A Person may have different passions, one of which is gardening which is about finding the right combination of sunlight, fertile soil, and water to make your plants thrive.
Technically, gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. In gardens, ornamental plants are often grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants, such as root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs, are grown for consumption, for use as dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use.
Gardening ranges in scale from fruit orchards, to long boulevard plantings with one or more different types of shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants, to residential back gardens including lawns and foundation plantings, all the way to container gardens grown inside or outside. Gardening may be very specialized, with only one type of plant grown, or involve a variety of plants in mixed plantings. It involves an active participation in the growing of plants, and tends to be labor-intensive, which differentiates it from farming or forestry.
Gardening with your kids
Gardening with children can be a great way to teach them how plants grow, and how to live a more sustainable life.
If you are a parent who’s passionate with gardening, you might have thought about sharing your hobby with your children.
Gardening is an excellent activity for kids. It has sensory aspects, gets them outside in the dirt, and can teach them life lessons and some important science.
But that’s not all it does. Gardening with your children can also boost their immune system, and teach them at an early age how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. There are many benefits, and few drawbacks, other than the work required.
Tips for Starting a Garden With Your Kids
The first tip is to get children interested in gardening and when they are into it additional tips are listed below:
- Keep it simple.
- Give children their own garden space. (This does not have to be big. You can start with a large container or a few pots.)
- Involve older children in the planning and design of the garden.
- Use lightweight, easy-to-handle, correct-sized tools and garden equipment.
- Encourage children to dig in the dirt. (Younger children love making mud pies)
- Grow interesting plants such as sunflowers, corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and strawberries.
- Use a trellis or teepee to grow beans or sweet peas.
- Plant flowers that attract butterflies, ladybirds and other interesting insects or birds.
- Make a scarecrow.
- Install a water feature, a birdbath or a sundial.
- Set up a worm farm.
- Visit community gardens, children’s farms or botanic gardens for ideas.
To make the garden safe for children tips are listed below:
- Select the correct-sized tool.
- Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach.
- Do not use chemicals. Garden organically whenever possible.
- Provide safe storage for equipment and tools.
- Secure fences and gates.
- Provide shade in summer with umbrellas or shade cloth.
- Make sure that where it’s appropriate, children wear a hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing and gumboots.
- Do not leave buckets of water unattended around very young children and toddlers.
Activities for a child in the garden
Choose activities that suit the child’s age. Suggestions include:
- Watering the garden
- Picking flowers
- Planting vegetables, fruits and flowers in the correct season
- Feeding the worms and using the ‘worm tea’ from the worm farm as fertilizer
- Picking vegetables and fruits when they are ready to eat
- Preparing healthy food, such as making salads and preparing school lunches
- Craft activities using harvested seeds, plants and flowers
- Composting, recycling and mulching
- Gathering seeds and dried flowers
- Deadheading flowers
- Preparing the soil with organic fertilizer
Benefits that gardening has for children
1. Improves Mood and Reduces Stress
Spending time outdoors is vital for improving or maintaining positive mental health. Research has shown that by undertaking simple gardening activities, people can reduce their stress levels, and improve their mood and self-esteem.
2. Gardening is a Form of Exercise
Studies have found that the average child only spends 16 minutes per day outside, and less than 25% of kids meet the recommended daily level of physical activity. Digging and playing in the garden promotes increased levels of exercise, and helps kids use their imagination and creativity.
3. Get Closer to Nature
Children will love planting flowers which attract bees and butterflies into the garden space. Try planting sunflowers, lavender, buddleia and roses to attract pollinators into your garden.
4. They gain responsibility, patience and awareness about the importance of the environment
By being active in the garden, children will quickly learn that they have to be patient and responsible and wait until the seed germinates so that their plant can grow and yield its first fruits. They will learn that it is necessary to water them regularly, to clean them from weeds and to dig around them, that plants need enough sunlight, and to wait until a seed turns into a plant. They will quickly learn why it is important to care for the environment. That is an opportunity to learn about vermin, pesticides, pollution and recycling.
5. Encourages Healthy Eating
You don’t just have to plant flowers in your garden, why not try planting fruit or vegetables instead! By planting seeds or plants, you will teach your child how food is grown and the lifecycle of a plant. I have recently planted some strawberry plants with my son in my garden and he has loved helping me water his plants, once the fruit has grown, we will love eating the strawberries together and it has been a lovely bonding activity.
6. Encourages Sensory Development
Gardening will stimulate all five senses, children will feel different textures in the soil, seeds and plants, they will be able to smell the flowers, hear the bees and birds, see the different colours of the plants and taste any vegetables, herbs or fruits you grow together. Ask your child questions to consolidate their learning such as what colour is this flower? What does the leaf feel like? What does the strawberry taste like?
7. Children learn about natural processes through play
From the moment they sow the first seed, with immeasurable curiosity, they will follow the growth and flowering of plants, the formation and ripening of fruit. They will have countless questions, and will therefore learn about natural processes. They will learn about the importance of insects and worms for plants and will understand that everything in nature is connected. Comparing the growth of plants and the size of the fruit, counting seeds, fruits, or petals of flowers are interesting games for children and recognizing plants by appearance and name is an excellent memory game.
8. Allows You to Spend Quality Time Together
Life can be very hectic sometimes, with work, the school run and the never ending to do list to get through at home. Gardening allows you to take a step back and enjoy some mindful activity away from distractions; the perfect way to connect with your child and enjoy the simple things in life.
9. Reducing kids time using technology
Technology is something so habitual in today’s society that it’s easy to forget how many hours kids spend on their devices. Gardening helps to break up these habits.
When kids are tending to the garden more regularly or creating new projects, it can end up feeling more natural to spend time on healthy habits like this, rather than scrolling through your phone.
10. Its Fun
With the cost-of-living crisis being all too real for many families, gardening is an inexpensive way of having fun. You don’t need expensive tools or plants to make a beautiful garden, just some pots, soil and some seeds, which in time, can blossom into a charming outdoor space and provide hours of fun along the way.