Starting gardening with children can seem daunting. There are so many options for things to grow, fruit, vegetables, flowers and shrubs. Perhaps you are keen to start gardening with your children but have never done much gardening yourself. Knowing when to start growing, what and how can seem a little overwhelming. I haven’t done all that much gardening, as I explained in my post creating a family garden, I explained how the majority of our garden is lawn. I’m keen to teach my children about growing fruit and vegetables, I’d also love to grow lots of flowers and encourage wildlife into our garden but with a young family, part-time job and this blog, I’m building up slowly.
Last week I took my eldest who is almost 5 to the garden centre to choose some seeds to grow together. We chose some simple to grow vegetables, sunflowers and some herbs. Once home she helped me to plant up a container with the herbs (we chose rosemary, thyme and oregano as these are ones I use most in my cooking). We also planted some seeds in a propagator which is sat on our kitchen windowsill. We picked up some potatoes too which is a bit more of a gamble. They were reduced to just £1 because it is now time to start planting them but they need chitting first. I decided it was worth the risk so they are in our kitchen window again waiting for the shoots to grow.
I will, of course, keep you updated about how all our plants are doing this summer but until then I’ve included my top tips for getting started gardening with children and listed 9 easy to grow plants for kids.
How to get started gardening with children
- Buy them some mini tools – you can pick up a child’s garden set cheaply in your local garden centre or even with your weekly shop. Mini tools will be easy for your child to use and help them feel independent.
- Take them shopping to help choose what to grow – Children love to feel involved in choosing what to grow. It starts getting them excited from the very beginning of the process.
- Make some plant markers – I love these DIY wooden spoon vegetable markers that your children can make. Markers will help you remember what you’ve planted where.
- Start growing from seed indoors – Some plants need starting off inside. Always read the back of the packet to see what you should start off indoors. For us, we have started basil, tomatoes and courgettes indoors.
- Transplant the seedlings outdoors or sow direct – once your seedlings are ready to plant outside following the advice on the packet
- Water and care for your plants – my kids love using mini watering cans to water the plants.
- Harvest and enjoy eating all your edible plants – is there anything better than eating homegrown produce? Who knows you may even get a fussy eater to try something new.
9 Easy to grow plants
- Herbs – not only easy to grow but they are a great sensory plant.
- Strawberries – we grew some in hanging baskets and my toddler loved picking them and eating them in the garden.
- Carrot – My kids love eating carrots, they can also be sown directly outside which is a bonus.
- Tomatoes – These can be grown in grow bags or even hanging baskets.
- Salad leaves – Salad leaves can be grown in just a few short weeks. This is perfect for young children who aren’t known for their patience. I have even grown pea shoots from dried peas bought in the supermarket.
- Potatoes – simple to grow and can be grown in containers.
- Sunflowers – who can grow the tallest sunflower? and just how tall will it be?
- Beetroot – another plant that can be sown directly outside.
- Cress – really quick to grow and can be grown on a windowsill.
There are so many options to build on this experience. Perhaps you could start making compost? encourage birds into your garden? or insects? start a garden journal and help your child watch and learn about the plants as they grow.
Here are a couple of articles that you might find useful:
Gardening with kids – from CBeebies
How to get kids gardening from The Guardian is packed full of expert tips.
Getting children interested in gardening from Royal Horticultural society.
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