Children love being outside playing in the ground whether it’s making mud pies, sandcastles or digging in the soil, and they often love doing things their parents do. Focus your kids’ curiosity by teaching them how to grow their own plants. Most children are more interested in plants they can eat, or feed to birds and animals than ornamental plants. With some help from their parents or indeed grandparents they will develop a deeper understanding of nature and a love of gardening that can last a lifetime.
So where to start, first start small; a large pot on a patio, or a garden space that is theirs, but not too big, it should be small enough that children can reach the middle of the bed when standing on the outside of the bed. Thus means they don’t need to walk on the garden and potentially the plants in it to water, weed or harvest.
Keep it simple; don’t expect children to spend more than 15-20 minutes at most tending their plants, kids are impatient and they don’t understand how long some plants take to grow. Some good choices are food plants your children already like to eat.
Take your children with you to the garden centre and let them choose what plants they want to grow. Cherry tomatoes are great choice, buy small plants from your local garden centre, plant in full sun and put in a metre tall stake alongside each seedling; they need to be tied loosely to stakes as they get taller. Depending the plant size when purchased and on the variety you can have ripe fruit by late July. Cucumbers also work well, they can be grown in a tomato cage or up the fence, a section of fence lattice makes a wonderful cucumber trellis.
Sunflowers are a popular choice, they grow quickly, the seeds can be eaten by both birds and people, follow the directions on the seed packet, or label if you are buying seedlings. Nasturtiums are another good choice that provides both colourful flowers and salad ingredients. They germinate very quickly from seed; they are happy in sunny, dry locations and do well in poor soil. The orange, red or yellow flowers are spicy and look great in a mixed salad.
There are many online sources that provide additional information, https://kidsgardening.org/ is a good resource.
Our next meeting is our Spring Open House on Tuesday, April 9th at 7pm, Streetsville United Church. Be our guest for the evening and find out what our Society is about. Our April meeting includes speaker Rodger Tschanz, speaking about ‘Choosing the Best Plants’
Roses, shrubs, perennials, vegetables or annuals for your garden, a gardening book and magazine sale, raffle table, you can join the society in April for only $10, your membership will include our May and June Meetings and a free plant at our May meeting.