Gardening with Kids

    • It’s time to plant the vegetable garden. You’ll find starts of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and much more at the nursery now.
    • Mother’s Day is the perfect time to give a gift of a living plant. Rhododendrons, roses, hanging fuchsias and ivy geraniums are sure to please her.
    • Calibrachoa, or Million Bells, look like miniature petunias and come in many unusual shades and blends. Plant them in full sun for a profusion of flowers from spring to frost.
    • Mulch blueberry plants with aged sawdust and feed with cottonseed meal or an acid fertilizer.
    • Set out petunias, cosmos, marigolds, impatiens and begonias for lots of colorful flowers all summer long.

Gardening with Kids

There are many fun ways to interest children in gardening. Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, having children enjoy their time with you in the garden can be an experience they will remember all their lives.

One successful way to pique a child’s gardening interest is to have a few unusual or fascinating plants around the garden. Snapdragons are an old favorite, and many of us still remember pinching the blossoms to make them “snap”. Bleeding heart has an intriguing flower as do fuchsias and balloon flowers before they open up.

Children love to “pet” the furry leaves of lamb’s ears and to stroke the plump, pointed leaves of a clump of hens and chicks .

Tall plants hold a particular fascination for children, especially fast growing ones. Sunflowers are fun to grow because they get taller every day. Large marigolds, zinnias and cosmos and “dinnerplate” dahlias, tall gladioli and lilies will capture their interest.

Plants that children can eat are a good way to interest them in the garden. Sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries are probably the favorites. Searching through the dark green leaves looking for a bright red, ripe berry is almost like hide-and-seek. This delicious fruit is its own reward. Strawberries planted now will bear fruit this summer.

Planting potatoes is a good activity to do with children. Plant a sprouting potato and check every few days to see if the green shoots are emerging. The real magic comes at harvest time, when large round potatoes are dug up out of the earth. Digging for potatoes is like digging for buried treasure, and potatoes come in some amazing colors and shapes too.

Pumpkins are a ‘must’ for children as they are interesting to watch grow and they can be used for dried seeds as well as to make Jack-o-lanterns.

Kids enjoy garden structures like a bean teepee or a sunflower house where they can have a secret hideaway. Other plants that are good for tall garden structures are scarlet runner beans, morning glories or cucumber vines.

Don’t forget to plant some fragrant flowers for them to pick and enjoy. Sweet peas make the perfect bouquet and honeysuckle flowers can be enjoyed for their sweet nectar as well. Oriental lilies have a lovely fragrance as do lavenders, which are fun to make into sachets or lavender wands.

When kids are a little older, they will enjoy having a garden space of their own. Let her plant what she wants in her own way. If he plants an entire seed packet in one square foot, he will see the results and may decide to spread the seeds out better next time. Encourage the planting of flower bulbs. It’s wonderful to see what grows out of a hard, dry bulb.

If you love to garden, chances are that your children will grow to enjoy being outdoors and may develop an interest in gardening if you help them discover the joys of the plant world.

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