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2014 Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids

by Jean Atkinson , Richbar Golf and Gardens

How do you get kids away from TV and computers and outside into the garden? Pull the plug and let them get their hands dirty.

Food always tastes better when you grow it yourself. At any age, kids love eating straight from the garden patch, dirt and all. Start small kids off with small projects like growing edibles in hanging baskets or patio tubs. There are so many varieties of vegetables and small fruits that are ideal for container gardening

‘Eversweet’ strawberry is an ever-bearing strawberry that produces flavorful berries all summer long. They are easy to grow and the kids will pick the plants clean once they get a taste. Plant them in a sunny location as all strawberries prefer full sun. This variety was developed to withstand very high temperatures. Other plants that do well in hanging baskets are the cascading tomatoes ‘Tumbler’ and ‘Fanfare’ cucumbers

If you have a larger container, plant strawberries around the perimeter so they will cascade over the side. That leaves the center open for other tasty plants. Kids might stick up their noses at tomatoes at the dinner table but once they have picked them off the vine I think they will change their minds. Little Sun Yellow is a new variety that is perfect for patio pots. This vigorous little plant sets up fruit close to the central stem so no need for stakes or cages. The cherry fruit is a charming golden yellow colour with sugary sweet flavour. Beans can also be grown in a container, and it’s always more fun if they think they are magic beans.

What could be more fun than worm composting? This is a great way to teach kids all about recycling kitchen scraps and turning them into garden gold. Red wiggler worms are the best at making short work of those scraps. A compost container doesn’t have to be large and it won’t smell, unlike those hamster cages! You can purchase red wigglers online or inquire at the nursery for a local source.

Fairy gardens are a big trend these days. They can be started anywhere, just let kids use their imaginations. Turn old broken pots into a garden get together for the wee folk. Plant a few fine textured plants in this miniature landscape alongside interesting rocks, cones, shell and moss. Sprinkle some pixie dust, and have fun with all the accessories. I think these might be just as fun for adults.

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