Tools and Supplies for A Child Gardener
Little hands need kid-sized tools but they should be sturdy, not plastic toy imitation garden tools. You'll need some kid-sized garden gloves, hand tools, and a child size watering can.
Assemble a simple children's gardening kit that also includes seed packages; materials checklist; a planting map; a harvest guide activity chart and a calendar for predicting harvest dates; plant sticks and labels; a waterproof marker; a garden trug or basket, and a watering can.
A wide brimmed hat, puddle boots and a gardening apron will provide sun and mud protection to little gardeners.
Garden Themes for Kids
Try planting a small child's garden based on a theme:
- Salad garden with baby lettuce varieties, spinach, radishes and kale.
- Pizza Garden with tomatoes, onions and basil.
- Butterfly garden with bright flowers and butterfly 'food' (see recipe).
- Patriotic garden with red, white and blue flowering plants.
You can create the garden in a flower box, planter, or large pot or make a small raised bed for your kids to plant and manage on there own.
MAKE A GRASS SNAKE OR SCARECROW
To grow a grass snake, fill an old sock with soil and grass seed, place it in the sun and keep it damp. In about 7-14 days, the 'snake' will have grown 'hair'!
To build a scarecrow, recycle a large cardboard carton or piece of foam core poster board. Have child lie on the board and trace around their body outline, and then cut out the shape.. Decorate the scarecrow with waterproof markers, felt, yarn, old pieces of clothing and a funny hat - whatever you have on hand.
You can mount the scarecrow on a stake in the garden or pose it on the front porch. For older kids, try making a scarecrow body from sapling poles lashed together - make a head from a recycled burlap or brown paper bag.
Grow a Bean Teepee
A bean tee pee brings great results and is easy to so. Use stakes, poles or bamboo poles 12' long. Arrange them teepee style in a 5' circle, leaving room for a small entrance and pushing the ends into the ground. Tie the tops of the poles together with heavy twine.
Plant climbing pole bean seeds at the base of the teepee. Use or or more varieties of pole beans with 55 - 65 day maturity dates.
An alternate method of making a bean teepee is to secure one tall pole in the center and tie 6 to 10 garden twine strings to the top of the pole. Radiate the strings out from the pole about 3 feet from the pole and tie to small stakes. Leave an open area in the front, then plant 2 bean seeds at the base of each string.
In about two months the teepee will be covered with bean vines and leaves, then beans!
Make a Simple Bird Bath or Bird Feeder
Here's an idea for a simple and inexpensive bird bath or feeder. You grow vines up the supports of a tomato cage and place a water source or shallow seed feeder at the top.
To make this feeder or bath for the birds, use a tomato cage anchored firmly in the ground. Place a sturdy plastic plant saucer inside the top ring of the cage. Plant vining plants such as nasturtiums or morning glory around the bottom.
Fill the saucer with water for the birds, or poke a few holes in it for drainage and fill it with bird seed.
Make a Butterfly Feeder
This is exactly what you'll see in botanical gardens.
Take a plastic pot saucer, sand and about 1 T. of cow or horse manure and an overripe piece of banana, apple or pear. Place sand and manure in saucer with small amount of water and add fruit. Voila! Butterflies will come!
Educational Garden Adventures with Kids
- Have kids record progress in the garden one day each week and record on a chart.
- Place a rain gauge in the garden and measure/chart out daily rainfall amounts.
- Study insects, birds or animals that visit the plants and observe their behaviors.
- Learn about beneficial and harmful insects, and how to control the bad ones without poisons through companion planting, hand picking and natural pesticides made from hot pepper, dish soap and other nontoxics.
- Read about vegetables, fruits and flowers at the library or online.
- Use organic fertilizers to feed plants; mix and apply as needed.
- Establish a schedule for garden tasks; rotate tasks among children if you have more than one so everyone helps out with weeding, watering, trimming, raking, bug picking and harvesting.
Each week enjoy the bounty from your garden - with bouquets of fresh flowers and herbs, a freshly picked snack (snap peas, radishes), garden salad or a cooking adventure (dried tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pickles) made from whatever the garden harvest delivers all through the growing season
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How-to articles, tips for newbie or experienced gardeners, garden crafts and projects for every age and gardening ability.