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An educational resource of the Victory Seed Company

 

Victory Heirloom Seed Company - Preserving the future, one seed at a time!

 "Preserving the future,
one seed at a time." ™



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Gardening With Kids!


Gardening with children is rewarding in many ways.  It provides personal, quality time to interact with them, as well as provides opportunities for teaching and learning.

Spending time gardening with the children in your life is a great way to teach principles of natural science, agriculture, and depending on your beliefs, spirituality.  Gardening also encourages traits of responsibility, self-sufficiency and stewardship as children learn to interact with our planet in this intimate way.

Gardening helps to form a bond with the basic components that make up all life forms on Earth.  By raising produce, kids begin to understand that food does not come from a market but instead, is coaxed from the soil.  This realization helps to form a basis for better understanding the cause and effects of how we live our lives as consumers.  This will hopefully help them have a better understanding of, and make better decisions pertaining to, ecology and environmental issues as they mature as individuals.

The amount of time required by an  adult is greatly dependant on the age of the child, the size of the space, and your personal interests.  It can be a few minutes a day to several hours per week.  You'll be able to tell by the attention span of the child.  When you find that they have wandered off and you are there weeding alone, you have been at it too long!

The space required is also very flexible.  Apartment dwellers can be creative with containers, lights, and south-facing windows. Fire escapes, rooftops, and local community garden spaces are also options for some.

Watering is a favorite "chore" in a children's garden!
Watering is a favorite "chore" and provides an opportunity to experience plants growing through these efforts.  Responsibility is nurtured as well.

Chores aren't always "work".  A lifelong passion can start at a very young age.
Chores aren't always "work".  A lifelong passion can start at a very young age.

For those with larger yards, any amount of space can be dedicated.  However, it can be overwhelming if too much area is provided.

The example in these photographs are of a small raised bed (3 feet by 7 feet) constructed out of scrap wood. This creates a confined area with clear boundaries and is a manageable size for a small child.

Adult interaction is part of this experience.  Every step of the process, from the creation of the garden space to the harvesting of the fruits of their labor, is a possible learning experience for the child.

Don't make the lessons to hard and never make them tedious.  The goal is to foster curiosity and make gardening fun.  It helps if it is your passion as well.

You also do not need to focus too much attention to what you are growing.  Let the child make choices and guide as necessary.  Don't worry as to whether or not they are going to like and eat everything.

Small children quickly learn to distinguish a weed from a vegetable.
Small children quickly learn to distinguish a weed from a vegetable.

All mine!  Responsibility is a great trait to nurture through gardening.
All mine! Responsibility is a great trait to nurture through gardening.

This garden contains sunflowers, 'Oregon Sugar Pod' peas, 'Red Salad Bowl' and 'Green Salad Bowl' leaf lettuce, one tomato plant, 'White Egg' and 'Purple Top White Globe' turnips, 'Ruby Queen' beets, 'Thumbelina' carrots, and several radish varieties mixed.  This provides an interesting diversity to watch grow.

Although these might not be vegetables that an adult would have chosen for the child's garden based on what they normally eat, it is interesting that something produced by ones own hands tastes better.  At the very least, they will usually try a taste or two of something different.

If you have a passion for gardening, share it.  Whether it is with your kids, grandkids, or neighbors, it is an awesome opportunity to establish close bonds with others while teaching valuable skills.  The world would be a much better place if everyone was a gardener!

Here are a bunch of cool links for kids:


 

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