Imagine the experience of going out to pick those beautiful and tasty strawberries and vines with your kids from a garden you grew together. How would you describe the experience? Is it not something to be proud of?
Gardening for your kids is nice, fun, refreshing and above all educational. Besides, the process can create an even stronger bond between you and your little ones.
Gardening is a great tool if you are struggling with your kids to eat healthily. All kids will love eating what they grow. However, you need to be careful to choose only kid-friendly gardening techniques.
Gardening with children also helps their development, so there are many reasons to get them involved.
In other words, you need a kid-friendly plan. Here, you are going to learn how to plan and plant a garden for kids.
Let’s get started…
Step 1: Create a Plan for Your Garden
The starting point is to decide along with your kid or kids the type of child-friendly garden you wish to plant. Although young, kids have their own feelings. Your plan must take into account the feeling of your entire family.
Factors that should guide you in planning include:
- The age of your kid or kids
- Your summer schedule and your location
- What you want to plant in the garden
Sit together with your children and review the different options for the garden. The preferred types of gardens for kids include:
- Rainbow Garden: Kids love colors. It is among the first things they appreciate in life. So, why don’t you grow a garden that shows the colors of the rainbow? Plant rows of flowers and herbs in the sequence of the rainbow colors: ROYGBIV
- Potato Towers: Get your children to select two or three old tires. Lay them side by side. Feel each of the tires with high-quality soil and plant your potatoes in them. Wait for the potato to sprout one inch above the ground. Fill another tire with soil and place it on top of the first one.
- Salsa Garden: A hula hoop provides very good kids garden. Get your kid to lay down a large hula hoop and grow plants that would make a delicious salsa. You can plant onions, hot pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes. Later in the summer, the yummy ingredients from the hula hoop will help you make a tantalizing salsa for your family.
- ABC Garden: Let your kid learn the letters of the alphabet by planting an ABC garden. All you need is to plant vegetables and herbs in alphabetical groups.
- Counting Rows: Get your children to perfect their counting skills by planting vegetables and herbs in counting rows. For instance, you can plant one squash plant, two potato towers, and three hot peppers and so on. This gardening option for kids requires you to have a bigger garden.
- Square Watermelons: Wait for your melons to set fruit. Make wooden boxes and place the fruits inside while they are still attached to the plant. As they grow, the watermelons will assume the shape of the box. The box needs to be put together with screws for easy access to the ripe fruit.
- Butterfly Garden: Do your kids love to catch butterflies? If so, they will love a butterfly garden. All you need to do is to plant flowers that have the potential of attracting butterflies. Such a garden can also be a great educational tool. You can use it to teach your children about insect identification. You can also use it to teach the kids how to differentiate perennial from annual plants.
It is very important to consider your summer schedule. You need to have time to work on the garden with your children. In case your schedule is tight, then you can choose to grow plants that blossom faster. This can include herbs as well as green beans.
If your schedule is tighter early in summer then it would be a good idea to grow plants that blossom slowly. Examples are corn and watermelon. Low maintenance gardens and plants that need little attention are also good options.
Step 2: Find Your Plants
The next step after you choose what to plant is finding high-quality plants. You can get your plants by buying seeds from a garden store. Alternatively, you can get the so-called “starter plants”. The term describes plants that are already growing. You simply need to put them on the ground.
You can find seeds in the garden section of hardware stores or specialty garden stores. As for starter plants, you can buy them from greenhouses, nurseries, home improvement stores and farmers markets.
Get seeds for plants that are easy to grow such as corn, flowers, watermelon, carrots and onions. However, harder to start plants such as squash, green beans, pepper, eggplant and tomatoes are better planted from starter plants.
Step 3: Plant the Garden
This is a great step to involve your children since such little ones love to play with dirt. The process begins by preparing the soil. A large garden may need a tiller, but a tiller may not be necessary for a smaller one, where you can just prepare it by hand. Do this a day before planting.
The soil gets ready in a day or so. The best time to plant should be when it’s warm and sunny. Create a map for your garden as well as where your seeds and starter plants will go.
Using apps and technology to plan your garden is also an option if you have time.
Go to the garden along with your kids. Assemble your kids around the garden. Guide the kids as you grow your plants according to the map. If you can make the map bright and colourful it will help. Even get your children to colour it in the night before.
It will save you time and undue stress if you assemble all the seed packets and starter plants where you will eventually plant them. This will allow your kids to get involved in the planting process. Direct them as to what seeds or plants to plant where.
To make your kids future gardeners, dress them in gardening clothes and hats. A sunscreen is equally important for each of them. Make mud by mixing some water with soil. Let them play in the mud. Allow the kids to dig with kid-friendly tools and equipment.
Step 4: Manage Your Garden
You will love it to see your plants sprout. Your kids will love it too. It is time to care for your little plants and watch them as they grow. Always ensure you remove the weeds together with your kids. Show them how to identify the weeds and the best way to remove them. In case it does not rain, water the young plants as regularly as possible.
Affix a garden calendar on the wall. The gardening time should be at least twice daily. Kids are notoriously impatient. They may not handle seeing nothing sprout from the ground in a day or two. Therefore, explain to them the process of germination. Tell them that different seeds germinate after different amounts of time.
You also need to tell them how long each plant would take to be ready for harvest. Do it in a way that makes it easy for your kid or kids to understand. They may have many questions and even your best answer may lead to yet another question.
Some Safety Tips
The fact that kids are involved means you must be careful with chemical-based sprays or fertilizers. If you have to use chemicals, ensure you do not let your kids touch plants that have just been treated. Putting contaminated hands in the mouth can poison your child.
A good safety advice is to set rules and regulations concerning the handling and storage of tools. Show them the importance of abiding by the rules. Make sure you also abide by such rules and regulations to set an example for them to emulate.
Planning and planting a garden for kids can be adventurous, educational and refreshing. It can also bring a unique bond to a family.
Now that you have learned how to plan and plant a garden for kids, you can enjoy these wonderful benefits. Your kids will find it fun and refreshing. It will create a sense of duty and responsibility in your kids. Take a plunge and garden with your loved ones. It is an awesome experience.