No matter how young your children are, give them their own little patch of your garden and they'll have a new way to explore and have fun in the outdoors. Teach your kids to plant vegetables, herbs and edible flowers and they'll be able to admire their garden as it grows and enjoy it when the plants are ready to harvest. Follow these tips for creative ways your kids can grow their own garden.
Your kids may want to pick their own plants, or you can suggest plants they're familiar with, like pumpkins and potatoes. For very young children, go with plants with large seeds that are easy to sow, such as beans, sunflowers and nasturtiums. Try radishes, as kids will be thrilled by how fast they grow. Or plant with a theme: create a pizza garden of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs like basil and oregano. Read "Planting a Pizza Garden" to learn how.
Add to the fun of gardening by building a fort out of climbing plants, such as pole beans, with poles meeting at the top to form a teepee. Even easier: create a hiding place out of naturally tall plants like sunflowers.
Plant fragrant herbs like chives, sage, mint and basil, and don't forget edible flowers like nasturtiums, pansies, violets and calendulas.
Even something as familiar as rhubarb leaves can be toxic to children, so teach your kids to consult with you before sampling from the garden, and avoid certain plants entirely. Only a few are so toxic they should not be used around children and pets: castor bean and rosary pea (precatory bean). Many other plants are toxic in larger quantities and should be avoided, including angel's trumpet, delphinium, foxglove, euonymus, morning glory, St. John's wort, lantana, cardinal flower, sweet alyssum, love-in-a-mist and valerian.
Original article and photo provided by the National Gardening Association