Grow a Child’s Garden

Many parents are looking for ways to replace the TV, computer, or video games with outdoor activities for their children. What better way than with giving them their own garden?  When a child has the chance to experience the wonders of nature, it doesn’t take all that much coaxing for them to choose tending their own vegetable garden over sitting in front of a TV or computer. Happily, gardening’s benefits don’t end with fresh air and exercise. Your child might also decide to eat their veggies!  Once they have had their hands in the soil and watched their heirloom seed grow into lush plants, the vegetables they bear may come with a new appreciation.  

A child friendly garden can be as small as one square yard. But nobody says that one “square” yard actually has to square in shape. Let your child choose a shape he or she prefers. It’s a good practice to plan an heirloom garden with vegetables your child already likes, but nothing says you can’t throw in a few “borderline” veggies. After all, watching their garden grow might encourage them to eat its bounty once it arrives on the dinner table.

Choose vegetables with the largest seed if possible. It will make planting easier. Some suggestions are Zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, and beans. They come with the added benefit of being some of the fastest sprouting vegetables. But if you really want to encourage your child with the quickest results, plant radishes. They are the fastest growing vegetable, although their seed are small.

If you will be planting herbs in the garden, your child would probably enjoy some of the more fragrant varieties like parsley and basil. Once the vegetables and herbs have been chosen, you can order them online together.

There’ll be plenty to do while you wait for your heirloom seed to arrive. The garden will need to be prepared, and for fun you can get out paint and markers, so your child can design garden stakes with the name of each vegetable and herb they will be growing. And since no child can resist an art project, why not go second hand shopping for decorative garden ceramics or pots to paint to add character to your child’s garden? Pavers decorated with mosaics or paint is another project your child will enjoy.

You could take a trip to a local nursery and see what you might find to entice hummingbirds to the garden. Not only are they amazing to watch, they are excellent pollinators. You can attract hummingbirds to your child’s garden by hanging a hummingbird feeder or let nature do its thing by planting honeysuckle, sage, fuchsia, jewelweed, fireweed, cardinal flower, bee balm, nasturtium or century plant in the garden. 

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