I love gardening! My family always grew large gardens when I was a child. Now that I have my own kids, we garden together. One year it was basil on our seventh floor balcony, another year it was squash in flower beds at the duplex we rented. Every year my children look forward to being involved and learn something new.
This year I was envisioning a huge, organic plot, like the one my grandpap used to grow. Then life with kids happened, and it was time to plant here in the Southeast, and I did not even have seeds! If you had wanted to do a garden for your kids this year, but it's already planting time (or a little past!) where you are, don't give up! There is still time to harvest the benefits of gardening with your children. Just follow these three easy steps.
What is a kid friendly garden?
A kid friendly garden is a space with growing plants where children are welcome. It can have special features, or it can just have plants. Children are naturally drawn to growing things, as long as we make the space safe and allow them to participate, the garden is naturally kid friendly.
Step one to a kid friendly garden: go shopping
Now, if you are a seasoned gardener, or have plenty of time, it is better to make some plans. If that is you, check out what Evelyne at Nemsock farms has to say. However, if you are like me this year, and just want a great learning experience, grab the kids and head to the local hardware store.
Shopping list if you have dirt to plant in
Seeds, 1 packet per 3 square feet or 1 square meter you intend to plant
Shovel, if you don't have one already
Soil test kit, optional
Shopping list of you do not have dirt
Step two to a kid friendly garden: Plant the seeds
Follow the dates on the back of the seed packet the best that you can, but remember this is about the experience. Better to plant and fail than to not plant. If you are looking for more detail, check out what Nelle at Rhythms of Play has to say about working with each plant with her kids.
You may need to spend some time preparing the soil before the seeds can go in. Seasoned gardeners will spend significant time preparing the soil. In our case, my husband borrowed a rototiller from some generous neighbors and we put the seeds in. We did test the soil, record the results, and add some fertilizer. I plan to improve as we go. A kid friendly garden is all about learning.
Step three to a kid friendly garden: Watch.
The point of a kid friendly garden is to explore how to grow plants. In my case, I am new to gardening in this area, so it is a learning experience for me too. I started keeping a journal last summer to help is track how our plants are growing.
One of the main lessons we learned last summer was to protect the young plants from chipmunks until they were big enough that they wouldn't be eaten whole. This summer, we are adding to our knowledge.
See how easy gardening with kids can be? Now, grab your kids and head to the store!
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