Useful articles to get the kids into gardening.
Given half a chance (and a minimum of encouragement), most kids will become totally enthralled by the magic of gardening, especially if they have their own plot – or, at the very least, a pot – to look after.
And kids will be most excited about growing something they can eat. Many children have little idea that peas grow in pods on a plant or that the beetroot on the hamburger bun didn’t start its life in a tin. Imagine their excitement when they can sow seeds into the soil and follow the plant right through until it’s ready for picking.
It’s always easiest to get them involved if you choose plants they like to eat.
Some favourite kids’ vegies are sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and fresh (uncooked) green beans. And, if space permits, they’ll also gain immense satisfaction from growing kid-friendly fruit such as strawberries, citrus and passionfruit.
Beginning gardeners can be impatient, which means they’ll appreciate plants like radishes that produce fast results from seed. They’re not the most popular mealtime fare with kids, it’s true, but they make a great contribution to adult salad dishes. But why not get kids to sprinkle radish seeds into grooves that spell out their names? Then watch their sense of wonder as they see the seedlings emerge.
If the child doesn’t have access to a garden bed, why not try some indoor gardening? An indoor plant can be grown on a bedroom windowsill or, sticking to the edible theme, alfalfa or bean sprouts can be produced inside in a plastic container in the kitchen.
For other great ideas about getting kids involved in gardening, look no further than Australia’s favourite gardening book, Yates Garden Guide. Yates Garden Guide’s kids’ gardening chapter remains true to the book’s tradition of providing practical advice that de-mystifies gardening, making it easy for the youngest gardeners to achieve success.
As well as giving ideas that will help junior gardeners, Yates Garden Guide lists commonsense rules that teach children to respect the rights of others and keep themselves safe in the garden. Suggestions include:
- Don’t touch someone else’s garden unless you have their permission.
- Never eat anything in the garden unless you know it is okay.
- Ask their owner before you pick flowers.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat as a routine when outside in the garden.
- Wear gloves when handling soil or potting mix, when handling anything rough or sharp, or working where spiders may be taking shelter.
- Wear boots or good solid footwear.
- Always check inside boots before putting them on, especially if they’ve been stored outdoors.
- Garden in suitable clothes.
- Wash hands well with soap and water after handling potting mix, soil or compost.
And, in addition to these commonsense suggestions, Yates Garden Guide has some other fun tips for kids’ garden activities. Popping flower buds, making flower dolls and growing giant pumpkins are some of the ideas that will get kids out enjoying the garden. There are also guidelines in the book for growing container plants and starting off a vegetable garden.