Container gardens are super fun for kids. Because of variety in size, shape and what is grown, container gardens are fun and intriguing to little ones.
Container Gardening with kids is also manageable, and even the youngest of children can be in charge of their own container garden.
Getting started is part of the learning process when gardening with kids. Involving your children from the very beginning with soil preparation and the assembling of garden beds helps them connect with the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive and gives ownership over their garden.
Today, Carly, author of Africa to America is going to talk about container gardening. She is a music teacher and mom to two little ones (around my kids ages) that writes about reading, parenting, and adoption. She is the kind of person I wish lived much closer so that we could go out for lunch together.
Container Gardening with Kids
By Carly, Author of Africa to America
While we adore being surrounded by the serene beauty and majesty of Montana, the cool mountain air and occasional spring snowfalls don’t exactly lend themselves to epic gardens.
Our solution? Container gardening. Since the above-ground-level containers keep soil warmer and dryer, planting a variety of vegetables and herbs in containers allows us to plant our garden earlier in the spring and make it last well into the fall.
(Bonus: container gardens are also way easy to maintain!)
Starting Container Gardens with Kids
Last summer, our then 4-year-old claimed a large flower pot as her garden, where she planted thumbelina carrots — a short and squatty, golf-ball sized carrot variety. She loved watering her own pot, weeding it, and harvesting the silly-looking vegetables when the time came. And our normally picky eater ADORED eating the “fruits” of her labor.
You can turn anything into a container for gardening. At our house, we have several raised garden beds, intermixed with whiskey barrels and flower pots. Pop in poles, teepee trellises and cages in your containers to add interest and dimension.
What Can You Grow in a Container Garden?
You can pretty much grow anything in your garden. Here are some of our favorite things we have grown in our containers:
1- Herbs. We set aside one whiskey barrel and a few pots, where we plant massive amounts of parsley, basil, mint, oregano, thyme and lemon balm. Our daughter LOVES helping to cut the herbs back, and we have fun drying them between two window screens and creating our own tea blends.
2-Lettuces. Lettuce is a great vegetable to grow with kids, because it grows QUICKLY. Be sure to plant seeds every 1-2 weeks so you can enjoy leafy greens all summer long. We plant a variety of lettuces in a whiskey barrel — a border of kale leaves with arugula, spinach and chives scattered throughout. We love making batches of kale pesto in the food processor and freezing them, allowing us to enjoy some garden fresh tastes during the winter months.
3. Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes look amazing when draping from hanging baskets.
4. Potatoes. Our daughter loves digging up handfuls of potatoes at the end of the growing season. Plant purple potatoes for a tasty side dish rich in antioxidants.
5. Strawberries. Is there anything better than strawberries from the garden? It was not unusual for our daughter to head out to our raised bed of strawberries first thing in the morning with a bowl in hand — decked out in her pajamas and rain boots — telling us that she was “going to have breakfast”.
Have fun with your container gardening and allow your little one to use his imagination and creativity as he gets his hands dirty.
Let him take ownership of his container and make decisions about what to grow and where to grow it. Whether it’s an old bread box or a bird bath — he can grow his food in it!
You may also enjoy reading about how we used our container garden bounty to serve our neighbors:
Carly Seifert lives in Montana with her husband and two children (ages 5 and 1). She blogs at Africa to America, where she candidly shares her thoughts and experiences about adoption, parenting, and learning and serving with her children.
To read more articles from the Kids in the Garden; Learning and Growing series click here.
Have you tried gardening in containers? We’d love to hear how it went!