What better place to enjoy the season of new beginnings than in the garden. Whether you are looking to get dirty with your toddler or your tween, the garden has something for everyone.
Taylor the garden experience to the child’s age and interests– some may be into making mud pies or digging for worms, while others may be ready to plant rows of vegetables or design a flower bed.
Having a theme garden is one way to get your child excited about planning the garden. Maybe a pizza garden with fresh ingredients planted in a wedge shape, a crooked wacky garden, a butterfly garden, or an alphabet garden with plants from alyssum to zinnia. See what your child’s imagination can come up with.
Bring your child with you to the store or nursery to choose the seeds or seedlings. The more involved they are from the start the more ownership of the garden they will feel. This will keep them coming out all season long.
Selecting Your Garden Items
Have bright child-size tools that are special and just for them to use.
Choose flowers or vegetables that are easy to grow. If you are choosing seeds, choose big ones that easily germinate – peas, beans, sunflowers, or nasturtium. Or choose seedlings that are already started, like cucumbers, peppers or geraniums.
Kids are drawn to things that are little or big – think Tiny Tim tomatoes or Giant Pumpkins.
Gardens will draw anyone out if they are full of things bright and colourful – think purple carrots, rainbow chard, or marigolds.
Include garden ornaments or make your own. A rainy day craft could include painting a picture of each vegetable or flower on rocks to mark your rows. Make sure you use oil-based paint, as water-based will wash off in the rain.
Keeping Them Interested
Annual flowers, like zinnias, cosmos, and salvia produce flowers often, so they can be picked and made into bouquets all season long.You may want to include edible plants and flowers that can be touched, smelled, and tasted. This makes it a truly interactive experience.
Even those who feel they don’t have enough space, time or attention can enjoy container gardening. Strawberries, radishes, herbs, even squash do very well in a pot with enough soil, sun, and water.
Have fun! Make sure kids are comfortable (don’t be out in the heat of the day) and remember that watering is always more fun than weeding.