Monday, January 28, 2008

Get Your Children Excited About Gardening

The enthusiasm that children display for flower and vegetable growing is hard to match! Here are a few projects that are fun and easy for children.
Bean Fort
Construct a frame made of chicken wire and wood. Make it large enough for children to hide in. It will become their own special place. Plant pole bean seeds around the perimeter and allow them to grow over the frame. Mystery Garden
Mix together different types of seeds. Plant them in the garden and see what comes up! Identifying the plants teaches children about plant structures and characteristics.
Initial Garden
Let the children spell out their initials or a message with lettuce seeds. Hint: use twine, to mark your letters clearly.
Don't forget that every garden needs a scarecrow. Kids love to build scarecrows using old clothes and a wooden frame.
If space is limited, allow children to grow plants in window boxes or other containers. There are patio tomatoes that grow beautifully in pots. Sunflower plants give a lot of return for a small investment. They are sturdy, fascinatingly tall and product mammoth flowers that can be saved and put outside in winter for the birds. Another fun idea is growing tomatoes, upside down!
Many experiments can be done in the garden. See how plants react to growing in the shade instead of the sun. Try growing a tomato with and another without fertilizer. Which one will get larger? Look for, or house, beneficial garden partners, such as ladybugs, praying mantis, frogs, etc.
If you are particular about the appearance of your vegetable garden, give the children a spot of their own where they can be messy if they want. Let them learn what will happen if they don't plant in a straight row, or if they let the weeds get out of hand.
Enjoy growing together with children. Let them experience the love you have for gardening. It will be a pleasure they'll have with them for the rest of their lives!
Please share your fun gardening tidbits! We would love to hear your stories!

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