Starting a garden with your kids may seem like an impossible task. It may feel overwhelming at first, but it can be lots of fun. It does take some time, effort, and an initial startup cost to start, but it can rear an abundance of crops and lots of fun for many years to come.
One way to help make a garden an achievable goal this summer is to try to involve your children every step of the way! Our youngest was just a baby in a sling carrier her first summer while I tended to the garden with the big kids, and the next summer she was a toddler who crawled around and played with her water table next to the garden while the rest of us worked in it. No matter their age growing up with a garden will teach them many important things about life, hard work, and pride.
Below are some tips to help with starting a garden with kids:
When thinking of starting a garden don’t think big. Believe me, I have been there. I dream of that homestead garden that takes up half an acre, but we started small because, well, we live on less than an acre. Start with some plants that do well in pots or purchase a raised garden bed. Both of these are great options for finding the right spot in your yard too. It is much easier to build upon what you have than try to tackle a big garden from the start.
Start with a compost
This is an easy way to get the kids involved and an excellent opportunity to teach the importance of food scraps not only for our environment but also for the garden. Not all things need to be dumped into landfills, instead they can be incredibly beneficial for your garden, feeding farm animals, and so much more! Just remember there are certain foods we shouldn’t compost for the garden like onions, dairy, and fats/oils. You can find small composting containers for inside scraps as well as rotating ones for outside (which is the kind we have). There are also companies locally that will take your compost if you are not interested in starting one at your home.
Purchase seeds & plants together
This has to be one of my kids’ favorite activities as we head into spring and early summer. Some years we have started our garden from seed, but with kittens and no area to really let the seeds grow inside we have opted to purchase plants from the local gardening store or our farm stand instead. Some years we forgot to plant the seeds ahead of time, and busy schedules always have a tendency to put us behind. Either way, my kids LOVE shopping for seeds and plants!
Let the kids choose their gardening gear
We typically gift the kids a new pair of rain boots come springtime, but they like to pick out new gardening gloves and any new tools they need to replace the broken ones. They have shovels, rakes, and a wagon just to name a few. Equipment their size lets them help with ease and also teaches them the responsibility to care for their tools. This is especially great for kids under the age of 10.
It’s never too late to start
Just know it is never too late to start a garden. The kids will be excited to be a part of something that provides food for the family. Another bonus for us with having a garden is our kid’s palates have expanded because they love the taste of fresh fruits and veggies over store-bought. My kids refuse to eat blueberries from the store but picking their own off the vine they will eat the whole pint!
Let us know if you have a garden or if you are planning to start one this year!