How do you help your children grow?
..Introduce them to a children’s garden!
Give your kids a garden of their own, and watch as they bloom with the flowers.
A love of gardening is not something that can be taught. It is nurtured and built on over time. When children can explore and connect with the land. A children’s garden is an amazing way for kids to learn, grow and blossom.
When I was small, my dad used part of a neighbour’s garden to grow his vegetables on. He’d finish a busy day at work then head to the vegetable patch to turn over some beds or plant seeds.
My earliest memory of this is watching him prepare beetroot for boiling and pickling.
He’d let me ‘help’ by running over his beds and asking a million questions and he never once got fed up with me.
I soaked in all that information. My mother too loves plants and can grow almost anything. She is the definition of a green thumb.
She would potter around in the garden, dead heading, potting up or weeding.
At the time I didn’t have an interest for the garden, it’s just something my parents did.
But as I grew and watched I started to see the connections between plants, which vegetables need more water while others needed more sun and when I bought my 1st home that had a garden I was ready to make it mine.
It was an overgrown jungle of old fruit trees and weeds. My dad helped me cut back and tame its wildness until it resembled a garden.
Then I fell in LOVE!
All the watching and learning came back to me and I felt such a connection to ‘my land’ and all the ideas I wanted to try with it.
It also brought all those old memories back of my parents happily gardening and singing along to Foster and Allen or Jim Reeves.
These days, I have an allotment for our vegetables and we have a small but wonderful garden to call our own. I have a connection to my parents forever and a thankfulness that they taught me so much and gave me a wonder of what’s all around us.
That’s what I want for my kids. I want them to grow with the knowledge of the world around them. To feel a connection to the Earth, nature, the land and plants as well as the animals and us humans.
In this generation we live in uncertain times. Turning on the TV now is terrifying for so many reasons.
- Over populations
- War and terrorism
- Price hikes everywhere
- Food and water shortages
It’s so dire and who can say what will happen with solutions to other disasters.
I truly believe that the answer to protecting ourselves from some of these disasters and encouraging a love of gardening and the outdoors in our children, starts as early as possible.
So, Where to start making a children’s garden?
You need to pick an area of your garden to give over to your kids.
The shaded unused are behind the bins won’t cut it I’m afraid. If you want your kids to love gardening then you need to plan for success and the bit behind the bins is unloved as it probably wont grow anything. So find an area that;
- Gets plenty of sunlight
- Is of a good size but not expansive. Something like 2 metres by 1 metre is a good size for little ones.it will depend on what they want to grow. Ie pumpkins need a vast amount of space, radishes however need a tiny area to call home.
- somewhere that’s in good condition, not too stoney or full of weeds.
Children’s Gardening Tools
Gardening with tools that are too large and hard to handle is a total put off.
Ok, now before you hand the children’s garden to your kids. You need to put in a little work in to the soil first. Making sure your soil is in good heath is an important step. If everything the kids try to grow dies, they will lose interest very quickly.
Ideally, If you have homemade compost to spare dig some into this area. If not you’ll need to buy a couple of bags of compost to dig in to he soil. This will loosen the soil and add a little nutrients too. Leave the soil to settle overnight and then your ready to plant.
I have found with smaller kids that its easier to give seeds to sow in pots and then let them plant out the larger plants but you can do it either way.
What we did was to give them my seed catalogues. You can order these from most seed and plant suppliers. They chose what they wanted to try to grow in their patch.
CC wanted all flowers and ED decoded to try a mix of veg and flowers. They picked their plants and we had a lovely afternoon working out how many plants we would need, how big they’d get and where to put them.
Plants For Your Children’s Garden
I drew out the children’s garden area on a large sheet of paper. They cut out the pictures of the plants they were going to grow and played around on the paper moving things around to get them in the right area so they had a plan to follow.
We opted for a mixed approach. For most of the smaller seeds we sowed them direct in the ground in patches we market out for each plant. We also sowed some seeds in module trays so we had extra to fill up gaps in rows or to replace eaten ones. Check out this post for more help. A quick guide to seed sowing for beginners
The kids loved being hands on with everything and were so excited when things started to germinate. We spent the time in between looking at how to feed our plants. We made comfrey feed in a giant tub and we started a compost heap. The kids were suddenly obsessed by helping in the garden.
Every leaf that fell or weed that was pulled was sped away to their compost heap.
I even caught Cc gutting some Dahlia and rose flowers off in full bloom just to feed her compost heap.!!
Planting up your garden- The fun bit!!
Once the seeds had shown us their first set of seed leaves, then their first set of real leaves it was time to plant out. It was like watching a mother hen fuss over her chicks. They were so careful and thoughtful about where they put things and how to plant. The asked so many sensible questions it was obvious the’yd already picked a few things up from us and it was heart warming to see.
CC was a bit upset after everything was planted that she didn’t have anything to eat like ED did so I was able to give her a few strawberry pots I had spare and we popped a few pea seeds in around the taller plants. I had sown some of the plants in advance in pots so they had plenty to put in but you could sow the seeds in the ground or buy plants from the garden centre.
Ewan grew fruit and vegetables
Some useful information for you;
CC decided to grow Flowers
- Sunflowers (with peas growing up them)
- Sweet peas
We’ll also add Spring bulbs such as Daffodils, Tulips and Wall-flowers and Primulas at the end of the Summer when we can divide some others.
A scarecrow might be a bit big for the plot but ED wants to try so we came up with a clay pot superman with a cape that flaps to scare birds. So stay tuned for that post!!
So to recap. How to start a children’s garden
- Marked out areas for your children’s garden
- Make sure the soil is full of goodness
- Decide on plants and make a plan
- Mark out the areas for seeds and begin sowing and planting.
So, there you are. A quick run down of how to plant a garden for your kids. Something that will grow and evolve with your children. Like your children, the more love and care you plough into it the more it’ll flourish.
Whats your favourite plant?