Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Kids and gardening
Kids and dirt are a natural and now that the school year is nearly over, it’s a great time to think about introducing them to gardening.
Whether you’re an old hand at gardening or a beginner, doesn’t matter, gardening with your kids is a chance to share time and talk! Keep the kids garden small, about 6 x 10 feet or less, and in a sunny location. Start with just a few seeds and plants. Radishes are a great one to start with. This is a great article from Hobby Farms on 8 colorful vegetables to garden with kids. They grow easily and quickly. You can spice it up with different types of radishes. There’s a variety called ‘watermelon’ that’s white with a purple center.
A tomato plant (Early Girl is a good choice) and some carrots and chives and they’ve got their first garden.
By the way, there’s a carrot variety called Purple Dragon that’s purple on the outside and orange inside.
Let them do the planting with you just guiding them by following the seed packet directions. Remember, this isn’t a masterpiece, just plain fun with food as a side benefit. Give them simple jobs of watering and light weeding, but do it with them and make sure they have real tools that fit their hands, not toys. Oh and teach them garden etiquette, like not leaving the business end of any tool sitting up.
Watching a kids face when they pull out their first carrot, brush off the dirt and take a bit is a delight for both kids and adults! If you don’t have a space to give to a kids garden, consider a Junior Master Gardener Program. This link Minnesota takes you to your county and this link is to the Master Gardener program in Wisconsin . You can be a part of it too, if you’d like to volunteer.
If you’re like me, it might be a little difficult not to take over if you see your child putting the seeds too close or planting in a way that might not be best for the plants. But it REALLY is more beneficial to let them do the planting and weeding as well as the harvesting. Just lend a guiding hand. Otherwise, they might not take ownership and it doesn’t mean as much.
Other resources to browse: