Gardening is a great hobby. Anyone can create a pretty, productive garden, even when you have zero outdoor space. As long as you have a bright, sunny window and some small pots, you should have no problem growing herbs, flowers, and small veggies. Of course, it is even better when you do have a spacious backyard where the kids can dig, plant, and play. In this article, we are going to discuss how best to encourage kids to learn how to garden and, more importantly, learn to the love the pleasure that growing things give them.
Create a Small Growing Space
As we have just mentioned, you don’t need a massive backyard to have a garden. Most children will find it intimidating if you show them half an acre and say: “let’s grow some plants”, so it is best to assign them a small patch or even a container, to begin with. If you live in an apartment, give them a window box or pot of their own to try growing some seeds.
Kids have much smaller hands than adults, so adult-sized tools will be too big for them to handle. As an adult, you will have no problem using a backpack sprayer to tackle weeds, but it wouldn’t work for a child. Invest in a small trowel and fork, some child-friendly gardening gloves, and a miniature watering can. Once your children discover their green fingers, there will probably be other tools they need, but for now, these are the basics.
To begin with, a pot, compost, and some seeds is a useful starting point. Show your child how to plant seeds. It shouldn’t take long for the seeds to germinate if they are placed in the right location, so it will be exciting for a child to watch his seeds poke through the soil and start to grow. Once the seedlings reach a reasonable size, help your child plant them out in the backyard or transplant them to a larger pot.
Give your child free rein over what they want to grow. Some kids love flowers and others will have more fun growing vegetables such as cress or peas. This is their project, so let them choose, otherwise, they might lose interest very quickly.
Little and Often
Gardening is something that can be done little and often. On a bright day, encourage your child to help you with some weeding in the backyard or show them how to thin out seedlings in the greenhouse. The more tasks you introduce them to, the more interesting it will be for them.
One way to make gardening even more fun is to have a growing competition. Pick a fast-growing flower – a sunflower is a great choice – and see which flower grows the tallest. Alternatively, grow tomatoes and see which tomatoes ripen first.
Gardening is a fun – and useful – hobby. Instil a love of gardening now and you are laying the groundwork for a lifetime of beautiful flowers and tasty home-grown vegetables.