Spring. Blue skies. Sunshine. New plant growth. How I love it!
As soon as the weather gets warm, I love to get out in the yard and dig in the dirt! And I want my children to love it, too!
This year, my older kids are old pros at gardening. My youngest, though, is still discovering the joy of gardening. This year we planted a container garden just for Gracie.
Here are a few tips on how to plant a garden your child will love.
Planning a Garden Your Child Will Love
Every garden needs a plan. As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and that is also true of gardens. Each seed you plant will have an optimal planting time and harvesting time. You want to make sure the plants you select will work well together in your space.
We do a lot of container gardening, because we have a large deck. I also love containers, because they are very manageable for kids.
This year we picked a basic children’s theme garden out of my favorite book on container gardening: McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container. It’s not only a fabulous resource on vegetable gardening in containers, but it provides instructions for several themed container gardens.
Since I’m not a natural gardener, using a reliable book for garden plans works well. Another one of my favorite gardening books is Square Foot Gardening, which is great for those who need to garden in small spaces.
Purchase Kid-Friendly Garden Supplies
Now that you have a plan, make a note of all the things you need for your garden – what kind of container, seeds, and other supplies you may not have on hand. Take your child shopping with you to purchase her gardening supplies. Letting her have some input into her garden will make her love her garden even more!
Gracie and I went to Walmart for all the supplies on our list. I like shopping at Walmart, because I can purchase everything in one place, and it’s affordable. My pocketbook thanks me, and my child thanks me. She doesn’t like to travel from store to store. Plus, she likes to take a detour through Walmart’s toy aisle. I know you can relate. Walmart truly is where America’s list gets done – at least it’s where our list gets done.
Our list included an 18”-24” container, carrot seeds, radish seeds, pumpkin seeds, pansies, and soil.
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We looked at several pots and settled on the wooden barrel pictured above. It’s the perfect height for a small child’s garden, and the price was right at $24.95.
Gracie then picked out her seeds. We knew which vegetables we wanted, but I let her pick the varieties (except the pumpkins). We purchased:
- Burpee Short & Sweet Carrots
- Seeds of Change 100% Certified Organic Cherry Radishes
- Burpee Jack Be Little Pumpkins
Since we’re container gardening, we can’t plant big pumpkins, but Jack be Littles are perfect child sized pumpkins for a child sized container garden.
Gracie also picked out two pots of yellow pansies. Then we picked up a couple of bags of Miracle Gro Flower/Vegetable Soil.
We found everything on our list for a grand total of $44.57. And yes, we took a detour through the toy department.
Helping Your Child Plant Her Garden
Last week I helped Gracie plant her garden. Other than pouring the big bag of soil into the barrel, Gracie did most of the work.
First, we planted the two pots of pansies in the middle of the barrel. The pansies provide instant gratification for a children’s garden. Who doesn’t love to sit back and look at beautiful flowers right after planting?
Next, Gracie used a stick to draw a 1/2” deep circle around the pansies. She sprinkled carrot seeds in the circular trench. We covered them up and patted down the soil.
Then she drew another 1/2” deep circle with the stick around the carrot circle. That’s where she planted her radish seeds.
Finally, Gracie gave her new garden a good watering.
We’ll wait until June to plant the pumpkin seeds.
There’s actually a method to my gardening madness!
As I said before, the pansies provide Gracie with some instant gratification for her work.
The radishes should be ready to harvest in a month or less, and the carrots will be ready to harvest in just over two months. That will hold Gracie’s interest into the summer.
In June, we will pull out the pansies and plant pumpkin seeds in their place. We’ll also plant new radish seeds as we harvest the ones already in the container.
As the radish and carrot crops begin to die down, new pumpkin plants will hold Gracie’s interest over the summer and into fall. And those tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins are so cute, I know she’s going to love them!
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That’s the beauty of a good garden plan. It makes the most of the growing season, and the variation in plants and harvest times will hold a child’s interest for a long time!
Since Gracie is also responsible for the daily watering of her plants, she’s also learning to do chores. And she doesn’t even realize it! I love it!
That’s why I go through the trouble of planting a kid-friendly garden every year. Teaching kids responsibility should begin early, and gardening is a fun way to do it!
Question: Do you garden with your kids? What are you planting this year?