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Moosa Creek Blog
Simple And Fun Tips for Gardening With Kids
By Miranda Culvert
Gardening with kids is a great family activity that lets you enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and all the colors of nature. Digging in the dirt gets your children physically active and outdoors. Flower and container gardens attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your yard.
Gardening teaches children about soil, bugs, earthworms, healthy eating, and responsibility. Most of all, it teaches patience - nothing grows overnight. But the best part is that children will be more willing to eat the vegetables they grow themselves. Another perk? By making gardening a family project, you’re saving money. LawnStarter estimates the average cost of having a pro plant a flowerbed is $1,440 (https://www.lawnstarter.com/san-diego-ca-landscaping).
These simple tips make gardening with kids fun and educational.
First, choose an area of your yard that soaks up at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
If your yard doesn’t have enough space for a bedded garden, you can go the container route. Large planters, recycled crates, or plastic litter boxes; anything will work if it has holes for draining excess water. Give the kids their own small garden space, a handful of seeds, or pre-potted seedlings.
Cover children and yourself with bug spray and sunscreen before the dig. Sunglasses and a curved-bill ballcap protect young eyes from glare and flying dirt. Gardening gloves and tools are available in kid sizes. Lightweight tools and small seed pots are easier to handle.
Kids seem to get into everything. Planting flowers and vegetables that stimulate the senses is a reward for their curiosity.
Fuzzy or rubbery leaves on stems are fun to touch.
Lavender, mint, Sicklepod Rockress, and sage are sweet-smelling herbs.
High grasses swish noisily in the wind.
Colorful flowers and green foliage contrast sharply against the blue California sky.
Tasting the tomatoes, beans, peas, peppers, cucumbers (and everything else in your garden) is the ultimate sensory treat.
Plant a Rainbow!
Children like colors. Red tomatoes, orange carrots, currant, white onions, green peppers and beans, yellow squash -- they all make up the garden vegetable rainbow. The California blackberry grows quickly and the woodland strawberry produces beautiful white flowers. Kids want their plants to grow quickly, have strong scents, and be recognizable - something they see at the grocery store. Large seeds like pea, sunflower, and pumpkin are easy for small hands to hold.
Theme gardens are a fun way to get creative. If your kids like pizza, they can plant their own herbs, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Make a fairy garden with stones, moss, pinecones, and twigs. Insects are fun to watch through a bug hotel made from wooden crates, sticks, stones, leaves, and pinecones. Pollinator gardens, soil art, and those old-fashioned mud pies let your kids get dirty as they connect with nature. Keep a diary of weekly growth, complete with photographs.
Native plants and flowers are a good way to teach kids about their environment. San Diego blooms like the California poppy draw the birds and butterflies. They’re also a lot easier for kids to maintain since they need little water, fertilizer, or maintenance. Go online with them and research the best and brightest California blooms to plant.
Go purple with sand verbena (Abronia maritima) and purple poppy (Eschscholzia californica). Reds like California Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) are fun to look at and easy to find at selected retail nurseries and garden centers in Southern California. You can also special order any of the 350 Moosa Creek native plants and have them delivered to your favorite nursery.
It’s always gardening season when you set up an indoor system. Hydroponic gardening systems grow plants with water, not soil. Children can see growth changes quickly because water and nutrients are more readily available to plant roots. While you can grow lettuce, peppers, herbs, flowers, and other greens, cherry tomatoes are fun to pick off the stem and pop into your mouth.
Cultivating your child’s green thumb takes a bit of patience. Exploring (and getting dirty) is part of the fun -- just remember, everything is washable. Loving the earth starts with a loving hand.
Miranda Culvert has been gardening since she was three years old, thanks to her parents who owned a produce stand. She has passed her love of gardening onto her three children, one of whom has a booth at the local farmers market.
Plant Reference List
1. Lavender -
2. Mint varieties -
3. Sicklepod Rockress -
4. Sage -
Plant a Rainbow
Edible native plants to also add as suggestions to grow -
1. Currant -
2. California blackberry - fast-growing -
3. Woodland Strawberry - nice white flowers -
4. California Wild Grape -
1. California Poppy -
2. Sand Verbena varieties -ht
3. Purple Poppy -
4. California Columbine -
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