Ways to Get your Kids Into Organic Gardening
Give them their own ‘patch’. This is a great way for kids to learn to be responsible for something. It’s best if their patch is small, at least in the beginning. If they love it and want to do more, you can always make it bigger.
You want to encourage them by getting results as quickly as possible. When I was a little tacker it seemed like time almost stood still especially when I was waiting for something. Start with seedlings of lettuce, cherry tomatoes or snow peas foods that they love and are quick to give results. Potatoes are always a winner. Digging them up is like digging for buried treasure!
Take your little one(s) with you to select seeds that they can grow in their plot. They’ll probably choose plants with bright colours and interesting textures, which will add interest to your dinner table. You’ll find they are really keen to eat what they’ve grown, so you’ll have them trying new things. This also gives them a valuable sense of contribution to the family and pride in themselves.
Most little people love flowers too as they are such visual creatures, so you can introduce them to companion planting. Teach them to grow good plant combinations and how this keeps insect populations in check. Try borage and strawberries, or tomatoes and parsley or basil. By the way, spending some time together watching bugs is a great way to learn about nature and how everything is interconnected.
Let the child be in charge of their patch. You can guide them with suggestions and tips, but let the final decision be theirs. Encourage them to mark when and where they plant seeds so they’re not working in a spot they’ve already planted seed in. This will let them know when to expect the shoots to poke through very exciting! Remind them to water and weed. Let them to do the bulk of the ‘work’, so the results are truly their own. Allow it to be a place of discovery, not mistakes. Encourage them to clean up after they’ve finished in their plot for the day. Establishing good habits now will have far reaching benefits in their life.
Building small structures like a trellis or bean teepee adds interest and dimension. You and your child can use bamboo or wire to make a small, simple structure for plants to scramble up. Climbing plants look great on a structure and can really shoot up very quickly. Try climbing beans, peas or cucumbers.
Enjoy your time together in the garden. Make sure your child’s plot is near where you spend most of your time in the garden. You can be working your veggie garden while they are in theirs. You can share moments of excitement and discovery, like when seeds first break through the surface, or when you notice the first cucumber on the vine, or a gorgeous flower just emerging. Your garden is a place of constant wonder that you can share with your little ones. So have fun and enjoy!
Hi, I am an avid organic gardener and am known by my friends as the recycling queen. I live on a small country property in South Australia. It is my mission to encourage as many people as possible to start organic gardening. This will improve both our individual lives and the wellbeing of our personal and global environments.
Please visit my website for more great organic gardening tips & info, plus a free composting guide. For Companion Planting info click here.
Happy gardening, healthy living…