garden with your kids. You can count it as school work, chores, hands-on-learning, and fun! Not to mention, growing your own food may come in pretty handy.
There are several types of gardeners, and you do not need to strive to have the largest (or most beautiful) beds on the block. Instead, stick with a few easy-to-grow vegetables, fruits, or plants and include your child in the process.
Research shows that the younger you start your child helping in the garden and growing food, the more apt they are to try new foods and skip the picky eating stage. Even if this isn’t 100% the truth for every kid, there is no doubt that exposing them to growing food, bettering the earth, and taking care of something won’t help guide them to a healthier and happier life.
How to Start a Children’s Garden
Size is always your first obstacle to tackle.
If you are limited to a balcony or patio, consider creating a standing pallet garden or a potted garden. You would be surprised what you can do with window boxes, pots, and hanging plants!
If size is on your side, consider utilizing a larger fenced-in plot and creating designated rows and walking paths.
Pick your favorites.
The selection of foods to grow can be overwhelming. Start with a short list of foods you know you will eat. If there will be more room to plant, then add in a few others. Something to note though, some plants vine and need something to climb, or they will spread over your garden.
Start with seeds first (but seedlings are just fine).
Seeds are fun because you can plant them indoors and watch them turn into seedlings. You pull out the weaker growers and then transfer the strongest seedlings outside into the ground. The best part? If your seedling project is a flop, you can run out and just buy the seedlings to plant!
You can have soil delivered in bulk if it is cheaper than buying by the bag; this is a great way to save on organic soil.
Spend a day making labels and picking out garden accessories to add to the garden. Make it as kid-friendly as possible! You want your little one to love helping out. (Maybe add a wooden growth chart out there! You can document your child’s height every year you start your garden!)
Read gardening books together.
Take the experience farther by talking about plants and foods. You can pick out a few great books to add to your home library, too. Look for great colors and a kid-friendly storyline.
Document the entire experience with pictures. Not only will you treasure the photos, but you will have them to look back on next year to see what you loved or what you want to change with that year’s garden.
Maintain the garden.
Unfortunately, you do have to maintain the garden throughout the growing season. It’s not that hard, though. Water is #1, but pulling weeds will help keep everything growing healthy.
When it’s time to start pulling your foods, look up great recipes, turn on music, and have fun in the kitchen together.