At Halifax Seed, we’re proponents of the idea that gardening is an investment. Gardeners pour their time, energy, and varying passions into the soil, and the results are just as unique and individualized as the person tending to them. It’s this personal element to gardening that creates variety. Chaos or organization, vibrant colour palettes or uniform schemes; every garden is a little different, and they reflect the expertise and personality of their caretakers.
So here’s the gardener’s challenge: how does one preserve the garden they’ve labored over, and introduce the activity to children? The truth is that for most, a garden is as much a shared recreational space as it is a fragile monument. Striking the balance and incorporating your kids in the activity could just be the best thing for your garden this summer, and we have a few tips that should help you on your way. This, is the often-request feature article on gardening with children, and it’s just one of the ways Halifax Seed is bringing your family back outside to the garden this Summer!
Bringing your young ones into the garden can be a gratifying experience for parent and child alike. If not for the enjoyment factor of time spent together, gardening at a young age also encourages healthy eating and an awareness of where real food comes from. Much like the results of your own efforts, your children will reap what they sow and have an opportunity to participate in the lifecycle of a plant from seed to pot or table.
Looking for plants that are resilient to yard play is one way to start, but the ticket is having children invested in the growth cycle of their plants. Most gardeners who have experienced the satisfaction of a full growth cycle will agree that nurturing a plant and seeing those efforts culminate is a relationship and a reward worth pursuing! So instead, focus your attention on plants that grow quickly, are visually exciting, and reward your small gardener for that effort. Hook, line, and sinker! Have a look:
- Cherry Tomatoes: quick to grow and fun to tether to support stakes, cherry tomatoes grow in roughly two to three months from transplant (five to six months from seeds) and are easy to care for. Visually, they’re a real treat (bright red on green) and can be quite tall indeed! Best of all, they make for a great salad or snack.
- Carrots: as fun to grow as they are to pull from the soil and eat, carrots reach maturity in around two months (a great companion for those cherry tomatoes) and require little spacing, water, and little else. Cook them with supper and remind the family that these bad boys were grown at home.
- Pumpkins: quick to sprout and exciting for just about every child, pumpkins will show off their sprouts in just a week. As they grow, vines will spread and the orange giants will grow to maturity in about three to four months. Dry the seeds for a quick treat, and get working on this Halloween’s Jack-o-lantern.
- Sunflowers: the fan favorite, sunflowers will pop up in a week and should be a formidable height by the end of your first month. Once they’ve dried out, harvest the seeds and roast them for a classic snack. Just remember that they’re needy when it comes to spacing.
- Bean Teepees: Crafting a vegetable hide-away for your kids is a great way to get them excited to be in the garden. Simply form five to six bamboo poles into a teepee shape and plant three to four bean seeds at the base of each. The beans will grow along the bamboo poles and over the entire structure, making a cool escape from the heat on hot summer days.
These are just a few of the ideal plants for the young gardener in your life - just remember to keep an eye on their plants and lend a helping hand if things look dire. Together, there’s little your family can’t accomplish in the garden. For more information and other inspiring ideas, head to our store or deeper into the Inspiration Garden. Happy gardening!