From Dean Dowd on March 04, 2009 in Landscaping
Teaching your children how to plant a garden can be a rewarding project in more ways than one. It builds self-esteem and patience, stimulates imagination, and teaches them respect for Mother Nature. Sharing quality time in the garden will build long-lasting memories for both of you.
The experience that your child will receive will run much deeper than planting seeds and watching them grow. Learning what, when, and where to plant, and nurturing plants to maturity teaches your children about their environment and how things grow. Whether your child is age 4 or 10, set aside a little plot of land they can call their own and get gardening – spring is almost in the air!
- Find a nice little plot of earth in your yard for your child’s garden. You may want to outline the plot with small stones to create boundaries.
- Before you discuss the seed selection, sit down with your child and talk about how plants grow, how sunshine is good for some plants while other plants need shade, how often the garden will need water, and how to start with healthy soil before the planting begins to encourage strong healthy plants.
- A rectangular shaped garden is easiest, with planting rows that the child can easily walk in between without stomping on the plants. If you have some old brick or flat stone lying around, your child could create paths between the plantings.
- Once you create the garden’s shape and condition the soil, it’s time to pick out the seeds. Depending on the season and types of fruit and veggies your child likes to eat will determine the garden. Buy big seeds that are easy and fast to grow - kids aren’t patient critters and slow seeds lead to disappointment and disillusionment with gardening. It’s okay to plant some slow-growing plants but just make sure you have enough fast-growing seeds to keep their interest.
Zucchini is always a favorite because it grows fast and it’s hardy. Other favorites are strawberries, cucumbers, beans, squash, corn, and pumpkins. And, for slower growing veggies, carrots and tomatoes are fun to grow.
You can add some beautiful color to the garden by planting some fast growing flowers such as zinnias, sunflowers, and nasturtiums. And add aroma with rosemary and mint.
After you and your child finish planting the seeds, don’t forget to make signs to mark the rows with what’s planted where. If your child is too young to write, he or she can draw a picture of the plant on the garden stakes.
When the fruit and vegetables are ready to eat you can teach your child how to harvest and clean the food and cook a dish together. This is an event for the scrapbook, so don’t forget to take pictures of the gardening process from start to finish!