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Using My Garden Post To Encourage Children to Garden

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Children are naturally curious. Gardening can help feed that curiosity while simultaneously teaching children about the foods they eat. It can even encourage them to try new foods. It’s hard to resist the pull of a fresh vegetable that you’ve grown yourself. Kids aren’t always drawn to gardening, especially if they don’t live in an area that allows for a garden. However, you don’t need a lot of space to grow a vertical garden, so it’s the ideal way to introduce gardening to every child.

Space-saving, life changing

It’s important that children understand the process involved in getting fruits and vegetables to the table. Some children have no idea how the foods get to the grocery stores, apart from a vague knowledge that they were ‘grown somewhere.’ Gardening helps them take a vague notion and turn it into concrete observations about how their food is grown. And it can help them develop a love of gardening that will help them feed themselves throughout their entire lives. Gardening isn’t just a fun hobby for kids--it can be an invaluable skill that can help them feed their families.

But what if you don’t have space to create a garden for your children? While working outdoors in a big, open garden can be fun, it’s not always practical. For children who live in urban settings, there may not be a green space available for gardening. But this doesn’t mean they can’t learn the joys of gardening; it just means you have to get creative with your planting. Vertical gardens are the perfect solution for urban gardeners because they take up so little space.

Aside from the benefit of being able to grow plants for food, it’s important that children develop a healthy relationship with nature. If kids aren’t introduced to plants and taught about how they grow, how can they be expected to respect them in nature?

Plants are crucial for human survival on the most basic level, but they also help us feel more relaxed and calm. Any plants grown in your vertical garden are beneficial to kids, not just the fruits and vegetables. Plants filter our air, offset our carbon footprints, and give us something pleasant to look at. There are some studies that suggest they can help kids focus better, too. In busy, urban areas, a vertical garden could be the balm that helps children feel more relaxed, happy, and confident.

Countless container garden options

Container gardening allows children to witness the growth process up close on a daily basis. It’s exciting to start with tiny seeds and watch them grow, first into grassy shoots and then later into full-grown plants that provide delicious fruits and veggies. And thanks to the wide variety of container-suitable plants, there’s no limit to the things your children can grown in a simple plant pot.

Bush beans, bush cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries are obvious choices for your child’s container garden, but don’t overlook some other plants. Fast-growing plants such as leaf lettuce and cress will give your kids a quick ‘win’ and keep them excited while they wait for other seeds to sprout.

And don’t forget about flowers--some are just pretty and exciting to grow, but others, like pansies, marigolds, and ‘Johnny jump-ups’ are edible, too. Try decorating a cake or cupcakes with edible flowers from your garden. Your child will love helping decorate with the flowers they’ve grown.

Encouraging independence and individuality

One of the best things about container gardening, for kids, is the fact that they can have their own individual container for their plant. They can paint it, decorate it, and personalize it, then choose exactly what they want to grow in it. By taking responsibility for a plant, they not only learn how to be responsible for something living, they can feel proud when their plant successfully blooms or fruits.

And if the plant dies? They still get the benefit of learning about the growth cycle. Plus, they can try again with something new. It’s less pressure than, say, taking care of a pet, but it can still be very rewarding in its own way.

Vertical gardening is inclusive gardening

For children with mobility issues, traditional outdoor gardening can seem like a hobby that’s out of reach. Children with health problems or physical disabilities may not be able to get down in the dirt and plant, but they can garden in a plant pot or other moveable container.

Vertical gardening with containers allows every child to participate. This is why it’s such a popular option for schools--every child can participate and there’s no need for a large space for the actual garden. Plus, you can keep the garden indoors during inclement weather, so kids can tend to their plants all year long, even when the weather is unfriendly.

Gardening and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly, but sometimes you have to think outside the box when it comes to getting kids involved with the garden. Vertical gardening is the ideal way to introduce a love of plants to your children, a love that they can nurture and grow for the rest of their lives.

About The Author – Scott Jenkins

Scott lives in CT and has been planting grape tomatoes and bell peppers in pots with his kids for more than a decade. He tweets @scottjenkins and is a regular contributor to his wife’s website architypes.net, where he recently wrote about getting kids involved in the family garden and why it’s important to choose fast growing plants.

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