My three-year-old loves to plant flowers. As soon as he saw our neighbor out in their yard this year he looked at me and said, “Mommy we gotta plant flowers. I wanna water flowers.” And so we have. We’ve started seeds, planted miniature citrus trees in pots, did window herbs and onions, outdoor bulbs and seeds… Since it’s early in the planting season, we’re just getting started.
Gardening with your children is such a rewarding experience. Don’t all kids love dirt? At least mine do. They get their tiny shovels out and they are so excited to dig a hole or fill a pot with dirt. Here are some easy gardening ideas to share with your children.
It isn’t necessary to buy lots of store-bought pots. Sure, you’ll need some, but you can also use lots of recyclable containers. Milk jugs, juice jugs and bottles, soda bottles, yogurt cups, tin cans, peanut butter jars, baby food jars…. If you can drill or cut a hole in it, you can probably use it to plant something in. Check out the thrift store too. Pretty baskets make lovely garden pots.
Window herb gardens are a great way to start. We used tin cans for this one. We planted sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and spearmint. We did seeds, but you could also do plants. Some of them may need to be moved to a larger pot or jar once they’ve started to grow, but these were great for getting started. And they were super easy for the kids to fill. We placed them in our bright kitchen window.
I had saved a lot of the baby food tubs from when the boys were smaller. These were perfect for use as little seed greenhouses. We put in some dirt, a few tomato seeds, watered them, and popped on the lids. The kids want to take them down every day to check on the progress of their seeds. Once these have grown for about six weeks, we’ll be transitioning them outdoors.
I saw this idea on pinterest and was intrigued. Ours have been planted for about a week and look how much they’ve already grown! We also planted some onions outdoors this week in trough style containers. I’ve grown them this way before with good success and they boys loved filled up the troughs and placing the bulbs. Milk jugs are MUCH easier to cut than the juice bottles I used here, but the juice bottles are sturdier. I used a combination of scissors, Xacto knife, and snips to cut the holes in these juice bottles.
We have also started a lot of seeds, some of which are almost ready for outdoor transfer. Seed trays are inexpensive and can be found at most hardware and big box stores. You could also just use small containers like the baby food tubs. The seed starting trays come with a plastic cover, but since I planted different varieties, some grew faster and taller than others. So I removed the cover and used the tubs as little green houses for those that aren’t as tall yet.
Some seeds are easier to grow than others. Sweet peppers and lots of flower seeds are very easy. Tomatoes can sometimes be more difficult and it might be easier to just buy a plant. Get out there and start planting with your kids. They’ll be so proud to see the fruits of their labor and it’s such interactive family fun.