Prior to having children, you only had to answer to yourself (well sometimes your parents, I suppose). But you were an adult and you did what you wanted to do. So if you wanted to grow a garden, you went ahead and did it! But now, as a parent, you probably have kids that will question your every move. They will ask “how” and “why” maybe 10,000 times a day and sometimes the answers are too hard to explain (or you are just too tired – I get it). But I’m here for you! I’m about to break down gardening with your kids so it’s easy breezy. Growing a garden from start to finish with your kids is a great family bonding experience and will allow everyone to appreciate what is on the dinner table each night a little more.
It Takes a Village
There are lessons to be learned throughout the whole process of growing a garden. The first thing to learn is that sometimes it takes a village for the garden to come to life. Every family member involved plays their own role. There are many jobs to be passed out, so start with these:
Designer: Someone has to figure out the exact place where the garden will grow. Somewhere that has good soil (or will be able to place something to hold the good soil), where sun is most of the time and a place where you can easily get water to for helping the plants grow. The designer could also be the engineer if you need to build a garden box.
Earth Mover: The Earth movers either till up the ground so you are able to plant in nice dirt, or they are the people who move dirt into your garden box area. Dirt is heavy, but it is also great to play in. This could be an “everyone job” and everyone in the family could chip in with moving dirt around.
Seeders: The seeders dig the row for the seeds to be place and bury them deep into the soil. They need to space out the seeds to give the plants enough room to grow, but they also have to be aware of just how big of a space they are working with.
Artist: The artist could make plant markers so you know where you planted your seeds. They could be made out of painted rocks, colored wooden spoons or even sticks with special markings on it. Whatever is chosen, just make sure it can withstand the weather and water.
Water Team: This team has an important job and I believe it should be an everyone duty. The water team makes sure the plants get the right amount of water to help them grow. Not too much or too little. Without water, the seeds won’t spout into yummy fruits and/or vegetables. Everyone needs to communicate who is watering and when so you don’t over water the plants.
Weed Pullers: The weed pullers have to keep the garden area free of unwanted growth. Sometimes grass, flowers or other weeds will want to grow in your garden too so it is best to pull those out so your produce has room to grow.
Produce Picker: This is an awesome job. They get to pick the final result of what you have grown from the plant. They should also bring it in the house and wash it so it is ready to go for lunch or dinner!
Growing a Garden is Not a Race
After your garden is put into the ground, it may take some time for your family to see the first sprout of a plant. Patience is often hard to teach but gardening can be a great example. Use your garden to show how plants live, from seed to plant to produce and seed again. Share these moments with every member of your family, no matter the age, because gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed for years. When you do finally have your produce, of course eat, store or freeze whatever you harvest but remember that your village may like to have some extras too. Share your produce with neighbors or swap with other gardeners. Someone may have something that you like to eat that you didn’t plant or your children may want to try something new (yay!).
Enjoy the Time Together
When you have something that your whole family is involved in, at home, it is wonderful. There are no long car rides or practices. It is just getting down and dirty, in the soil, in your yard. Your kids will cherish the memories they have of your garden and you will enjoy the time you have together. And don’t forget, they may enjoy their home-grown produce more than store bought since they grew it themselves!
Do you garden with your kids? What’s your favorite tip to making it fun and interactive with them?