Thursday, 18 September 2014

Introducing Kids To Gardening

Gardeners everywhere have turned their favorite hobby into a family affair. Parents and children can come together to produce beautiful flowers, delicious vegetables, and delightful herbs. Because the needs of a garden change throughout the growing season, it's possible to get the whole family in on the fun.

Kids Love Gardens

Kids and gardens are a natural fit. Children love watching plants grow and change; getting to help the process along with their own hands is a source of wonder. However, parents are sometimes hesitant to involve their children in family gardening efforts because they're concerned that the work is too hard or that the results won't be seen very quickly. These are valid concerns, though with a little bit of planning, it's actually very easy to include your children in creating a family garden plot.

Involving Children in the Process

While it's true that gardening takes effort, there are tasks that even small children can take on. Weeding is a simple task that many children will steadily work at. Clearing pebbles and small rocks into a pile is a necessary part of starting a garden that little ones can easily accomplish. Filling holes and patting down soil require little skill and are completed in short order.

Older children can help out with watering and pruning. Flowers in particular need to be trimmed back from time to time in order to encourage blossom growth. It only takes a few minutes to show them where and how to prune a flower plant.

Perhaps the very easiest time to engage children in the gardening process is when it comes time to harvest your bounty; choosing plants that harvest at different times will help encourage their efforts. Ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash are easy for small hands to pick. Apples, cherries, pears, apricots, and other tree fruit can be gathered by taller kids or those capable of standing on step ladders. Flowers and herbs are easy to pick and can be quickly gathered into lovely bundles for enjoyment inside the house.

The Best Part of All

At first, it can be hard for kids to visualize exactly what a garden is going to look like. A garden doesn't look very impressive when seeds are tucked under the soil and plants are first placed in the ground. Weeding and watering can feel endless during the height of the growing season, though this is also the time when the biggest changes are taking place. To show your kids what a difference their work has made, take a picture of the garden once a week and let them point out the many ways that it's changed in even a short period of time.

Pretty soon, your yard and garden will be filled with wonderful things to eat and look at. Involve your kids in arranging the flowers they've grown and cooking with the vegetables they helped to plant. This gives them the hands-on experience of seeing a garden through from beginning to end.

Children benefit from gardening in many ways. Some parents struggle to find ways to entice kids away from the television and computer and out into the world; giving your kids a place to dig and grow might be all it takes to give them a passion for the outdoors. Exercise, sunlight, and fresh delicious food are just a few of the things that a child can gain from growing a garden

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