Digging, planting and learning about nature is part of the fun you can have when you embark on a family gardening project. Get the kids interested in gardening with a hands-on project. Five kid-friendly gardening projects can be adapted for a variety of ages, space limitations and budgets.
1. Indoor seedlings. A variety of flower and vegetable plants can be started indoors as seeds. When selecting seeds, choose plants your children will enjoy, such as familiar vegetables or flowers that will bloom in their favorite color. If you plan to transplant the seeds to an outdoor garden or container, select plant seeds that will grow in your area. After the seedlings mature and after the threat of the last frost has passed, transplant them to an outdoor garden.
2. Container gardens. Kid-sized container gardens are a fun first gardening experience for kids of all ages. Flowers, vegetable and herbs can be grown in variety of pots, barrels and containers. When choosing a container, be sure it will be large enough for your plants to avoid overcrowding. If the container is too small, the plant’s roots may become root bound and its growth stunted. Tomatoes are an ideal plant for containers and a good starter plant for kids. Use a cake pan to grow green onions, radishes or beets, suggests the Horticulture Department at Texas A&M University.
3. Theme gardens. Plan a family garden with a theme. Butterfly gardens attract butterflies when you feature plants such as snapdragons, hollyhocks, sunflowers, petunias and purple coneflowers. A sunburst garden may contain flowers in vibrant yellows, oranges and even red. Marigolds are a great choice for a sunburst garden. A pizza garden is another fun theme for families. Plant pizza ingredients such as basil, oregano, green peppers, onions and tomatoes. When it’s time to harvest, plan a family pizza party.
4. Kid-sized garden gear. Get your kids excited about helping in the family garden with garden gear and tools just their size. Lightweight and smaller rakes, hoes and spades are easier for children to use. Hand-held tools such as garden forks and trowels can be purchased in children sizes. Kid garden tools, gloves and other gear can be found in fun colors and even popular kid characters.
5. Keep a garden journal. Help your kids keep a garden journal chronicling your family garden experience. Even young children can keep a garden journal by drawing pictures or using digital photos. A garden journal can list the plants in your garden, who planted what and the care each plant receives. Kids can draw pictures of their favorite flowers or snap a photo of a plate of fresh green beans right after picking. Three-ring binders, notebooks or memory albums can be transformed into a kid’s garden journal.