One of the best ways to teach children something, is to teach them by example. Having your children in the garden with you, teaching them how to take care of the plants and to have respect for nature, is one of the most important things you can do with them. It will not only help them to have their own beautiful garden in the future, but it can also teach them where their food comes from and how to be more sustainable.
The children are the future, and teaching them the importance of creating gardens and the various ways that plants can be cared for, is one way of ensuring that you leave the future in good hands. And besides, having your children gardening with you is a lovely way to spend time with them, away from the distractions of technology and the everyday things that need doing.
Creating a garden for your children
Starting a new garden, as a learning experience for your children, is a wonderful starting point when it comes to teaching kids about the importance of having and maintaining a garden. A brand new garden bed means they can be fully involved in the entire process, from the preparation of the soil, and the growing of seeds, to the eventual planting.
The best type of garden you can grow for children will be a vegetable garden, because it will be a more interactive experience and this will keep your children interested and involved.
This garden should be just for the children, something which they can then be responsible for. Not only can you show them how to grow and take care of the garden, but you can also let them do the harvesting.
As you know, gardens can be placed in just about any part of your yard and when you start the process, you will need to prepare your garden as you would any other. Except this time, you can explain every part of the process to your child.
When choosing your garden’s location, which as with any other garden will begin with finding out which area has the right amount of sunlight, you can explain why you have chosen the spot and the importance of light.
From there you can have a look at the soil, and explain the process of preparing it for the plants. And when it comes to choosing the plants, you can give your child a lesson on why you are choosing these plants in particular.
Plants to Grow
The kind of plants you choose will depend on the goal of your garden. If you are growing a vegetable garden, you can opt for seeds or nursery grown seedlings, although growing from seed might not be a great idea when gardening with children, unless the seed planting is combined with grown or semi grown plants. Remember that when you are gardening with children, their attention span might be a little short, so seeds will only be exciting when they start growing, and in the meantime your child might lose interest in the garden.
The plants you choose don’t only have to be suitable for the garden you are trying to make, but they also need to be child friendly. There are some plants, especially those with thorns and those which are poisonous, which are not ideal for a garden that children will be responsible for.
So which plants should you choose?
Plants that grow quickly, have beautiful flowers, don’t need much care, and which have sweet smelling flowers, are all great options for a garden for children. Plants that grow fruits and vegetables are also wonderful options, although they might take a little longer to grow before they can be enjoyed.
Some of the plants that you can plant and grow in your garden right now include:
Most children will love the beautiful yellow sunflower. When these flowers bloom they are truly vibrant and will attract all sorts of interesting bugs as well as bees. You need only plant one or two though, because they grow rather big and will take up a lot of space. It can take up to 8 weeks for your sunflower to grow and start blooming. If you choose the confectionary sunflower, it will result in seeds that can be snacked on.
This plant is a lovely one to grow in the garden you are creating with your child. It can take a few weeks for the pumpkins to really take off but by the time they are flowering, they should have also started growing out in a vine like way which can look really fascinating. Pumpkins can take up quite a bit of space and they will take around 80 days to harvest, but watching them grow and then picking them, is loads of fun.
The sweet tasting strawberry is simply irresistible and it is really easy to grow. Strawberries create runners, which means you only need one good plant to end up with a whole bunch of them. And they are ready to harvest fairly quickly. Children will love being able to walk through their strawberry patch and pick a handful of berries to munch on.
- Cherry Tomatoes
These are real winners! Cherry tomatoes grow exceptionally fast and once they get going they don’t stop producing tomatoes until the plant dies, which can sometimes take up to a year. Like the strawberries, your children can enjoy walking through the garden, picking handfuls of tomatoes as they go along. Make sure that you buy the sweet variety as the bitter version of the cherry tomato might be a little unpalatable to your children.
An elegant little flower that grows in yellows and oranges, the Nasturtium is another garden favourite. This plant grows really quickly and acts as a wonderful ground covering, while the flowers are edible. And your children might get a real kick out of being able to eat flowers!