gardening with kids of all ages
Anyone that knows me well, knows I’m very passionate about my garden! We don’t have huge amounts of money to spend on making a fancy one, but every year we grown lots of vegetables and fruit from seed and its a process my children are very much involved with.
Personally, I think there are a number of benefits of gardening for children, but especially children with many food allergies like my own. My middle child has so may dietary restrictions, I’ve been worried that she wouldn’t even be able to recognise most of the common fruit and vegetables. So I’ve made a special effort to involve her in the growing of foods she can’t have so she feels included but actually learns about what makes up the food groups as well. It also means she can visually recognise foods that she knows aren’t ok for her, and is able to speak up if necessary.
I also think gardening is an awesome activity for children of all ages. I have three children, currently aged 10, 5 and just turned 3. They all participate to the best of their ability (and sometimes motivation).
Miss 3 digs soil, plants seeds, waters the garden and ‘helps’ weed the garden. She absolutely loves helping harvest everything…although I suggest you place a firm hand just above where they are picking at this stage if you don’t want them picking out entire pea plants!
Miss 5 plants seeds, waters, digs and plants seedlings and loves soaking the plants in seaweed tonic. She loves writing the labels for the seedlings too. She also writes shopping lists for seeds and gardening supplies.
Miss 10 has planned out a large vegetable plot this year. This involved researching which plants grow together well, plants to avoid, and companion planting. She then helped dig over the entire garden which was a huge job! Then she researched how to make a trellis for peas and beans from bamboo and we put it up together. She also collected a whole heap of rocks and made a rock garden for her strawberry bed. She also did some research about pollination and made a flower bed to encourage bees and butterflies to her vege garden.
Plants that work well with small children (i.e. are ridiculously easy to grow!):
Berries (our raspberries literally grown like weeds..they pop up in places I don’t want but I just dig them out and put them in the raspberry plot…which now has about 200-300 plants.
- I have been adding fertiliser this year: such as Thrive and also soaking the seedlings in seaweed tonic..but other years I have done nothing except put them in a pile of dirt with compost, and they’ve worked just fine 🙂
We grow cauliflower and broccoli over the Winter which gives a big Spring crop just before the zucchinis are ready to eat. We have a terrible time with insects so we don’t bother over the Summer.
Two of my daughters absolutely love Globe Artichokes dipped in melted dairy free margarine. I planted 3 plants about 8 years ago..and they just grow back every single year. AMAZING! This year we’ve had about 20 artichokes.
I planted a pile of fruit trees about 10 years ago, which is really paying off now. Two of the girls are allergic to tomato so these plums get turned into plum sauce for use year round. They use this sauce for dipping sausages and chips etc in.
Weirdly, I also managed to grow a bunch of kiwifruit vines without ever planting them….last year they made quite a few kiwifruit which just ripened up before the frosts arrived. I was ridiculously excited and this year they are just covered in flowers so I’m hoping for a repeat!
We are just coming to the end of Spring now, and we have packed our place full of vegetable seedlings, so fingers crossed it all works out and we have an abundance of fruit and vegetables this Summer! But don’t stress if you haven’t quite got to this stage, there are lots of seedlings at the garden stores and it’s not too late to plant them 🙂