Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5 Steps to Creating Your First Garden with Kids

Spring is in the air and summer is right around the corner, which is the perfect time to begin planning and even starting your garden.  I'm excited to share the following guest blog post, 5 Steps to Creating Your First Garden with Kids, by Linda Williams! 

If necessity is the mother of invention, then being a mother brings out creative genius. I firmly believe “mash-up” was first uttered by a mom who was trying to keep an eye on the kids garden and prepare dinner in the same window of time.

While many kids may not jump at the chance to do the laundry, gardening definitely has a certain appeal. Teach kids where food comes from by starting gardens and asking young helpers to dig, plant, water, watch, weed, and harvest with you. Here are a few of our go-to tips.

Tools. One of the first things to do when gardening with kids is to get the right tools for the job. Most adults have gardening tools, but they are too big for little hands. Garden centers and even the local dollar store carry scaled down versions of gloves, rakes, hoes, pails and even wheel barrows!

When I was young, I wanted to match my mother. If we were shopping and she bought a scarf, I had to have a matching scarf. It made me feel special. You can do the same thing when gardening with little ones. Find matching or complementary gloves, matching shovel or watering cans – the sky is the limit.

Seeds or young plants
An outing to the garden center for seeds and plants is an adventure in itself. Keep to the aisles with seed racks and plants or you may be surprised when you child tries to bounce a glass gazing ball (speaking from experience here).

What is your child’s favorite color, flower, or food? If possible, choose seeds or plants that match some of their favorites. My daughter loves purple and any plant that is purple gets special attention from her.

Forget about keeping clean
Find the perfect planting location either in a cozy corner, a raised bed, or right up front. Let kids dig in the dirt. The feel of good soil in the fingers and toes is a Zen-like experience even for little ones and getting messy doesn’t hurt either. Remember gardening can be done in swimming suits for easy clean up after.

Kids Gardening

Learning about garden partners
Gardening is a good time to introduce kids to the earth’s flora and fauna. Did you intercept an earthworm while digging? Explain that worms aerate and fertilize the soil so roots and plants can grow strong.

Are your children amateur butterfly collectors or future bee keepers? Add insect and hummingbird favorites like a Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) and Bee balm (Monarda didyma) to your flower garden.

Butterfly bush - Via

In the vegetable garden, flowering oregano, sage, and borage are also popular with pollinating bees. Teach kids that bees are too busy hunting for nectar to care about their presence in the garden. Bees and other pollinators are essential to crops and deserve respect. Just give them a little room to do their jobs.

Oregano - Via

Care and Harvest
Once seeds and plants take hold, let children water and weed with you. If a plant is missed and found wilting later, explain that it needs water. Then, ask the kids to give it special care and keep track of the results. They’ll feel like garden heroes when it comes back to life.
Gardening for Kids

Even kids who draw the line at vegetables can’t resist trying fruits and veggies that they planted, watered, weeded, and harvested. Give them a big basket or bucket to collect their bounty. The experience will last a lifetime.

For more ideas and other home inspiration, head to

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