Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gardening With Kids

Gardening with kids can have a great impact on their lives.  I know because I've been helping and growing vegetables since I was a small kid!  It might seem trivial but many lessons for kids can be learned by gardening with them.  Responsibility, math, science, problem solving, record keeping (for older kids), sustainability, environmental issues (again, older kids) are just a few things to be learned in the garden.  Another big lesson learned is healthy eating.  Kids are more likely to eat their vegetables if they helped grow them.

How do you get kids interested in gardening?  Its not very difficult at all.  First of all most small kids want to be wherever you're at to begin with. Second most kids like being outside, playing in dirt and with bugs.  All of which are in the garden!  Small kids can also be enticed to gardening by planting theme based gardens.  What I mean by this is planting a garden with a defined purpose.  Plant a "Pizza Garden" with basil, tomatoes, peppers, and onions!  When you harvest your veggies you can make a pizza with them!  Try out a "Stir Fry Garden" with onions, peppers, pea pods, beans, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower!  Another option is to use kids books as a way to plant a theme based garden.  Peter Rabbit for instance had a garden of beets, radishes, rhubarb, mint, lemon balm, tansy, lavender, chamomile, hyssop, sage, rosemary and strawberries!  You don't have to plant everything on the list but kids will enjoy having a garden like Peter Rabbit.   If a theme based garden isn't for you, there are all sorts of "odd colored" veggies that might spark interest, such as orange cauliflower, and purple carrots!

Older kids will enjoy planting pumpkins for Halloween and keeping a journal of their growth.  Once pumpkins appear on the vine, its a great idea to use a tape measure to measure them every couple of days to see how much they grow and how fast!   At the end of their growing season they get to carve what they've grown and help toast the seeds!  Older kids will like the Pizza Garden ideas too, because I don't think I've ever met a kid who didn't love pizza!

So, what are you waiting for?  Now is the time to be planning out your spring and summer garden!  Get a plan together and make a list of seeds to try out!  Here are a few places I've ordered seeds from that have great seeds and great service.

Johnny's Selected Seeds
Nichol's Nursery
Burpee Seeds