Welcome to Kids in the Garden; Learning and Growing, a month long series to inspire parents and teachers to garden with their children. In addition to our regular blog posts, we will be featuring gardening articles with tips and advice from some amazing writers, parents, and teachers. This article contains affiliate links.
I am excited to introduce you to our first author of this series,Birute Efe author of Playtivities. Not only is Birute a talented writer, but when you learn that English is her 3rd language, be prepared to be impressed!
Getting Your Garden Started in 3 Steps
1. Our family is very passionate about gardening and sustainable life. Being able to bring healthy, nutritious food to the table from our garden is one of the biggest joys for the whole family. We spent a lot of time researching about how to have a truly healthy garden.
2. We are moving to a big farmland as I write this post so gardening will be our main activity. Lots to learn, teach and have fun with. I can’t wait!
Meanwhile, I would like to share few ideas on how to start gardening with kids.
Step 1. Introduction to seeds. And why our family chooses heirloom seeds.
Whatever gardening you are going do with your children it will most likely start with seeds. And they are important.
I explained to my children about 3 different kinds of seeds: heirloom, hybrid/organic and genetically modified (GMO).
A while back I was shocked to realize that even if you buy a seed or a plant and grow it yourself naturally and without any pesticides it can still be GMO. It all depends on the seed.
We choose heirloom seeds because of the health and sustainability. These self-pollinated seeds are carried from generation to generation without any human interruption. We love the idea that when you plant something from heirloom seed, you can save the seed from the plant and use it next year. You cannot do this with other kinds of seeds, so you have to buy seeds every single year.
How do you get heirloom seeds?
Even if you haven’t saved any seeds from last year you can still have them by ordering from trusted sources like:
- A nonprofit source where you can purchase/exchange heirloom seeds such as Seed Savers Exchange.
- Online Companies such as Annie’s Organic Seeds or Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Or you can still find some heirloom seeds or plants in your local farmers market.
And make a plan to collect your seeds for the next year.
Step 2. Deciding on what to plant.
For our first year gardening project we will pick easy, fast-growing vegetables and greens that kids love to eat. This way, they will be excited to see them grow.
After some discussion, we deiced to pick:
- sweet pees, “because they are so sweet and crunchy”
- tomatoes and cucumbers, “because they are so juicy and runny and we love them in the salads”
- lettuce, “because we eat salad every day”
- sunflower, “because it’s pretty”
- pumpkin, “because it grows so easy and big”
- eggplant, “because there are so many delicious ways to cook it”
- variety of herbs, “because we love the smell of it and we put it every dish”
I can’t wait to grow heirloom corn, beans climbing on the corn and pumpkin/squash underneath them. Like native Americans did.
Step 3. Gathering Gardening Tools and Kid Friendly Garden Labels
As a fun part of it for the kids we decided to make some rock garden markers.The kids painted the rocks in the color of the plant and I wrote the name on each rock. This fun activity definitely got started us on talking more about different vegetables and flowers.
Paint the rocks and allow to dry. Then write the name of the plants on each rock with a paint marker and place next to the plant.
This also connects literacy and gardening!
Gardening with kids should be a fun activity. And what could be more exciting than a cute watering can to water those new plants and flowers while they grow or new colorful gloves to work with in the soil.
Actually, we are getting the cutest Kids Garden Tool Set with few kid size tools and a tote for easy caring.
I truly hope that our family’s gardening plans inspire you at least a little bit to get out there and plant a seed with your children. #plantaseed
I encourage you to start gardening, because, like my good friend says: “Gardening soothes the soul. I swear, if everyone gardened we would have a better planet.”
Birute Efe has daily fun at her kids activities blog Playtivities. She loves creating activities and toys for her 2 kiddos by up-cycling household items, so she will never walk pass by a big cardboard box or a pile of old magazines. She believes the best learning comes from exploring and creating. Connect with her through social media:
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