Getting children involved in gardening and especially growing food is a great way to give them an appreciation for real, wholesome foods and where they come from. Here are some easy tips for gardening with your little ones – and you don’t have to have an acre to do it!
Every March, I go stir crazy for spring and crave the sight of something, anything, growing. But even before it’s time to actually plant anything outdoors, you’ll find me dragging my ladies through the seed packet aisles of our local hardware store. Nothing compares to the sight of that bright spring green new growth in our window sill. Some years our seedlings make it outside, some years we grow them just for the sake of watching them grow.
Here are my favorite tips for getting your little green thumbs involved in growing their own food:
1. Give them the power of choice!: During our seed buying expeditions, my daughters each get to pick 1 thing to grow. It’s always fun to see what attracts them.
2. Perfect planting tool: Tiny fingers make the best hole diggers for the seeds! I get my girls to poke holes in each little seed well with their own fingers. It’s a great sensory activity and they love getting dirty.
3. Lessons for responsibility: I admit – I’m horrible at remembering to water plants. My six-year-old is now capable of reminding me. She knows it’s her job to check on the seeds and make sure the soil is moist. It’s a low-risk opportunity to show her what happens when she forgets her responsibility and the little seedlings dry up.
4. Pick easy starters: Kids may not gravitate towards the easier plants, so make sure to mix in a few that are quick-growing and easy care items. We love growing lettuce, pea pods, and a variety of herbs — basil and chives are particularly useful and easy!
5. Plan B: When all else fails, have you tried growing wheatgrass? It’s the Chia pet of the gardening world. We started a few cute planters for our Easter table and the seeds grew so fast you could practically watch them moving!