Gardening is an ideal springtime hands-on activity for you and your kids to enjoy for lots of reasons. Kids love digging in soil, they develop a sense of responsibility as they care for seedlings, they learn how plants grow and find out how good freshly picked veggies taste. Here are simple ways to nurture a love for gardening.
Easy at-home projects are a good beginning.
Empty milk cartons, colorful clay pots or raised planter boxes in your yard can all start home gardening projects for your kids. Visit a garden center and let them help pick out their own seeds. For veggies, try to choose seeds that grow fast and are easy for small hands to hold like radishes, green beans or carrots. Potatoes, especially colored varieties, are fun too; kids love finding them in the ground and digging them up. If you have enough space, fast-growing pumpkins are a good choice. Marigolds, sunflowers, and sweet peas are easy to plant flowers that grow quickly. Kids can be creative decorating their gardens with special stones, hand-written plant markers, garden gnomes and fairy garden miniatures.
Visit kid-centric gardens and nurseries.
The New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego shows kids how organic veggies grow and how butterflies and bugs help. It’s a great place for kids to learn all the possibilities for their own garden.
City Farmers Nursery in San Diego is the area’s largest organic nursery and has lots of kid-sized gardening tools and clothing, as well as many unique plants and roaming farm animals.
Summers Past Farms in El Cajon has beautiful gardens to wander through and an enormous selection of miniature fairy garden supplies for kids to create their own fairy gardens at home. In April, the Farms celebrate Spring with a sweet pea maze and each summer they host a special Fairy Garden Day and contest for kids to show their own gardens.
Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in National City sponsors a Food and Farm festival on May 7th. This family event has hands-on gardening and cooking demonstrations exploring the connection between food, health and nature.
No space, no problem. Join a Community Garden.
If space is an issue where you live, consider joining a local community garden. Mosaic Community Garden on Arizona and 5th Avenue in Chula Vista rents 4×12 foot plots in enclosed beds. Check out their Facebook page for the application form. The Tijuana River Valley Community Garden on Hollister and Sunset Ave. is the largest community garden in San Diego. Sign up on the waiting list by calling (619) 562-0096.
Experience a working farm.
What better way to show kids where their food comes from than at a large, local farm? Kids are inspired to grow their own veggies once they’ve visited a farm, and pick their own produce to take home. Susie’s Organics, a 70-acre organic farm near National City, offers strawberry picking and farm tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays, complete with take-home bags of your fresh picks.