Small hands love gardens in a big way

Take small hands, soil, sun, water and you have big smiles. 89299136

Children are wonderful gardeners. They are observant, intense and their memories are flawless. Unlike myself, who cannot remember where I read that “Gardens grow children.” Children are gifted with the curiosity of youth.

Growing a garden together can be a true reminder of the awesome world we live in. What to grow and how to grow your garden is part of the fun. I have fond memories of growing marigolds from seed to give my Mom on Mother’s Day in school. Oh, what excitement and wonder as we watched it grow.

It doesn’t matter whether you start by growing your plants in a container or a little plot of soil. It is the experience that matters.

I have always had the blessing of living on a small farm and was given a small part of the grownups’ garden to tend – it makes me think of the children’s table at holiday time.

87668079Cultivate the children’s garden right along the grownups’. Purchasing your children their own tools makes the experience easier for them. (Stay away from the toy sets; they will only break and cause frustration.)

In the beginning I have always started with vegetables the children like and those that are easy to grow and fun to pick.

Here are some of my favorites:87544957
Cherry tomatoes – you know, the small ones that are used in salads or on vegetable trays.
Cucumbers -  you can get bush variety. This means they grow like a little bush instead of having far reaching vines that easily may take over your garden. Do you like to eat fresh cucumbers during the summer? Or do you like pickles? You can plant both types.
Bush beans -  varieties such as Tenderette are a wonderful children’s bean – they are easy to grow and easy to pick.
Snow Peas – the fence or trellis that you have placed for your tomato mates is great for multiple use to supply your snow pea plants a place to hold on to. They are also a lot of fun to grow upside down.

Don’t forget the flowers:
Giant sunflowers are a must – they provide fun and food.
Marigolds – these little flowers come in a wild variety of shapes and sizes, plus ward off bad bugs.

Gardening with children may take patience, understanding and some behind-the-scenes help, but it is well worth it.

Editor’s Note: This is a re-post of an article that first appeared May 13, 2010.

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.

3 thoughts on “Small hands love gardens in a big way

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  2. Great post! I love your idea of having child-sized tools for your child. Gardening (especially with child-sized tools) fits in so well with Maria Montessori’s ideas on valuable outdoor activities for children.

  3. Pingback: Family Garden Planning | Lehman's Country Life