Today’s guest post is from Craig of Everything Backyard, a DIY gardening and backyard project website, geared toward those who love spending time in the outdoors and backyard, including kids. Today we are sharing his article on how to get your kiddos interested in gardening, and the ways you can teach necessary everyday skills to your children through the process of planning, planting and growing a garden. There are ideas here for everyone! We hope you enjoy the article, and when you’re done reading here, hop on over to Everything Backyard for more great tips to jumpstart your spring gardening and outdoor plans! Thanks Craig!
Spring Gardening Projects for Your Kids
Winter is finally over, but your kids definitely still have cabin fever. You want to get them started on projects that will interest and even fascinate them. Gardening is a pastime that you enjoy, and you were thinking that your children might find the same interest and passion in it as you do. Gardening projects that they might enjoy working on could include the following:
Indoor Herb Garden
One of the simplest gardens for youngsters to begin their gardening hobby with is an herb garden. It doesn’t take much space, and it teaches a child the basics of planting edible foods. There are many kits available to get your child started on this project, but it is just as easy to gather your own supplies.
Find a sunny spot where these plants would grow well. An ideal place is a kitchen window sill where the herbs would be easily accessible. Take your child to a gardening center or home improvement store and help him choose the best seeds. Include basic herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, and mint. Also purchase potting soil, small pots, and simple gardening hand tools.
Teach your child to read the directions on the plant packet and plant his seeds accordingly. As they begin to grow, show him how to water and fertilize them. When the plants are fully mature, instruct him as to the many uses of each plant. Muddle a mint leaf in a glass and add iced tea and ice. Make a chicken dish with either the basil or oregano. Show him how much prettier a plated meal is with the addition of a sprig of parsley. Be careful though; his interest may turn from gardening to culinary arts!
Raised Bed Garden
Even if you have very little space in your yard, you could purchase or assemble a raised bed garden. Select woods that are not chemically treated and help your youngster hammer together four boards in a small square. It could be four feet square or a five-by-three structure – whatever fits the space you have. Add compost and soil.
Demonstrate how to section off the small space for each plant you have chosen. Stick with simple varieties such as tomatoes, onions, green beans, peas, and different types of lettuce. Radishes are an excellent choice also, as they mature very quickly. Some, such as the tomatoes plants, can be started a few weeks earlier and then transplanted. Help your child water and fertilize the different vegetable plants as they grow. When they are ready, use some of these to make a special salad for the family. Your youngster will be so proud of his efforts and his contribution to the family meal.
If your child loves color, flowers may be what draws him to the hobby of gardening. Assist him in clearing out the flower beds in front of your home and then take him to a nearby gardening center to choose the type of flowers he would like to plant. These flowers could be either seeds or young plants.
You could take this opportunity to explain the difference between annuals and perennials. Draw out a plan for both the color and sizes of the flowers; read the seed packets or transplant descriptions to determine how tall each will grow. Help your child visualize how the taller ones in the back will look with shorter flower plants in the front. Take the supplies home and plant or transplant the seeds or plants into the ground.
Introduce your child to the concept of fertilizer, why it is important and how it helps plants grow healthier and stronger. Discuss how often the young flowers will need to be watered. As the flowers grow, talk about how long it will be before buds appear on the plants. when the foliage does begin to flower, celebrate by cutting a few select blooms and place them in a vase in your home for all to enjoy.
If yard space if very limited or even nonexistent if you reside in an apartment or townhome, consider starting a container garden with your child. It is very inexpensive to do; all you need is a few large containers or buckets with plant dishes underneath, drainage materials, potting soil, fertilizer, and seed or transplants. You can have your child plant either vegetables or flowers. To keep it even simpler, even citrus and avocado trees can be planted indoors.
Place drainage materials such as rocks or even old Legos at the bottom of each container. Plant seeds or transplants. Place the pots with the drainage dishes on a small balcony or sunny part of the home. Advise your child as to how to water and fertilize as needed.
As you can see, your children will love getting involved in one of these projects. They will learn how things grow and how to be responsible in caring for plants that need water and attention. They will learn how to make a yard look attractive and well-maintained and the basics of cooking with herbs and vegetables. These are all skills that will assist them for the rest of their lives.
– Craig Scott, Everything Backyard