Gardening is a great activity to share with kids, and instilling a love of gardening and the world of nature doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. Grab your floppy hats, slather on the sunscreen, and get busy gardening! Kids love to get their hands in the dirt, but they may need a little guidance and a lot of patience Here are five quick and easy tips for busy moms to share the love of gardening with kids.
1. Grow a few food plants. It’s good to start with veggies your kids like, but your little one may be more likely to enjoy eating spinach or other questionable vegetables if he or she grows them with his/her own two hands. Radishes are colorful and pop up quickly, but harvest them early before they become too hot.
2. Depend on fast-growing, low-maintenance plants. For example, sunflowers and pumpkins grow quickly and planting the seeds is easy for small fingers. Both provide loads of seeds in late summer that can easily be roasted for nutritious snacks. (Be sure and leave a couple of sunflowers for songbirds).
3. Grow pollinator gardens. Plant a butterfly or bee garden, then explain how beneficial insects help the garden,and the entire world. Be sure your child understands that bees are friendly insects that don’t sting unless they are threatened. (To avoid stings, be sure your child always wears shoes in the garden.)
4. Walk through the garden with your child. Spend a few minutes in the garden every day, or at least a few times per week.Walk through and point out the progress since your last visit. Your child is likely to notice interesting things that you probably missed!
5. Keep it organic. Never use chemicals, including bug spray, weed killer or chemical fertilizers, which are harmful for the environment and definitely unhealthy for kids. Instead, take advantage of compost and organic material such as straw, bark chips or dry leaves. If you notice aphids or other pests, a gentle solution of dish soap and water will usually do the trick. Pull or hoe weeds when they’re small (and easier to deal with).