Spring has arrived! Are you ready to start growing delicious food, beautiful flowers and fond memories in your garden? Having a garden is a great way to spend quality time with your kids. If you don’t have a garden yet now is the perfect time to start! If you don’t have the yard for a traditional garden you can have a garden right on your porch in large pots, or in a window box or even on the roof of your apartment building in the city! All you need is a little dirt, water, sunlight and your twins and then let the memories begin!
A garden can teach children so many valuable lessons. They will learn to respect plants and the earth. They will learn responsibility by watering their plants to keep them alive. It will build appreciation for where our food comes from and it will build your relationship with them as you spend time together. It is also good exercise and getting dirty is an important part of being a kid!
Get your kids involved right from the beginning. When you go to buy seeds let them help pick out which ones to plant. Shana R. shares “My boys and I just planted our first item, strawberries; we started them in an egg carton.” Many seeds can likewise be started indoors in small containers. This gives your kids opportunity to watch them closely as they grow from a seed to a plant. To fully watch a plant germinate try this neat project: generously wet some paper towel and put it in a clear cup, place a bean between the cup and the paper towel so that you can see it from the outside. Make sure to keep the paper towel moist and watch the bean germinate!
Do you feel your kids are too young to help in the garden? Tami D. started gardening with her twins around 2 years of age and expressed “It is never too early to start. Just give them a sand shovel and they are happy helping you dig… They are 8 now and not only RESPECT plants and flowers, they are very smart about them. They take responsibility for watering their flowers, and fruit. They LOVE it and so do I! You’d be surprised how much responsibility they take for their own plants!”
“Let [kids] share in the excitement of growing stuff!” says Bronwyn R., mother of twin toddlers. Remembering their garden from last year she said, “Every morning, my kids were eating grape tomatoes, beans, and peas right off the vine. You’ve never seen kids so excited to eat vegetables, they got so excited to “pick” one. They also watched patiently as our watermelon grew and grew and they got to bring it in to eat it. It makes them very proud that “they” grew it. This year, they can’t wait to get gardening again!” Maybe this is the way to get our kids to eat their veggies after all! Wishful thinking? Hey I am willing to give it a try!
Are you still intimidated? One of the easiest and smallest gardens to grow is an herb garden. This can be grown in small pots in a sunny window in your home or apartment. Try growing these interesting herbs to keep your kids engaged. Chives- this herb blossoms into fun, fluffy purple balls. Chocolate mint- taste and smell yummy. Try eating the leaves with strawberries for a yummy snack. Pineapple Sage- the leaves and flowers of this herb is good in jams and salads. The sweet fragrance will not only draw attention from you kids but if sitting outdoors will attract butterflies and humming birds as well.
If you still don’t want to tackle a garden but want to create fond memories with you kids, there are many farms that will let you come pick produce such as apples, strawberries, and blueberries. Check with your local farmers market to find a garden or orchard in your area. Then plan a field trip with your kids for a fun filled afternoon in the garden.