Gardening with Children

Gardening with children is another wonderful way to spend some quality time with your grandchildren. I have clear memories of "helping" my Canadian grandmother to tend her Victory Garden during the war. We children were allowed to pull up the carrots for supper and were rewarded with a scrunchy new carrot, straight from the earth to eat. (Well a quick rinse under the tap first!)

Another favorite memory is sitting beside GanGan on the porch steps, shelling the peas that we had just picked. She loved to garden and her flower beds were fragrant and beautiful.

Back in England with my parents after the war, we lived in the top flat in a big old house. Alas, no more gardening, but there was a lovely "green" at the back where kids could play, and big spreading trees to climb...

Since those days I have never been a great gardener, more of a "putterer" but even so the grandkids can have fun in the garden. Give a boy a hose and you can be sure that more than the plants will be soaked! Just recently, after an extremely late first cut of the lawn (who knows where Spring went this year!) there was a lot of raking to do. My surprised grandson who had never seen a rake before, was handed one, and the two of us went to work. It is wonderful how much faster a task like that goes with someone to share it with you. He did a good job and I think, felt quite proud of himself.

Who doesn't love Summer? The stores are full of fresh fruits and vegetables. But why buy? You can grow your own, to save money and enjoy the fresh flavor of food straight out of your own garden.

Did you know that gardening is a perfect family activity? Little boys especially love to get dirty, and it is fun for other family members too.

First you will need to decide what kind of garden to plant. The vegetable garden is a good choice for summer because you will be able to enjoy the fruits....or vegetables of your labour. Other choices would be a flower or herb garden.

Do you know what you would like to plant? The kind of vegetables you choose to grow may be determined by the size of your garden. However it is amazing how many vegetables you can grow in a small space, with a bit of planning. Herbs, of course, take up much less room than most vegetables and flowers can be grown in a small bed or in containers.

Placement of your garden is another consideration. Veggies need full sun for most of the day. Some herbs need more shade than others, and flowers have their own preferences.
Hint: when you buy your plants at a nursery, note whether they are sitting in the shade or in a sunny spot. That will tell your where they prefer to grow.

Let each of your grandchildren each choose a plant for the garden. They will be responsible for planting it and caring for it. They can decide who gets to eat it. The rest of the garden, except for those special plants will be for everyone to pitch in and care for. Give each grandchild a job to do. Taking care of the garden includes planting, weeding, watering and picking. Younger children will need to be shown which are the "good" plants and which are the weeds.

Have tools that even the smallest family member can use to help in the garden. Of course, if they’re very young, those tools may have to be plastic, but there’s a lot that can be done with them. When the garden produce starts to come in, make sure everyone is there to lend a hand. These tips for planting a family garden are by no means exhaustive. They are however, the basics you'll need to know, in order to include the whole family in the joys of gardening.

Guest Product Reviews

Product Name: Deluxe Children’s Gardening Tool Set
Rating: 7
Where to Buy: Kids Gardening Tools

Description: This child’s gardening tool set comes with one handle and three interchangeable heads. Included in the set is a rake, a shovel and a fruit picker.

Review: Most of my time is spent in my garden. My children like to be out there with me but I’m always afraid they will get hurt on the garden tools. I wanted them to be able to spend time with Mom, help in the garden if they wanted to and still be safe. I found this little garden tool set. It has worked great with my children. Although I wish each tool had it's own handle so both the kids could play at the same time. They still have a lot of fun with it and have decided to start their own garden next year. The different tool heads are interchangeable. The kids have a great time with the shovel. I find small holes dug all over the yard. The rake is great too. The only thing is they haven’t really gotten down pat the fact that once they dig the hole they can use the rake to put the dirt back. I usually find it in the grass along the way. I don’t think they have ever used the fruit picker. At least not to pick fruit with. It’s cute though and the kids have used it to catch the little golf balls and other items they find to throw back and forth. This little garden set is a lot of fun for my children. It’s not used much in the garden, but they still find ways of entertaining themselves with it for hours. That’s enough for me because an entertained child is a happy child.

Product Name: 365 Outdoor Activities You Can Do With Your Child
Rating: 8
Where to Buy: 365 Outdoor Activities

Description: A guide to finding outdoor activities to do with your child the whole year long.

Review: I have such a hard battle with my children about going outside to play. They don’t want to or they have their nose stuck in a TV program or a video game. This book is what I’m going to use to get my children to go outside. I am a firm believe that my children will follow me if I show them it can be fun and interesting. This book gave me many ideas and resources to get outside. I use a lot of these ideas and just go out and do them. The kids do seem to follow if for no other reason than the fact they are nosey and want to see what Mom’s up to. It works - they come out and before you know it we are doing something. There’s an idea for every time of the year. Summer, spring, winter and fall. It’s a non stop whirl wind of outdoor activities that we can have fun doing. If you’re having troubles getting your kids outside set an example. Buy this book, take a chance and see if they don’t follow your lead. It worked with my kids and they are the most stubborn children I know.

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