I love gardening with kids.
The colors on our countertop. The crunch of a tomato right of the plant, or the red chili flakes we use from our dried chili peppers add a level of satisfaction to our attempt at a healthy lifestyle.
Our raspberries rarely make it to the house, because the kids eat them straight off the bush. Their eyes light up with excitement in the afternoon to pick them off the bush themselves or run them to their dad when he gets home from work. It’s an excitement that stems from the fact that they know they helped grow those yummy little raspberries.
Tip for Gardening with Kids
Plant what you love to eat
In our garden and planter boxes we have had a variety of peppers, snap peas, green beans, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, zucchini, raspberries, watermelon radishes, and strawberries… the list goes on. We have found the things we love from year to year, the things we don’t find worth the trouble, and then there is always the list of fruits and veggies our kids want to try!
Let kids choose plants
Our kids get a chance to pick out what we are planting from year to year. They help prepare our planters and garden area, and then help care for and pick the produce. There are always some grumbles as we ask for help prepping, but it’s a process. It’s important to understand there is work behind the final delicious product.
Get fun tools
The kids have their own gardening gloves, watering cans, and shovels they have accumulated over the years. Involving them from start to finish has them feeling invested from planting to harvesting. We try to instill an understanding of the amount of care it takes to actually get a pepper or a tomato out of our plants. They help with daily waterings and checking for vegetables ready to pick!
Start from seed
One year we planted everything from seeds. We talked to our son about the plant’s life cycle, the time it really takes to get anything from a vegetable plant, and how few plants we got from all of the seeds we planted. It was a great learning experience, but not one we do every year.
For the most part, we buy our plants for convenience and the sake of time. We get our plants from local places like Canoyer Garden Center or Earl May. We take the time to explain to the kids the importance of locally grown produce, they get the chance to help pick out the plants. Then we talk about how important it is to know HOW your food is grown. The kids help with the planting, putting down weed mats, and training our plants to grow in the right direction. It is truly a team effort.
We are itching to get planting and will be getting our lettuce bowls soon. We’re waiting for the right time to get the rest of our plants this spring. Our six year old has already asked a dozen times when we will be getting our vegetables in the ground.
If you haven’t tried gardening with your kids, give it a try this year!
Having an understanding of the process of growing vegetables is important, and getting your kids invested in the food they eat is a valuable life lesson. Start with something easy like tomatoes, or a lettuce bowl. You can even grow your own herbs in a jar or your deck! Making the gardening accessible to your kids is really important to get them involved.
As we are all taking a crack at schooling from home this year, it gives us a chance to build some practical life skills into our daily schedule. It’s an excuse to get outside, and a chance to teach your kids all about gardening and making memories they can carry with them their entire life. Watch your kid’s knowledge of the world around them grow, as they watch a plant grow… it’s pretty amazing.