Planning Your Child’s Garden – The 5 Elements To Consider
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Is there anything more fun for a kid than digging in the dirt without getting scolded? I think that’s what gardening with kids is really all about – getting up to your elbows in dirt and grime.
Most kids are born gardeners. After all, look at the time and great care they take to develop imaginary cities, roads, and castles in their sandbox. It doesn’t take a lot of coaxing to get a child to turn that planning, digging, and cultivating into a garden.
Gardening requires only a few simple elements no matter what your child’s age is – location, sun, water, soil, and seeds or plants. To get started, we’ll take a look at the 5 elements and how to make choices that will get a nice little garden started that your child will be proud of.
1) Location – This is important for several reasons. Of course, you want a location that is suitable for your child’s age. For very young children, you may want to consider a container garden that you can keep on a patio instead of a spot of ground away from the house. The location will also depend on the next couple elements.
2) Sun – Most plants will require a lot of sunshine to make them grow. You and your child will want to keep track of the sunshine that falls on the chosen garden patch to be sure that it will get plenty of light. In some climates, however, the amount of sunshine may be too intense. In that case, you must also consider shade.
3) Water – Your child’s garden will require watering. You can’t rely on rainfall to do the job. When choosing the location of the garden, you’ll want to keep watering in mind. Make the task simple by locating your garden near hoses and sprinklers.
4) Soil – The dirt found in the location you’ve chosen is important, but not crucial if you’re willing to buy garden soil. If you’re lucky enough to dig up the sod and find nice rich soil, then a little cultivation and some serious sifting out of rocks, sticks, roots, and debris will yield a nice base for your seedlings. Gardening in containers may be preferable if the soil and drainage is just not suitable for growing.
5) Seeds and Plants – What vegetable and/or flower should your child plant? Depending on the age of the child, you will want to plant something that is fast growing and hearty. A simple selection of tomato, radishes, onion, and lettuce might keep your little one interested. Mix in some marigolds for color and you’ve got a good start on an entertaining and delicious garden. The area you have and your particular growing season will determine what your child will be able to choose.
Once all these elements have been discussed and decided, it’s time to plant! Well, maybe not yet. Don’t forget to check the planting times where you are. There may be a surprise frost coming so beware, but get ready!
For lots of fun gardening information especially for kids, The University of Illinois Extension has a great website. The illustrations are colorful and the instructions are simple and straight forward. Check their website out by clicking here. Then start planning a garden that will be fun for your kids – and you!
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