Choose plants that grow quickly. For little farmers with little attention spans, choosing the right plants is key to keeping interest high. Large seeds, such as beans, cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini, are easy to plant and sprout quickly. Radishes are the quickest to grow, but the seeds are small. Cherry tomatoes are a good choice too because they produce loads of bite-size treats that children can pick and eat straight from their garden.
Give your child his or her own gardening plot! A 3’ x 3’ plot is fine for a preschool child. It’s small enough so it won’t be overwhelming, but large enough to inspire a healthy sense of pride and responsibility.
Layout is important! For larger gardens, try using a wagon-wheel design to make it easy to water and pick later. Whatever your layout, remember to leave a walking path!
Prepare the soil by turning it over using shovels. Then use a gardening rake to help remove any large stones or roots.
Plant the seeds according to packet directions but remember: It doesn’t have to be done perfectly. (Plants and trees grow all the time without directions!) Offer your child guidance as needed, but try not to take control. Let the child’s plot be his or hers alone.
Babies need special care – even baby plants! Water the new seedlings according to the packet instructions.
Check the garden every day and celebrate every new growth. Take pictures so you can watch the evolution over and over again. Children are fascinated by this!
Add to your garden along the way. Projects may include adding stepping-stones, posting a garden sign or writing out plant markers.
Enjoy the bounty of your hard work – whether that means picking cucumbers for a salad, serving your fresh green beans with dinner or collecting a beautiful bouquet of flowers to show off on the dining table!
Check out our Sunny Patch Gardening Tools & Toys for your next family gardening project!
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