Friday, May 2, 2008

Gardening with Children

~Seedlings started in yogurt cups.~

So, if you haven't already, it is probably time to start thinking about planting your summer vegetable and flower garden. This is a great activity to include in your homeschool. Not only can gardening be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but it also provides a lot of opportunities for your children to observe nature firsthand.

Here are a few tips for including your children in the gardening process:

  • Give each child their own plot of ground. This could be an area of the family garden or even a good-sized pot on your front porch or deck. Having ownership of their own plants brings a sense of responsibility as well as a sense of accomplishment.
  • Let your child choose what he or she would like to plant in their garden. It can be so much fun to look through a seed catalog, walk the aisles of the nursery, or check out a colorful display of seed packets. Check out this top ten list of crops that are child friendly here so that you can steer your children towards plants that are most likely to be successful.
  • Don't expect your children to be involved in every little part of the gardening process. Depending on the age of the child, you may need to help out behind the scenes.
  • Let your child give garden tours to visiting family and friends.
  • Involve your children in the harvesting and preparing any vegetables for the table or cutting any flowers for decorating around your house.

We always had a vegetable garden in the summer when I was younger. I have a lot of memories of working in the garden with my parents and brothers-- pulling weeds, watering, picking the vegetables. I think my favorite part of gardening as a young child was the harvesting part. I loved picking the monster-sized zunchinni or searching out the green beans on the vine. I think that eating vegetables you have grown yourself also just taste better. I am not sure how it works, but I think it's true. The past few summers, I have mainly grown flowers in my garden box, while my mom and brothers grow the vegetables. Last year in my I grew: zinnias, hollyhocks, cosmos, daisies, violas, and clover. My mom and brothers planted: lettuce, peppers, zuchinni, tomatoes, green beans, pumpkins, various herbs, sunflowers, marigolds, and pansies. Having so many different plants might be ambitious if you are new to gardening.

I hope you are inspired to get out there and garden with your children. I will be posting more in the following weeks about gardening with children as well as updating you on my own gardening adventures.

The theme for next Monday's art show is going to be gardens, so make sure you check back in to see some wonderful artwork focusing on gardens. Have a great weekend.

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