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Grow Your Green Thumb: Gardening With Your Child

One of the most creative ways you can foster your child’s love of nature and develop a sense of responsibility is by growing a garden together. Spring is the perfect time to take on this challenge. Even if you do not have a spacious backyard or even a backyard at all, you can still create a little garden of your own. Here are some tips to get your garden growing!

 

Research, Research, Research!

Before you get your hands dirty, you’ll want to do your research. You need to take into account climate, sunlight exposure, how large it will be and a bevy of other considerations. Your preliminary research is the most important part in determining how successful your gardening venture will be!

 

Location

Choose an area of your backyard or windowsill that gets plenty of sunshine. This is imperative as it ensures your plants will get all the sunshine they need to thrive. Another consideration is locating the garden in a fenced in area like your backyard (as opposed to the front or side of the house) as to make sure that no little critters can get into your garden.

 

But What to Plant?

Here are a few of the easiest things for you and your child to plant:

Carrots
Carrot seeds can be sown directly into soil and prefer cooler temperatures. They can be slow to sprout, so be patient! Carrots will mature in about 60 days. The soil should be free of rocks and easy for the carrot to grow ‘down’. Keep well-watered and space to every 3″ because crowding will produce foliage but no root. Small varieties are recommended for children, as they’re easier to grow and more fun to eat!

Potatoes
These are often referred to as a ‘never-fail’ crop. You can plant red or white varieties; red will mature faster and children seem to favour them. Cut seed potatoes into chunks with at least 2 ‘eyes’ per chunk. Plant in furrows, about 12-15″ apart, with eyes pointing upward. Mound soil up around plant as it grows; harvest when the plant collapses!

Pumpkins
An absolute must for any child’s garden! Plant seeds in a small hill; poke three holes in the hill and put one seed in each hole. Seeds will sprout in approximately 1 week; after a few days, vine leaves begin to form and creep along the ground. Once there are 3 pumpkins on the vine, pick off any new blossoms. Pumpkins take a whopping 80 – 120 days to harvest and are ready when they feel hard on the outside and sound hollow when tapped. Using shears, let an adult supervise the cutting.

 

Sunflowers
This flower is a delight for both children and parents alike. Plant just one or two, since they take a lot of room. They will sprout in approximately 1 week, become a small seedling in 2 weeks and be 2′ tall in a month. In 8 weeks, the buds will flower revealing hundreds of seed kernels. Make a special note to plant ‘confectionery’ sunflowers, the type that are grown for food. BONUS: the seeds make a fantastic and healthy snack at the end of season!

Cherry Tomatoes
Gotta have ’em! These may be the most fun crop for a child, aside from strawberries. Plant in full sun and use seedlings rather than planting from seed. Put in a 2′ stake alongside each seedling as they need to be tied loosely to stakes as they grow upward. Add lots of compost and water at ground level, trying to keep leaves dry.

 

Snow Peas
A quick-growing early crop, and fun for kids to eat right off the vine. They take about 10 days to start showing signs of life and mature in about 60 days. Peas prefer cooler, partially shaded locations in the garden; they should be sown closely, about 1″ apart at most. Snow peas are popular because the pod is edible and since they are a dwarf plant they can be grown without a trellis.

 

 

Preparation

Now that you’ve determined what you want to plant you just need the tools!

  • Gardening Gloves
  • Rubber Boots
  • Garden Spade
  • Watering Can
  • Mini-Rake
  • Hat
  • Tool Kit for Storing Gardening Tools

 

After taking all of these things into consideration, you’re ready to get started! To learn more tips and tricks for creating the perfect garden with your child, click here. If you’re looking to help your child grow and flourish into their best self, learn more about the Childventures advantage today!

 

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