Children, food and gardens

Start planning now to get gardening with children!!!

Do you need an excuse to visit a local greenhouse? Find a child to garden with, take him or her by the hand, and start planning!  

Now is a good time to plant the love of gardening in the heart of a child. How do we do that? There and lots of fun activities. For example, include your young gardening buddy in a  "field trip" to the grocery store. Or enjoy cookies, milk and the "eye candy" of seed catalogs to help with planning for gardening with children.

 Visit the produce aisle of the grocery store to learn about what is possible to grow here. How do we get the exotic plants? Why can't we grow bananas and pineapples here? Think about what vegetables you like to eat and will want to grow.  Is there a new vegetable you would like to taste for the first time? How about a white radish, a yellow skinned cucumber or purple beans? Why not grow some of these yourself?  

Daydream your way through seed catalogs to see what might be of interest to you and the child you are inviting into your garden. Read about the plants. Some are ready to eat in 30 days! Can you plan to grow a salad? A garden that will attract butterflies? How about growing plants to feed the caterpillars that will become butterflies? How about some sunflowers whose seeds will feed the birds in the fall?

 Plan an excursion to a local greenhouse and learn how they have everything you will need organized into sections for easy shopping . There are special tools that are big for the adults and special hand tools - although some say those should be called "hands and knees" tools. And look at all the special plant food...and medicine. And the plants themselves are organized into sections - annual flowers, perennials, shrubs, trees, vegetables, special plants for ponds and pools. There is so much to see...and smell!

 Visit the local farmer's market to see what they are growing and offering for sale.  Ask a friend or neighbor who already gardens for information and guidance. Sometimes you can even sample the fruits or vegetables.

What Will You Grow?
The gardening possibilities are endless.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

*Grow mini vegetables
*Grow giant vegetables
*No outside area for gardening? Then consider house plants or containers on a deck or balcony
*A garden for butterflies
*A garden for the birds
*A soup garden--grow the vegetables you like to eat in soup
*A pizza garden--grow tomatoes, basil, oregano, onions, peppers   
*A salsa garden---you get the idea
*An ABC garden---plant one plant for each letter of the alphabet--this can be a challenge!
*A salad bowl garden---how many different lettuces will you grow?
*A five senses garden--Welcome to the world of herbs

Can you find them below?  1. Sugar Snap Peas    2. Lettuce     3.  Radishes     4.  Carrots     5.  Potatoes 
6.  Green Beans  7.  Cherry Tomatoes     8.  Pumpkins     9.  Sunflowers     10.  Broccoli





Take time to gather seed packets. Tools that are easy for children to use (a large spoon and a small, hand-held cultivator are all you really need); gloves that fit little hands; small, light weight watering can; and any other equipment that may be needed.  Decide where your garden plot will be.  Will the child you are gardening with have their own space or will they share your garden space?  What shape will your garden space be; round, square, triangle, butterfly shaped?  Draw a map of your garden and indicate what will grow where.  Have fun!   
KEEP IT REAL!  Follow the child’s interests

  Age appropriate Gardening

  Let the child do it!  Ownership will come by being actively engaged!

 Gardening with Children - Get Growing in the Spring - is the first of a series
 in Gardening throughout the year with Children, developed by Master Gardener Mary Hrecher.     


Miss Gardening? Grow Green Beans Indoors This Winter


Read now


For gardeners who just can’t stand to keep their hands out of the soil for any length of time, growing food indoors in containers can be a great pastime during the winter months.


Green beans are a relatively quick-growing vegetable that can be grown inside your home and also look quite beautiful, as well.


Plants that you are growing indoors can be started any time of the year, but you still need to remember that they have certain environmental requirements. Green beans need plenty of light, so you will need to place them in a part of your home where they can get a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day. Alternatively, grow lights can work if you do not have a window that gets enough sun.