Want to grow a garden — with your kids? Many Circle of Moms members, including Andrea H., say you'll be pleased you did: "What your kids get from watching something they planted in the earth grow is well worth the investment."
Kids who garden also develop a deep respect for nature and the environment and a love for "their fruits and vegetables," says Katherine C. Maureen K.'s kids "love watching the strawberries coming up and the blast of flowers." And Kylie H. loves that her children "know where real food comes from and get to watch how it grows."
So how to get started? Get down in the dirt! Most kids love to get their hands dirty, says Andrea, "not to mention . . . worms and digging." Here are nine more ideas from Circle of Moms members for successfully planting and nurturing a garden with your kids.
1. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Your Area
Start by taking your kids to the local farmers market or even just for a walk around the neighborhood to see what gardens look like and the fruits and vegetables they can produce, recommends Maureen K. This will give you a good idea of what grows well in your area. Or "go to your local garden center as they will also [recommend] plants that grow well and you can get a better idea of what you like."
2. Start Seeds Indoors
"It helps to start seeds inside and only plant them outside once they have a good start," recommends Paige K.
3. Plant Peas
"I know it sounds silly but if you plant peas, they not only grow fast, they help to create a nitrogen rich soil for other plants," advises Carley E. "When we started doing this, practically anything we followed the peas with grew vigorously and healthy, plus now we have a back stock of fresh peas all year long." She adds that "rye grass and red clover are also really good things to plant in the Fall to prep your garden's soil for the following spring."
4. Plant in Pots
Pots or a square-foot garden are easy ways to introduce gardening to your kids, says Danielle L. "The easiest way to start is by doing a square foot garden [or by growing] plants in containers. You will have [fewer] weeds and pests, and things grow really well! We started that way last year. I have over 30 plants in pots." Nancy P. agrees, adding that "Fresh-picked, ripe and juicy tomatoes and strawberries are a kid's delight, and easy to do in pots."
5. Grow a Rainbow of Flowers
"Find flower seeds in the colors of the rainbow, then help your child plant them in a rainbow shape," says Katherine. C. "Try to find flowers that are roughly the same size and make sure they are all appropriate for the same season. "
6. Try Herbs
"Herbs are a great way to start small," says Nancy P. "I start herbs inside with seed starter mix or a starter kit. Then I transplant them into larger pots and bring them outdoors in the day and in at night for about a week. Herbs can also be purchased to plant into a garden or pots."
7. Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds
"Create beauty on and above the ground by planting flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds," says Katherine C. Head to your local garden center to get tips on which plants will attract these creatures to your garden.
8. Make It a Year-Round Garden
If you live in a climate where year-round gardening is possible, Liz suggests planting different types of lettuces, Swiss chard, carrots, and garlic, which will produce food throughout the calendar. "It makes it more fun for your kids," she says.
9. Enjoy the Harvest
"The best part of a garden is eating your vegetables and fruits," says Katherine C., who advises moms to get creative with their gardens to inspire their kids to become passionate about them too. Her ideas for making gardening fun for kids include planting ground cherries, which grow "hidden in pods that look like little lanterns," or "a pizza patch garden full of tomatoes, peppers, basil, garlic, and other veggies and herbs that can be baked into homemade pizza."
What are your tips for gardening with your kids?
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