Gardening might not seem all that relevant in our modern age but it is actually a skill that we should be teaching our children. Our environment is in jeopardy and passing on the skills necessary to bring us back from the brink is now more important than ever.
Of course, most parents won’t be thinking about saving the planet when they plant their first seeds with their kids. A family garden is also a brilliant way to introduce the ideas of life and death, learn how to take care of a living thing and discover the joy of seeing something grow.
Planting the First Seed
When you choose the seed you want to plant, it is worth considering a few factors such as how easy the plant will be to grow and how fast you will see progress.
Grass is quite a good option in these regards and you can make it even more fun by putting the seeds inside a stocking, filling with soil and then sticking googly eyes on to create a grass head. As the grass grows, it starts to look like hair which you can trim and shape.
Putting your seed on a warm windowsill – or ideally in a greenhouse – will help your plant to grow strongly. Make sure that you provide regular water and plenty of sunshine too.
While younger children will be more than happy to see something grow and fast, older children might be looking for a little more. Harvesting vegetables is a good idea as this gives you another aim in your gardening – to eat! Fussy eaters are much more likely to be willing to try something new if they have been involved in growing the vegetable.
Simple herbs are often the best thing to start with as they grow quite quickly and can be added to all kinds of meals. But you might also like to start growing things like carrots and other root vegetables. These veggies are unseen so you will have the moment of the big reveal to look forward to as well!
One of the most important parts of gardening is knowing which animals and insects will help your plants to flourish. Insects, in particular, are reducing in numbers far faster than they should be and anything that gardeners can do to be hospitable will help. An insect hotel is a great idea and is a fun craft project for a rainy day too.
Encouraging birds into your garden is another great way to learn about nature. Putting a bird bath out and filling feeders with seed is ideal for smaller birds and as they discover the bounty you put out, they are almost guaranteed to bring their friends along too. Attaching bird boxes to trees around the garden is another good idea – especially if you can rig up a webcam to show you what is going on inside. There is no greater pleasure than watching an egg hatch into a chick and seeing the parents care for their young.