It’s Not Too Late to Get Kids Gardening
Come August and September, most of the big summer events like family vacations and summer camp are fading as fast as fireworks in July. Store shelves are packed with back-to-school plunder. But Mother Nature has her own rhythm, and she’s not done with summer. So before you shelve activities like gardening, consider that now may be a good time to plant this interest in your kids, before school kicks in big-time.
Here are a few ideas to get kids interested, even if you live in an apartment.
- Grow a green bean teepee
Southern parts of the U.S. may still have time to grow a green bean teepee from pole beans, while other areas may opt for tall vining snow peas or snap peas, which can climb to 6 ft. and thrive in cooler weather. Make a teepee from 6 or 8 bamboo stakes, branches, or twine staked from a center pole. Plant seeds around the base, water, and wait. Tie up vines as they climb. This can also work with pots on a balcony.
- Give kids a plot or pot of their own
Clay pots are a good choice for kids — inexpensive and fun to paint, too. Good fall crops to start now include lettuce, spinach, and companions such as radishes and herbs. Germinate indoors, then harden off and move seedlings to a sunny place. Teach kids to care for daily. Hanging planters and window boxes work well, too.
- Grow upside down
If you know any veggie gardeners in your neighborhood, you may be able to get a still-small tomato plant from them that will grow well upside down. Check retailers for an upside-down growing kit – which should be on clearance this time of year — or copy the idea yourself using a plastic bag or bucket. Grow greens like lettuce in the top.
- Explore edible flowers
Not every flower is edible, and some can make you ill, so be sure to educate your children on this fact. Fall flowers that are edible and available in many nurseries now include chrysanthemums, marigolds, and pansies. Pea blooms taste much like peas, or for a spicy addition to taco night, try radishes blooms.
Whether it’s spring or fall, gardening is a great way to introduce children to the excitement of seeing something they have planted grow and thrive.