Kids Gardening

Teaching your kids the joy of gardening

kids-gardeningLong before I read this article on the benefits of teaching kids how to garden (Read it Here), my husband had made it a weekend ritual to involve our kids in picking weeds, pruning and planting. By age 4 Mallory could identify a wide variety of plants and flowers as we’d stroll through the nursery of our local Home Depot.

Both kids have always loved checking on our vegetable patch to see what’s ready to be harvested. Best of all, they are eager to sample what they have helped grow from cucumbers, to zucchini, to red peppers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, lemons, limes, avocados and strawberries.

Sounds like we live on a farm, doesn’t it? But we live in La Mesa in a house with a very small yard. Yet year after year we are able to produce an abundant garden thanks to my husband’s green thumb and the help of elementary-aged children.

Gardening with kids has been a great way to introduce ours to fresh fruits and veggies, to get them outside enjoying our beautiful weather, to teach them to work as a team to accomplish a goal, to appreciate nature, to understand not everything goes according to plan (we have had quite a few gardening flops!) and, my favorite, to share special time with their dad.

I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for my husband, much of this hands-on fun wouldn’t happen. My style of introducing the science of nature to my kids involves visiting the San Diego Botanic Garden, City Nursery and the Cuyamaca Water Conservation Garden. I also love to buy mail-order kits like The Enchanted Fairy Garden, Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden, and Lady Bug Land. With each of these kits you start with seeds or eggs or larvae, and before you know it something beautiful has grown. These kits have been so fun and easy to use that we are going to do them all over again this spring.

Gage was a toddler when he started working in the garden. (Mal, Gage & Greg planting)

Gage was a toddler when he started working in the garden. (Mal, Gage & Greg planting)

Mallory loved the experience of “growing” butterflies with our Insect Lore kit.  We set the painted ladies free in our backyard, and they occasionally come back to visit us.

Mallory loved the experience of “growing” butterflies with our Insect Lore kit. We set the painted ladies free in our backyard, and they occasionally come back to visit us.

The garden club volunteers who help out at the San Diego Botanic Garden  taught both of my kids how to make floral arrangements at the annual Lady Bug Day.  This year's event is scheduled for April 20th.

The garden club volunteers who help out at the San Diego Botanic Garden taught both of my kids how to make floral arrangements at the annual Lady Bug Day. This year’s event is scheduled for April 20th.

Jennifer Humora is the owner of MomsGuideToSanDiego.com