If you’ve ever thought about gardening–small scale or large scale–spring is the perfect time to start! Kids love helping in the garden and it’s a great way to teach children where food comes from or to simply gain the satisfaction of growing something themselves.
With these 5 Tips for a Successful Garden with Kids you’ll find out just how easy gardening can be whether you’ve chosen to grow flowers or replant that obligatory elementary school bean sprout.
Kids Activities Blog is really excited to partner with Mantis on this article.
Some reasons why you’ll love gardening with kids:
- life skill that teaches kids self-reliance
- teaches independence and responsibility
- teaches more healthful eating habits
- joy of growing something yourself
5 Gardening Tips for a Successful Garden with Kids
1.) Find out what is your growing season.
One of the first things you want to find out when the proper times to plant are. You don’t want to plant too early and risk having your garden ruined because of frost, and yet you don’t want to start too late and have your plants struggle in the dead heat of summer either.
Another thing to consider is that different plants have different ideal times to plant. For instance, you’d plant potatoes and onions earlier than, say, cantaloupes and tomatoes. You’d plant tulip and daffodil bulbs before you would plant giant sunflowers (which are so fun!).
2.) Decide on what you want to plant.
Along with the first suggestion, you need to decide what you want to plant. If you are a beginner gardener, then stick to easy to grow and time tested crops (crops = anything you grow whether it be produce or flowers).
Also, decide on if you want to plant seeds (or bulbs, tubers, etc) or transplants. Seeds will take longer to grow until harvest, but cost significantly less than transplants. Transplants will give you a jump start on your harvest, but cost more than seeds. Here are some ideas on tried-and-true plants that both you and your kids will love:
- seed potatoes
- beans (pick bush type that don’t need staking)
- squash or pumpkins
- radishes (take only 30 days to harvest!)
- basil (easy to grow, clusters of tiny flower, aromatic)
- and bulb or tuber type flower
3.) Gather your materials and tools.
For most types of gardens you are going to need some basic tools to get you started. Adults will need a pointed shovel, a hand cultivator, a spade, some type of rake, and gloves. Kids will have fun helping you if they have their own set of tools such as a hand spade, a hand cultivator, a kid-size rake, and gloves. You might even consider purchasing a basket to gather your harvest in.
By far, my favorite tool to use in the garden is my Mantis tiller. It weighs just 21 pounds, but tills 10 inches deep even in my hard clay soil! Turn the tines around and it weeds 2-3 inches deep. Talk about saving your back. You can read all about how a Mantis Tiller Creates Strong Roots.
4.) Plan your garden.
Before you even start purchasing seeds and transplants you need to plan your garden. Ask yourself: What kind of garden do I want? Here are your basic options:
- container garden — great for small spaces or apartment balconies
- raised bed garden — better drainage, warms earlier in spring, less weeds
- square garden — great for small yards, less weeds
- in the ground — great if you have ideal or amended soil
5.) Make helping FUN for the kids!
Kids love helping when it’s fun. I make helping in the garden exciting by giving my kids their own set of tools so I don’t have to bug them about using mine. I also let my kids pick their own after school snack once my plants start producing. If you are growing flowers, you can allow your kids to create weekly or twice weekly flower arrangements or bouquets.
As you can see, starting your very own garden is actually quite simple and can be fun when you follow our 5 Tips for a Successful Garden with Kids. Kids love getting their hands dirty and you’ll both enjoy the experience of growing together while gardening.