How to Get Kids Interested in Gardening
By Ricardo Elisario
If like me, you’re no stranger to the old saying, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”, then you’ll probably agree that a child’s upbringing will surely influence their perspective of the world and what, later on, they might decide to pursue as a hobby or even a full-time career.
Admiring gardening for what it is – an activity as primal as it gets – and appreciating this green bond that we adults sometimes feel towards the earth and its ripest products, then it sure isn’t such a bad idea to pass on this connection to our kids. Here’s how you can foster a good mood among the children once you decide to bring them out for an afternoon in the garden.
Keep it true, exciting and as wild as possible
From the tiniest of seeds can easily grow a large tree, and it’s by following this principle that you’ll best lead your kids to that vibrant plot of land on the backyard. Plants many times shelter much more than what the eye perceives and few kids are not amazed at the wonderful flavor of fruits they can easily pick themselves, like raspberries and blueberries.
Create an inviting little garden patch
Perhaps the most important step is making a garden in a little section of the yard. It should be tiny enough so it’s as cute as possible to the eyes of young gardeners, for despite their young innocence, they appreciate work about as much as we do. So you should try to keep the size to a manageable yet productive minimum, lest your young gardeners leave you alone talking to the plants.
You don’t need to tweak too much or wall it all that well – just assign them a nicely delimited piece of land, under the promise of non-interference from your part – a fundamental section of every contract made with our youthful labourers – and, simultaneously, almost full-time guidance. You should be more like company than a watchful parent, which will do them as much good as it’ll do you, which is after all the best thing there is to gardening with the little ones.
Carefully select the plants you grow
For a young gardener’s passion to flourish, there’s one other element that cannot fail to show up and those are the vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers you and your apprentice gardeners plant and tend. Choose plants that are well adapted to your climate and are low-maintenance species, because kids will hate to be reminded that they’re neglecting the garden a bit too much when faced with a “greenery” that requires too much work to maintain.
Invest in some new garden tools
Rusty tools can be the synonym of a rusty gardener. But of course your hoe might be corroded not because you’re lazy but as a result of the years and the weather. But if there’s something less encouraging to any young gardener who has all the urge to get their hands dirty, that would be the old metal blades of your shovel, hoe or trowel that are dull, worn out and layered with rust.
Do not buy new garden tools just because they look good. What a gardener should cherish most is usefulness. Get it done with the bare essentials and teach your children not only how to use those tools but also the right ways to keep them operating smoothly. It’s a lesson on neatness and money management – two very important exercises that every child needs to be educated about.
Feed those kitchen scraps to the garden
You’re probably familiar with how potato and carrot peels, as well as the daily and famous coffee grounds, can be well incorporated in the compost many of us produce for our plants. Apart from the ingredients just mentioned most food scraps from your kitchen (with the exception of meat and fat) you’re free to collect and transform into fertilizer.
Whenever you’re in possession of fresh scraps, throw them into a rough bucket kept outdoors – unless your desire is to breed a family of little flies and larvae right inside your kitchen – and then, by the end of each week, add it to your compost pile. In time, peels, pits and shaggy vegetable leaves will convert into the rich, moist humus your garden thrives on.
Explain the importance of maintaining green spaces
In an age that sees lush areas of trees, brush, and grass replaced with buildings and roads, clean air and gardens pleasant to the eye are sometimes a bit hard to come by. A living garden will be rich in greens as well as beneficial insects, birds and maybe even your pets, when they get curious about what you’re doing.
Children need the natural environment even more than we do, and so it’s in our best interest to hand them the tools and foment in them the ideas and concepts that may lead to an Earth that’s healthier and greener than the one we have now.
Author’s Bio: Ricardo Elisario is a freelance writer who loves to write about home an garden.
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