Monday, April 20, 2009

Summer Garden Ideas – Gardening with Kids

I was at a home improvement center this past weekend when I stumbled across the garden section of the store and immediately stopped when I saw the seed racks. It was seventy degrees on Saturday and it was tough not to get a little revved up for May gardening. We usually have our automatic garden staples every year of tomatoes, peppers, and an assortment of herbs that I like to use for my Czech cooking and for grilling. Outside of that, we usually pick or rotate a different vegetable every year. Last year we added yellow wax beans and pumpkins, both of which fared very badly.
The kids spun the seed display rack and weighed their decisions carefully until my daughter decided on sun flower seeds. My son opted for sweet corn. Hmmm, two very tall plants from two very tiny gardeners. We surprisingly had good luck with corn a few years back, though we learned the tomatoes grew slower since the corn stalks block the sun at mid morning. No worries, we will put some herbs or something on the other side of the corn this year. As for the sun flower, we may just keep it in its original pot as it grows. We added a package of baby spinach seeds (my choice) and headed home.
As it is still a little early in the year for planting all of our seeds, we decided to make a “tester pot” for each of our seed choices. We all grabbed three pots, our package of seeds, soil, and water. We each filled our pots with the dirt, and each planted a seed in the pot, finally topping off with a good watering. The pots were different colored so we know who has each pot. We placed the pots in a fenced in pen in the garden as to avoid rabbits and other critters gaining access to our new project. The kids had a good time and will monitor the growth of our projects every week, though my daughter is insistent that the sun flower will germinate overnight.
I highly encourage gardening with kids since they really enjoy getting their hands dirty and seem to marvel at the growth cycle of vegetables and fruit from seedling to the dinner table. It is also an effective way to get your children to try and eat vegetables that might be normally resisted when purchased from a supermarket.

1 comment:

cats said...

HI! Love the post. Kids can learn SO MUCH from gardening. Even "just the food" part is valuable, but it can mean so much more. A feeling of connection with the Earth is HIUGE!

Erika sent us a great story about teaching her children to value LEARNING through gardening. Great video, check it out here:

Hope you like it!